Sponsor an AmeriCorps Program

10+ Members

If your agency is interested in sponsoring a team of AmeriCorps members to serve in Oregon you may apply through Oregon Volunteers, Commission for Voluntary Action and Service. The application process and priorities change annually . Opportunities may include Operational Grants, Planning Grants and State Education Award Program Grants. Any organization interested in applying for an AmeriCorps program should contact americorps(at)oregonvolunteers.org.

Eligible Applicants:

The following agencies are eligible to apply to operate an AmeriCorps program: Public or private nonprofit organizations, including labor organizations; faith-based and other community organizations; institutions of higher education; government entities within states or territories (e.g., cities, counties); Indian Tribes; or partnership or consortia.

Essential Elements of an AmeriCorps Program

Program Design:

Your program must provide opportunities for your community to define and solve its problems. You must be able to demonstrate that the program or the members’ service addresses a compelling need and how that need was identified. The activities that you propose for members must provide a direct benefit and cannot duplicate the routine functions of workers nor may they displace paid employees or volunteers.

For example, your program may renovate low-income housing or provide out of school activities for youth. Members may engage in projects such as tutoring, mentoring, conflict resolution or disaster preparedness. Or they may coordinate volunteers whose service provides a direct benefit to the community. Clerical tasks are not considered direct service.

Selecting, Training and Supervising AmeriCorps members
Your program will be responsible for recruiting, placing, managing, supporting and training AmeriCorps members.

Because of their AmeriCorps service, members develop additional skills and gain valuable experience. Members must be supervised on site and receive initial and on-going training specific to their position requirements. Programs develop members’ skills by including components such as an ethic of service and leadership opportunities.

Volunteer Generation
Your AmeriCorps program strengthens communities through engaging volunteers, identifying paths toward sustainability and enhancing the capacity of organizations important to the community. Members recruit and support volunteers to expand the reach of the program in the community and help bring diverse individuals and groups together as a team to achieve constructive change and solve critical problems.

Organizational Capability
In evaluating program capability we will look for organizations with a sound structure able to provide programmatic and fiscal oversight as well as experience in the proposed area of service activity. We will expect the applicant agency to be able to provide technical assistance, demonstrate leadership in the community and identify matching resources.

Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy
In considering cost effectiveness we will be looking at the overall cost of the program, as well as your ability to bring in diverse resources for program implementation and sustainability. In reviewing your budget we will consider whether your budget is adequate to support the program design and if the costs are reasonable.

Responsibilities of a Lead Agency

An agency taking sponsorship of an operational AmeriCorps program will be responsible to:

  • Identify and hire staff to manage the program. A full-time Program Director is required.
  • Recruit, select, place, train and manage a team of AmeriCorps members
  • Participate in quarterly Program Directors’ Meetings, Financial Training, and an annual two-day staff training event.
  • Report on program progress and fiscal status.
  • Participate with members in all statewide AmeriCorps events and trainings.
  • Prepare documents for the program such as a member handbook, member contract, calendar, recruitment materials, etc.
  • Develop criminal background check protocols and practice for all members and grant related staff to meet the CNCS requirements.
  • Create a payroll system that provides members with a living allowance, FICA, workers compensation and health care.
  • Ensure that the organization’s liability insurance covers Members.
  • Provide an evaluation of the AmeriCorps program at the end of the three year funding cycle that meets Oregon Volunteers requirements.

Types of AmeriCorps Programming

There are three types of AmeriCorps programming opportunities that may offered through an open competition: planning, operational and educational award. They can be distinguished by the specific benefits offered through each program:

A planning award provides one year of funding for programs to create partnerships, identify funding sources, formalize program design, create necessary materials and ensure capability for operation of a new program design and process. The grant does not include member positions and funding is limited. Applicants are not ensured of future program operation funding but are expected to submit an operating program application the following year.

An operational AmeriCorps program provides partial funding to support AmeriCorps members’ benefits, program support and administrative costs. Full-time AmeriCorps members in operational programs receive a modest living allowance and healthcare coverage. Additionally, they may also be eligible for childcare during their service. In exchange for their year of service, Members receive an educational award to pay for college or repay student loans at approved institutions. An agency that applies for an operational program must provide match (cash or in-kind) to support its program. Funding is provided on a cost reimbursement basis. The grant award spans a period of three years but is renewable annually subject to performance reviews, availability of federal funds and progress toward achievement of Performance Measures.

State Education Award Program
The State Education Award Program provides members with an education award once they have fulfilled their commitment to the program. Grantees receive a small administrative grant. Unlike the AmeriCorps operational program, no funding is provided for AmeriCorps members’ living allowance or healthcare. You are not required to provide a living allowance, but if you do you must use your own or other resources to pay the members’ living allowance and support program costs. Most State AmeriCorps Education Award Programs are existing volunteer programs that utilize the Education Award to enhance recruitment of work-study students, retired seniors, or volunteers who would not necessarily rely on a living allowance or healthcare to make a commitment to the program.

Types of AmeriCorps Member Positions

You have great flexibility to design a program that “gets things done” in communities, develops the citizenship and skills of members and strengthens communities. While the actual size of your operating program may vary depending on the size of the community in which it operates, we require you to enroll at least the equivalent of 10 full-time members, regardless of whether members are placed individually or in teams. AmeriCorps Members can serve in five different capacities depending on the program design:
  1. Full-time Members serve 1700 hours;
  2. Half-time Members serve 900 hours;
  3. Reduced Half Time Members serve 675 hours;
  4. Quarter Time Members serve 450 hours; and
  5. Minimum-time Members serve 300 hours.
Member benefits such as living allowance, health care and education award, vary based on these options. There is no requirement to pay a minimum living allowance for less than full-time members. However, it is recommended that a living allowance be provided to support members and increase the likelihood that members will successfully complete the program. To determine the appropriate number of AmeriCorps Members to request, consider the amount of time that each Member will serve, the task or service the lead organization will need Members to provide and (for operational programs) how much match funding the Lead Agency (organization that will serve as fiscal agent) can provide.

Next Steps

All agencies interested in applying for an AmeriCorps program through Oregon Volunteers should contact Oregon Volunteers at americorps@oregonvolunteers.org or call 503-725-5915.