AmeriCorps Overview

AmeriCorps in ActionAmeriCorps joins a long tradition of programs that encourage and reward service ­ programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Montgomery GI Bill, and the Peace Corps.

In return for their service, AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance and an education award that can be used to pay existing college loans or continuing education costs.

Partnerships that sponsor AmeriCorps programs recruit, select, and train their own AmeriCorps members, design and operate their local programs, and are responsible for providing funds and other resources to match the federal funds they receive through their AmeriCorps grant.

AmeriCorps Goals

In the short time since AmeriCorps' inception in 1994, its members have achieved impressive results.

More than 500,000 individuals are alumni of the program, and now take their place as the next generation of community leaders, educators, health professionals and the like.

In 2008, more than 75,000 AmeriCorps members served in communities throughout the country.

Goals of AmeriCorps include:

  • Getting Things Done. AmeriCorps helps communities meet needs in the areas of education, public safety, the environment, and other human needs through direct and demonstrable service.

  • Strengthening Communities. AmeriCorps builds the capacity of community organizations and other institutions to more effectively engage community volunteers to improve our communities.

  • Encouraging Responsibility. Through service and civic education, AmeriCorps members become agents of community solutions and develop an ethic of lifelong service.

  • Expanding Opportunity. AmeriCorps helps those who help America. Members develop professional skills, gain invaluable experience and receive education awards for education or job training.

The AmeriCorps Family of Programs

AmeriCorps in ActionAmeriCorps*State and National
More than three-quarters of AmeriCorps grant funding goes to Governor-appointed state service commissions, such as NMCCV, which in turn award and monitor grants to hundreds of nonprofit groups and agencies. The other quarter goes to national nonprofits that operate in more than one state.

The organizations that receive grants are responsible for recruiting, selecting, and supervising AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps grantees include national groups such as the National Council of La Raza, Catholic Network of Volunteer Service, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as well as hundreds of smaller faith-based and local community organizations.

For more than 40 years, AmeriCorps*VISTA members have helped impoverished individuals and communities attain self sufficiency. Members serve full-time for a year with nonprofit groups, public agencies, and faith-based organizations throughout the country, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create and expand businesses, increase housing opportunities, and bridge the digital divide.

Approximately 6,000 AmeriCorps*VISTA members serve in more than 1,200 local programs; nearly 15 percent of AmeriCorps*VISTA members are assigned to projects that support the work of faith-based organizations.

AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a 10-month, team-based, full-time residential program for men and women between the ages of 18 and 24. It combines the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service, including leadership training and team building.

Members serve in diverse teams of 10 to 14 individuals. Priority is given to homeland security and disaster relief projects. Teams are based at four campuses across the country and are assigned to projects in their respective regions. Approximately 1,200 members serve in AmeriCorps*NCCC each year.

How Can My Organization Access AmeriCorps Resources?

Partner with an existing AmeriCorps Program
Sometimes existing AmeriCorps programs are able to place a portion of their corps of AmeriCorps members with a partnering agency. If you are interested in hosting one or more AmeriCorps members with your organization, but are unable to manage an AmeriCorps grant, you may wish to contact AmeriCorps programs in your area to determine if a partnership may be feasible.

AmeriCorps FAQs

What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is known as the “domestic Peace Corps.” Participants – known as AmeriCorps members – perform a year of service with a program that meets local community needs. AmeriCorps programs focus on the four issue areas of education, the environment, public safety, and other human needs.

Individual programs recruit and train their own members with funding from an AmeriCorps grant. AmeriCorps grants provide funding for member living allowances, health benefits, childcare (for eligible members), AmeriCorps program staff, training, evaluation, and other program operating costs. Members also receive an education award directly from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service.

What types of activities can AmeriCorps members perform?
AmeriCorps members engage in a variety of direct service activities in the areas of education, public safety, the environment, and health and human needs. Examples of activities include: assisting in community policing programs, conducting health education workshops, restoring natural habitats, tutoring children in afterschool programs, and serving as service-learning coordinators at schools. Members also perform indirect service such as recruiting community volunteers to serve in these activities.

How can I get AmeriCorps members to help with my program?
NMCCV does not provide AmeriCorps members directly to organizations or programs. Instead, NMCCV provides grants that support local partnerships to recruit, train, and support AmeriCorps members throughout their year of service.

If you are interested in receiving information about future AmeriCorps grant opportunities, please complete our contact form.

Is it possible to be a placement site for AmeriCorps members, but not actually administer an AmeriCorps program (i.e., how do I get 1-2 AmeriCorps members for my organization)?
NMCCV requires a program to support at least the equivalent of 20 full-time AmeriCorps members. In unusual and/or extenuating circumstances, NMCCV will consider requests for the equivalent of 10 full-time members. NMCCV recognizes that many organizations lack the capacity to supervise and adequately provide for the minimum-sized corps of members. In such cases, organizations are advised to seek intermediaries, form partnerships with other organizations, or contact an existing AmeriCorps program.

How much are AmeriCorps members paid?
The AmeriCorps member living allowance varies from program to program. For the 2008-09 program year, a full-time member must receive a minimum living allowance of at least $11,400 and no more than $22,800. Programs may decide on the living allowance that they will pay their members so long as it falls within this range.

What is an education award?
An education award is commonly compared to a scholarship. However, Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards are much more flexible than typical scholarships. Each AmeriCorps member who successfully completes a term of service will receive an education award that can be applied to (1) the costs of attendance at a qualified institution of higher education, (2) the costs of approved school-to-work programs, or (3) the costs of repaying qualified student loans. For more information on the education award, please visit the AmeriCorps Web site.

Do placement sites contribute financially to the cost of supporting AmeriCorps members? If so, what is the cost?
Partner contributions to AmeriCorps programs depend on the structure of individual partnerships and programs. In some cases, placement sites do contribute cash to the program (the amount varies by program). In other cases, placement sites might contribute in-kind services, supplies, trainers, facilities, evaluation expertise, or other services and equipment. Each partnership is unique to a given location and program.

Who can apply for an AmeriCorps grant?
An AmeriCorps program’s legal applicant must be a public or private non-profit entity. There are no restrictions on organizations that are partners in an AmeriCorps program.

Are there partnership requirements for AmeriCorps grants?
Yes. An AmeriCorps program must include at least three independent organizations, including at least one public and one private (nonprofit or for-profit) organization, each of which must have a significant role in planning, operating and sustaining the program.

What's the difference between AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps*VISTA?
An AmeriCorps*VISTA member works ON a project (capacity support) and an AmeriCorps members works IN a project (direct service). For example, an AmeriCorps*VISTA member conceptualizes, creates, and implements a volunteer program for a school vs. an AmeriCorps member do direct tutoring of children in a school.


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