Booker T. Washington once said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is one federal agency that makes the act of lifting each other up possible. One of its most famous programs, AmeriCorps, was started in 1994 to give young people a chance to engage in national service, participate in professional development and earn money for their college educations. Since then, almost 1 million members have clocked more than 1.2 billion U.S. service hours. AmeriCorps State and National provides grants, directly or through State Service Commissions, to organizations and partnerships who believe community service plays a large part in solving social problems. Grantees use their awards to recruit, train and supervise AmeriCorps members to build capacity and meet the needs of the areas where they volunteer.
AmeriCorps State and National Grants – FY 2017
This program funds evidence based projects that use AmeriCorps volunteers to make a positive impact in their service areas. The following areas are among those in which priority will be given:
- Disaster services
- Economic opportunity
- Education - especially in the areas of science, math and technology
- Healthy futures - reducing and/or preventing prescription drug and opioid abuse
- Veterans and military families
- Governor and mayor initiatives
- Programs that support My Brother’s Keeper
- Safer communities
- Encore programs
- Multifocus intermediaries that demonstrate measurable impact and primarily serve communities with limited resources and organizational infrastructure
Examples of Previously Funded CNCS Programs
The CNCS keeps a database of all submitted applications that features both funded and non funded entries for all their competitions. Some entries include the feedback that they received from the grant reviewers, which can be helpful to future applicants. Here are some previous CNCS winners from that database.
- AmeriCorps members assisted community volunteers to support adults with disabilities and all children in the Arts for All programs in Tucson, AZ. Creative instruction spans preschool, after school programs, summer art camps and adult day treatment and training.
- The Gila River Indian Community will have fifteen AmeriCorps volunteers create new programs for Veterans and a new Veteran’s Services Office.
- Des Monies Public Schools have AmeriCorps members working with over 700 volunteers to help prevent student dropouts in Classroom Connections. Math and literacy tutoring, service learning and school engagement are all part of the prevention strategy.
- In Los Angeles, the focus is on helping high schools students continue their education. The City's post secondary readiness program helps prepare youth for college, the military, national service, job training, employment, apprenticeship or internships. Career shadowing, Career Days, capacity building, and curriculum development are also on the agenda.
- AmeriCorps members in Barnstable, MA, will help initiate disaster preparedness projects, engage in wildfire mitigation, as well improve parks, trails, and waterways.
- Volunteers will assist with energy audits, weatherization services and energy education for low income households and nonprofit/public buildings in Bloomfield, IA
- Camden City is beautifying with the help of green infrastructure as parks will be improved, 20 rain gardens will be installed and trees will be planted as part of its award.
- With AmeriCorps help, Burlington, VT, is becoming a more culturally competent city that better represents its growing diversity.
- Eastern Maine Community College and twelve partner organizations will focus on improving economic security for those in need of job training, financial literacy, and transition into affordable housing.
Applying for AmeriCorps State and National Grants
Eligible applicants who can apply directly are Native American Tribes, national nonprofits that operate in two or more states, and consortia of higher education institutions, labor, faith based and other community organizations that operate in two or more states. Notification of intent should be submitted by December 7, 2016. The application deadline is January 18, 2017.
The resource page contains all necessary application information, mandatory supplemental guidance, performance measurement tutorials, background information on AmeriCorps, checklists, a schedule for technical assistance calls and their replay numbers. A separate NOFO for Native American Tribes for operational or planning grants will be released in the Fall.
Application through State Commissions
Applicants that operate in only ONE state, such as local government, individual state governments, state and local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and educational institutions can not apply directly, but may do so through their State Service Commissions who may have their own specific application processes and state specific deadlines. The resource page mentioned above may still be helpful in putting your best application forward.
- For general questions regarding AmeriCorps, including how to join as a volunteer refer to the Frequently Asked Question Page.
- Read real life stories from AmeriCorps volunteers.
- Sad that this was not around when you were younger? The CNCS has a Senior Corps for those 55 and over. Something to look forward to!
Evidence-Based Research Terms
Evidence-based practices are becoming increasingly important in the grant world. Here are some research terms for the layperson: