**Our call for 2018 host site proposals is now live! If your organization is interested in hosting a VISTA member beginning in 2018, please complete the online 2018 New Host Site Application by Friday, January 5, 2018. **

Why host with MCN?

Many organizations, particularly those led by and serving culturally specific communities, face structural barriers in accessing relationships and resources from the government, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.  The MCN VISTA Program has been developed to provide opportunities for such organizations to break down those barriers and ensure lasting capacity building impact for all partners involved. 

Through this model the MCN AmeriCorps VISTA program will: 

  • Grant 19 AmeriCorps VISTA members, one to each community organization, to work on self-determined projects at selected organizations for up to three years.
  • Increase the number and leadership capacity of people of color entering Minnesota’s nonprofit workforce.
  • Strengthen relationships between leaders of color and the leaders of the funding, accountability, political and authorizing environment.
  • Gather feedback on how MCN can better serve culturally specific organizations through this program and throughout all of its work across the state. 

The AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program is a member of the AmeriCorps family of national service programs and administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). VISTA members are full time volunteers who are charged with helping bring individuals and communities out of poverty by performing ‘indirect service’ that increases the capacity of their host organizations. Members are prohibited from engaging in direct service, focusing instead on creating systemic change. VISTA members are provided with a modest living allowance and health care allowance through CNCS to support their full-time, full-year commitment to combating poverty.

+Eligibility

Eligible organizations include small private, public and faith-based culturally specific nonprofit organizations located in Twin Cities Metro area. The organization’s executive leadership should reflect the constituency most affected by the issues addressed by the organization, and/or the organization should have demonstrated commitment and success in meaningful community engagement in the organization’s planning and decision making processes.

Organizations must have the time, staff, and supervisory capacity to direct the project, supervise the VISTA member, and provide necessary administrative support to complete the goals and objectives of the project. The goals and objectives of the project must be clearly defined, and organizations need to be able to demonstrate measurable results.

+Requirements

Organizations must provide the following in order to host an AmeriCorps VISTA member:
Supervision and Work Environment:

  • A designated supervisor who works full time will provide daily supervision and guidance to the VISTA member. Approval may be granted for a part-time supervisor as long as the organization has other full-time employees. This person must be available for frequent communication and to meet with the VISTA regularly to discuss projects, goals and activities.
  • A comfortable and safe work environment, including reasonable office space, use of a computer and phone, and e-mail access comparable to that of paid staff.
  • Meaningful work for the VISTA member written out in a full Project Plan that will be mutually agreed to by the host site, VISTA member, MCN and CNCS.

Planning, Training and Reporting:

  • Effective recruitment, interviewing and selection of their own VISTA applicants, with support and approval from MCN and the CNCS.
  • Participation in MCN VISTA Project Plan development and on-going training.
  • A signed Memorandum of Understanding, bearing the signatures of the staff supervising the VISTA as well as the host organization’s chair of the board of directors, executive director or highest governing authority.
  • Support for a VISTA member’s professional development.
  • Responsibility for the completion of quarterly reports and semi-annual member performance evaluations.
  • Active planning for sustaining the project’s goals, strategies and impact beyond the VISTA partnership.

Cost:

  • A non-refundable payment based on a sliding fee scale ranging from $1,500- $4,500 per year (depending on organizational budget) to the MCN VISTA Program for each VISTA member hosted. These funds are used to contribute to the living allowance and training of VISTA members, as well as to support other program services.
  • $300 toward VISTA member’s professional development fund
  • Reimbursement to a VISTA member for all service-related travel expenses.

+AmeriCorps VISTA Terms and Conditions

VISTA members do not perform direct service activities, act in a staff capacity, or perform duties that would otherwise be performed by employed workers, and which would supplant the hiring of or result in the displacement of employed workers. VISTAs cannot engage in religious instruction, worship, proselytizing, or other religious activity or engage in electoral activities, lobbying, or participate in demonstrations during service hours or while representing (or appearing to represent) AmeriCorps.

+Applying for an AmeriCorps VISTA Member

Proposal and Narrative – Due Friday, December 15, 2017
Organizations apply to receive a VISTA Member for 1 year, with the opportunity to extend for a total of a 3-year project period. The proposal and narrative give you the opportunity to shape your VISTA project and communicate the potential impact that a VISTA member will have on your organization and to discuss how your organization will utilize the VISTA resource.

Application proposal materials must be completed and submitted electronically to MCN on or before Friday, December 15, 2017. Sites selected as finalists for VISTA placement will be asked to submit a Project Plan by Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Please complete the online application at the following link: 2018 New Host Site Application

If you have trouble viewing the online application, contact Jesse Chang, VISTA Program Coordinator, at jchang@minnesotanonprofits.org or 651-757-3083.

Project Plan – Due Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Notifications for sites selected for the project plan stage will be sent out in early-February, and those organizations will be asked to submit a Project Plan. The Project Plan outlines the goals and objectives for the 3-year VISTA project, and is a working document that should guide your VISTA member and the parallel work of your organization. An extensive packet of information to guide the development of a Project Plan will be provided to selected sites. MCN VISTA Program staff will be available to provide support for each organization in creating a Project Plan.

PROGRAM TIMELINE

November 1 -- Request For Proposals released

December 15 -- Applications Deadline

January 22 -- Applicants notified of award status; finalists asked to submit Project Plan

January 31 -- How to Create a Project Plan webinar

February 20 -- New Site Welcome Lunch, Project Plans due to MCN

March 2 -- 2017-2018 Service Opportunity Listing due to MCN

March-May -- 2017-2018 VISTA Member Recruitment

May 23 -- Final candidates selected; VISTA pre-enrollment paperwork due to MCN

June 6 -- MCN VISTA Program New Supervisor Training

June 22 -- Performance Measures due to MCN

July 20 -- On-Site Orientation and Training plans due to MCN

End of July -- VISTA members attend CNCS Pre-Service Orientation (PSO)

August 1 -- VISTA members attend MCN VISTA Program Orientation: Pt. 1

August 2 -- VISTA members begin service at their sites

August 7 -- VISTA members attend MCN VISTA Program Orientation: Pt. 2

MCN VISTA Program projects operate on an August-to-August term.

CNCS recruitment and Pre-Service Orientation dates are subject to change, which can affect member pre-enrollment, MCN VISTA Program Orientation dates and VISTA members’ first day on-site.

+Selection Criteria

Selections will be focused on culturally specific organizations that are based in the seven-county Twin Cities area (particularly East Metro), whose executive leadership reflects the constituency most affected by the issues and/or has demonstrated commitment and success in meaningful community engagement in the organization’s planning and decision making processes, and have an annual operating budget preferably under $1 million.

Additionally, proposals will be judged based on the criteria listed below:

  1. The extent to which the proposed project supports the MCN VISTA Program’s goals to strengthen, inform and connect nonprofits working with immigrant and refugee communities and communities of color in order to overcome the multiple determinants of poverty.
  2. The extent to which the proposed project supports the capacity-building and anti-poverty goals of AmeriCorps VISTA.
  3. The extent to which members of the community served guide the work of the applicant organization.
  4. The extent to which the proposed project identifies a compelling community need, and is an appropriate method of addressing the identified community need.
  5. The ability and commitment of the organization to provide a VISTA member with a supportive work environment.

Please refer any questions to Jesse Chang, VISTA Program Coordinator, at jchang@minnesotanonprofits.org or 651-757-3083.