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2014 AmeriCorps Informational Session Christine Williams, National Service Director Serve Alabama: The Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service (GFBVS) Alabama State Service Commission 8 Commerce Street, Suite 1000/10 th Floor Montgomery, Alabama 36104 334.954.7440

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2014 AmeriCorps Informational Session

  • Christine Williams, National Service Director
  • Serve Alabama: The Governor’s Office of
  • Faith-Based and Volunteer Service (GFBVS)
  • Alabama State Service Commission
  • 8 Commerce Street, Suite 1000/10th Floor
  • Montgomery, Alabama 36104
  • 334.954.7440

Grant Writing Essentials and

  • AmeriCorps Informational Session
  • The Mission of Serve Alabama
  • The mission of Serve Alabama is to build the capacity of individuals and organizations to serve and transform the communities in which they live and to serve as a bridge between government and community.

Serve Alabama Works to:

  • increase an ethic of service and volunteerism in the State of Alabama.
  • strengthen the capacity of Alabama’s faith and community-based organizations.
  • promote collaboration among individuals and organizations striving to meet some of the greatest needs in our state.

The Primary Functions of Serve Alabama

  • Faith-Based and Volunteer Service in Alabama
  • * Informational Packets
  • * Informational Loop (Bi-monthly newsletter)
  • Alabama State Service Commission
  • *AmeriCorps State Programs (Formula, Competitive, Competitive-Fixed and Formula-
  • Fixed)
  • Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF)
  • *Fund support efforts that expand the capacity of organizations to
  • recruit, manage support and retain individuals to serve in high quality assignments

The Primary Functions of Serve Alabama (cont.)

  • Disaster Preparedness and Response 
  • *Citizen Corps Program
  • *Volunteer and Donation Coordination for the State of Alabama Emergency Operations
  • Plan/Annex I
  • *Ready Alabama, a public preparedness multi-media campaign, uses movie slides, public
  • service announcements, billboards, printed materials and outreach via
  • *Be Ready Camp, an innovative program offering children an opportunity to learn about
  • disaster preparedness, participate in a full scale mock disaster and meet peers from
  • across the state
  • Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund
  • *Designed to provide assistance to individuals and organizations with recovery costs
  • that are a direct result of a disaster or emergency


  • Learn about AmeriCorps
  • Discuss the grant
  • Explore the application process
  • Consider the budget

AmeriCorps on the National Level

  • Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
  • Establised in 1993
  • Serve America Act – 2009 – Increased funding for programs (AmeriCorps in addition to others)
  • Programming includes VISTA, State/National, and NCCC
  • 85,000 AmeriCorps members serve nationwide each year!

AmeriCorps Fast Facts

  • 820,000: Number of people who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.1 Billion: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members. $2.4 Billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members since 1994.4 Million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in PY 2012-13.15,000: Number of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations served by AmeriCorps members.$7.6 Billion: Amount of AmeriCorps funds invested in nonprofit, community, educational, and faith-based community groups

Alabama AmeriCorps Summary

  • 2013-2014
  • 1.8 million awarded Formula + $185,000 Competitive
  • 7 Programs / 2 fixed grants
  • 300+ members

Alabama AmeriCorps Sub-grantees

  • (Programs)
  • Anniston Community Education Foundation - Anniston, Alabama
  • Butler County Board of Education - Greenville, Alabama
  • Birmingham City Schools - Birmingham, Alabama
  • City of Selma - Selma, Alabama
  • Impact Alabama - Birmingham, Alabama (serves all 67 counties)
  • Teach for America-Alabama - Birmingham, Alabama (locations across the state)
  • YWCA Central Alabama - Birmingham, Alabama

What is AmeriCorps?

  • National Service Program

“Domestic Peace Corps” – opportunity to serve in US

  • SIX Areas of Focus:

Disaster Services


Environmental Stewardship

Healthy Futures


Veterans and Military Families


What is AmeriCorps?

  • 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.

AmeriCorps Strengthens Communities

  • Programs strengthen communities by:

Mobilizing Community Assets

Generating Volunteers

Involving the Community


AmeriCorps is about:

  • Meeting the needs of our communities
  • Building relationships and partnerships
  • Strengthening civic engagement
  • Developing members' skills and experience
  • Providing carefully planned, well managed and important projects  
  • 'Getting Things Done'

AmeriCorps is NOT about:

  • Busy work'
  • Temporary solutions
  • Financing your organization
  • Employee/volunteer replacement or displacement

Programs must provide specific measurable service outcomes that:

-Are not already provided with existing funds or volunteers

-Do not duplicate the functions of existing workers, or displace paid employees


AmeriCorps Prohibited Activities

  • Attempting to influence legislation
  • Organizing or engaging in protests, strikes, petitions or boycotts
  • Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing
  • Any political activities

AmeriCorps Prohibited Activities

  • Engaging in religious instruction, proselytization, worship activities
  • Administrative duties (i.e. acting as your agency’s receptionist, clerical work, etc.)
  • Constructing or maintaining a facility inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship
  • Providing a direct benefit to a for-profit organization, labor union, political party, or religious organization

Prohibited Activities

  • Providing services and activities that would otherwise be performed by employed workers or volunteers, or that will supplant the hiring of, or result in the displacement of employed workers in the community

Examples of Appropriate Service Activities

  • *Tutoring at-risk youth
  • *Recruiting volunteers
  • *Teaching conflict resolution skills
  • *Environmental conservation activities
  • *Assisting crime victims
  • *Building homes
  • *Restoring parks
  • *Mentoring at-risk youth
  • *Teaching computer skills
  • *Running after-school programs
  • *Other direct service or capacity-building activities…

About Fundraising:

  • AmeriCorps members can devote 10% of their service time to fundraising activities.
  • Members may:

Raise funds that benefit your organization’s service activities

  • Members may not:

Raise funds for living allowances or for your organization’s general operating expenses

Write a grant application to CNCS or any other Federal agency


AmeriCorps Key Words

  • It’s not a job, job training, or typical volunteer position, it’s …Service
  • We’re not employees, apprentices, or typical volunteers, we’re… AmeriCorps Members or participants
  • It’s not a wage, salary, or paycheck, it’s a… Living Allowance
  • It’s not a work site or job site, it’s a…Service Site

Full time (1,700 hours) = $5,645 ed award

Half Time (900 hours) = $2,882 ed award

Reduced Half Time (675 hours) = $2,150 ed award

Quarter Time (450 hours) = $1,493 ed award

Minimum time (300 hours) = $1,195 ed award

  • Members must complete term of service within grant contract timeframe.
  • Members can serve up to four terms in AmeriCorps State/National but can only receive the equivalent value of two full time education awards.
  • Member Terms of Service

Member Eligibility Recruitment and Selection

  • Members are recruited, selected, and trained by each individual program.
  • Must be at least 17, possess high school diploma / GED or equivalent, and be a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien.
  • Meet any additional qualifications as determined by the program.

Member Benefits

  • Living Stipend

Full-Time (min./max.) $12,100-$24,200

Part-Time living stipends prorated

  • Health Care (FT Only)
  • Child Care (FT Only)
  • Training/Development
  • Loan Forbearance/Forgiveness
  • Education Award

Programs Must Have

  • *Successful recruitment and placement strategies
  • *A clear structure within which members serve
  • *Provision of training and learning opportunities for both staff and members
  • *Ongoing support and supervision of members and service sites
  • *Leadership and teamwork opportunities


  • All AmeriCorps programs:

*Measure and account for impact

*Are inclusive

*Partner with faith-based and/or community-based


*Generate volunteers


Programs provide:

  • *Member Contract
  • *Grievance Procedure
  • *Evaluation/ Outcome measurements
  • *Identification (Site and Member) - Branding
  • *Site agreements

Programs also:

  • *Supervise sites
  • *Report programmatically and financially
  • *Attend director trainings
  • *Participate in statewide events

Programmatic Requirements:

*Quarterly Progress Reports

*Monitoring Reviews/Responses

*Periodic Conference Calls

*Expense reports monthly

*Federal Financial Reports bi-annually

*Closeout: annually


About the Grant – Who Can Apply?

  • CNCS and Serve Alabama seeks to fund programs that can demonstrate community impact and solve community problems through an evidence-based approach.
  • Eligible Applicants
  • Educational institutions
  • Government/State Entities
  • Non-profit organizations with 501(c)3 status

Types of Grants

  • New Applicant

Those eligible organizations that have:

Not previously operated an AC*State program

Not operated a program in more than five years

  • Recompete Applicant

Organizations completing their third year of operating an AC State program

  • Continuing Applicant

Organizations in their first or second year of operating an AC State program


Source of Funds


  • Must compete successfully at state level
  • National competition with other applications
  • Corporation for National and Community Service makes final decisions


  • Must compete successfully at the state level
  • Serve Alabama awards funds
  • Informs the Corporation of its decisions
  • Priority for State of Alabama: 6 Focus Areas, North AL, South AL,Veterans and military families and Disaster

-Programs must request a minimum of 5 Member Service Years (MSY)

  • -Target average federal cost per MSY should not exceed $13,300.
  • -Grant size is determined by size of the program.
  • -Grant size may be limited based on funding availability.
  • -Minimum of 24% match required, except for Fixed
  • -3 year grant cycle; renewable in year 1-2
  • -Operate on annual program year schedule

Performance Measures

  • Required as part of your application

How will you measure your program’s impact?

  • National Performance Measures

Funding priority given to programs that opt into these pre-existing measures

If your program fits, it’s required

  • Self-Nominated Measures

Permitted…if your program does not fit a national measure


Program Model

  • Program design is determined by applicant

Single Site Model

Multi-site Model

Local, Regional, Statewide

Education Award Only Model

Fixed Award Model

Programs that enroll Full-Time members only


When Writing the Narrative

  • Lead from your program strengths and be explicit

Do not try to relate your program to every strategic priority or special initiative

  • Be clear and succinct

No jargon, boilerplate language, rhetoric, etc.

  • Don’t make assumptions

Do not assume the readers know anything about you or your program

  • Use an impartial proofreader

Budget (Cost Effectiveness and Budget Adequacy) - 25%

  • Cost Effectiveness - Member Service Year (MSY)
  • *MSY must not exceed $13,000
  • *Costs are reasonable, allocable and justifiable
  • Budget Adequacy –
  • *include non-CNCS funding and resources for the
  • project (have diverse funding/multiple streams)
  • *includes sufficient resources to carry out the
  • program
  • *must be able to meet minimum match/show proof of
  • match

RFP and NOFO to be posted on Serve Alabama website

Timeline in your packet/includes specific deadlines for process

  • Submit Notification of Intent to Apply

November 4th – Competitive January 31st-Formula

  • Serve Alabama AmeriCorps Application Instructions
  • Draft and submit AmeriCorps State Grant Application

Submit through the eGrants system

  • Application Process

Review Process

  • Competitive and Thorough Process
  • Grants reviewed by
  • Staff
  • Community Reviewers
  • Commissioners (Board)
  • Commission Program Committee
  • Commission Program Committee makes a funding recommendation to the full board of commissioners

Is AmeriCorps Right for My Organization?

  • Would this program support my organization’s mission and strategic plan?
  • Does my organization address compelling needs in the priority areas?
  • Does my organization have the organizational, technological, and fiscal capacity to manage a federal grant (take Readiness Assessment)?
  • Does my organization have the resources to match the federal funds (cash and in-kind)?
  • Are we seeking funds for a program that would recruit 5,10, 15, or more full-time members or equivalent?
  • Do we have the resources to manage a program for 30-60 days before receiving reimbursement?

More information about AmeriCorps


Serve Alabama Contacts

  • Jon Mason, Director
  • Leslie Gettys, Administrative Director
  • 334.954.7444 -
  • Christine Williams, National Service Director
  • 334.954.7446 -
  • Cesily Means, State Service Officer
  • 334.954.7442 -
  • Ronica Faire, Serve Alabama Accountant
  • 334.954.7443 -