AMERICORPS KANSAS FUNDING FAQ

WHAT IS AMERICORPS?

AmeriCorps is a national service program that gives citizens the opportunity to engage in full or part-time service to their community. AmeriCorps allows organizations to reach previously underserved communities and expand their activities beyond what they were able to do without AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps programs meet critical community needs in the areas of education, food security, economic opportunity, disaster services, health, environmental stewardship, and service to veterans and military families. There are three AmeriCorps programs, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps State & National. For more information on AmeriCorps, watch this short video: What is AmeriCorps?

WHO ARE AMERICORPS MEMBERS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?

AmeriCorps Members are individuals enrolled for a specific term of service with an AmeriCorps program. The term of service is between 300 and 1700 hours in 12-month period. AmeriCorps members play a unique role in a community or organization to address unmet needs. Members can provide a variety of direct service or even some capacity building activities. Eligible AmeriCorps members may receive a living allowance, health insurance and childcare assistance to support them during their term of service. In addition, AmeriCorps members receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successfully completing a term of service. For more information visit: AmeriCorps members.

WHAT IS AMERICORPS KANSAS?

AmeriCorps State programs consists of local, regional, and national organizations who are committed to using AmeriCorps members to address critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps State programs are designed by the applying organization, or subgrantee, and engage members in intensive direct service. For more information visit: AmeriCorps State.

WHO ARE THE AMERICORPS KANSAS PROGRAMS?

In 2017 – 2018 grant year, there are six AmeriCorps Kansas programs with an estimated number of 183 AmeriCorps members serving across the state. Below is a listing of 2017 AmeriCorps programs in Kansas:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence
  • Harvesters – The Community Food Network
  • Kansas City Kansas Public Schools
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
  • Rosedale Development Association
  • United Way of Douglas County

In addition, two organizations have received planning grants to create their future AmeriCorps Kansas programs in the 2017 – 2018 grant year. Below is a listing of 2017 AmeriCorps planning programs in Kansas:

  • Topeka Habitat for Humanity, Topeka
  • Wichita State University – Community Engagement Initiative, Wichita

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME AN AMERICORPS STATE PROGRAM?

  • State and local nonprofit organizations
  • Community and faith-based organizations
  • State, local, and higher education institutions
  • State and local government

WHAT KIND OF WORK CAN AMERICORPS STATE MEMBERS DO AT PROGRAMS?

AmeriCorps State members engage in direct service that corresponds to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) six focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. AmeriCorps State members do a variety of service, which is designed by the program or subgrantee. Members are involved with tutoring and mentoring youth, helping communities respond to disasters, cleaning up streams and parks, and building affordable housing just to name a few.

HOW MANY AMERICORPS STATE MEMBERS CAN AN ORGANIZATION REQUEST?

AmeriCorps Kansas programs are required to request a minimum of five Member Service Years (MSY). An MSY is similar to the concept of an FTE (full-time employee). AmeriCorps State members can serve 300 – 1700 hours in a grant year depending on the needs of the organization and its AmeriCorps program. An organization can use a combination of the below terms of service to create the five MSY requirement.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AMERICORPS FUNDING?

AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations proposing to engage AmeriCorps members in evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions to strengthen communities. AmeriCorps grants provide partial funding to support AmeriCorps programs. Grant recipients must contribute match funding to support their program. AmeriCorps grants are solely for program expenses and cannot be used for general organizational operating expenses. AmeriCorps grants include an allotment of AmeriCorps member positions and the funds are directly tied to the specific number of members. Recipient organizations, known as subgrantees, design activities for AmeriCorps Members to solve community problems and demonstrate impact. Please note that AmeriCorps State funds cannot be used to duplicate, displace or supplant employees or resources that exist in a community.

WHO MAKES THE FUNDING DECISIONS?

There are two opportunities for applicants to be funded through AmeriCorps. Approximately one-third of AmeriCorps funds are granted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) via competitive grants, and two-thirds of grant funding goes to Governor-appointed state service commissions, which award formula grants in their states. Both of these application processes originate with Kansas Volunteer Commission. Regardless of the type of funding an applicant receives, the state commission is responsible for fiscal and programmatic monitoring.

IF SELECTED FOR FUNDING, HOW LONG IS THE GRANT AWARD?

AmeriCorps State grants generally provide funding for a three-year grant period, assuming demonstrated success toward achieving program and fiscal compliance and the completion of an annual continuation request. Subgrantees must reapply for a continuance of funding each year during the three-year grant period. After the three-year grant period, subgrantees must reapply for funding using a new application.

WHAT IF I ONLY WANT TO INVOLVE ONE OR A FEW AMERICORPS MEMBERS?

Kansas Volunteer Commission supports only those programs with five or more MSY.  However, if your organization cannot support five MSY and you would like to have a member or two serve at your organization, you can contact other AmeriCorps Kansas to see if a partnership would be feasible.

WHAT IF MY ORGANIZATION ONLY NEEDS A TEAM OF MEMBERS FOR A SHORT-TERM PROJECT?

Organizations needing the use of a team should contact the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) program. NCCC projects must be team-based with adequate work to support a group of 10-12 members for a period of six weeks. Project sponsors need to provide members with food and safe housing during the project. For more information about NCCC Southwest Campus (Denver), contact Sarah Lyke at 303-844-7416 or slyke@cns.gov.

HOW MUCH DO AMERICORPS MEMBERS GET PAID?

Members serving in full-time positions for 12 months receive a minimum living allowance of $13,732. Members also serve in various types of part-time and summer positions. Members serving in a full-time capacity may be eligible for health care coverage and childcare, if they qualify. After they complete their term of service, full-time members receive an education award in the amount of $5,920. Other members receive an education award commiserate with the type of term they serve. The award can be used to pay for the costs of attending an institution of high education or to pay back qualified student loans. Members who already have student loans may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of loans during their service, and the education award will help them pay off qualified student loans when they are finished.

HOW MUCH MONEY WILL MY ORGANIZATION GET TO OPERATE AN AMERICORPS STATE PROGRAM?

The funding is based on how many Member Service Years (MSYs) requested and the type of grant an organization applies for – either fixed amount grant or cost reimbursement grant. In grant year 2017 – 2018, the limit is $13,430 per MSY for a fixed amount grant and $14,932 for a cost reimbursement grant. For example, if you request five MSY (full-time members), your maximum grant will equal $74,660 ($14,932 x 5 MSY) under the fixed amount grant, or $67,150 ($13,430 x 5 MSY) under the cost reimbursement grant. Member support costs, including a minimum living allowance of $13,732 for full-time members, take up a majority of the federal funding available. Programs must provide a substantial cash and/or in-kind match to operate a successful program. Federal AmeriCorps grants are not intended to fully fund program operations.

WHERE DO AGENCIES MATCHING FUNDS COME FROM?

Matching funds may be cash or in-kind, federal or non-federal (if using federal funds, the awarding agency must agree that their funds may be used as match.) Multi-site programs typically require each host site (the agency that hosts an AmeriCorps member) contribute a certain amount of cash for the matching funds. Below is a chart showing the required match rate by number of years funded.

Years
 Funded
Year
1-3
Year
4
Year
5
Year
6
Year
7
Year
8
Year
9
Year
10
Required
Match Rate  

  24% 

  26% 

30%

  34% 

  38% 

  42% 

  46% 

   50% 

 

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AMERICORPS STATE FUNDS?

Kansas Volunteer Commission administers a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process to solicit applications from eligible organizations. The NOFO is available in September/October of each year and provide details on the application requirements and submission details. To receive notice of grant opportunities, join our contact list by emailing volunteer@ksde.org.  

An organization must have the staff, organizational, and financial capacity to manage an AmeriCorps State grant prior to applying. Organizations are encouraged to review the Organizational Fit Finder and to contact KVC at volunteer@ksde.org to discuss further.

In addition, an organization should begin the process by answering the below questions.

  • What critical needs does your proposed program address?
  • Can you utilize at least five Member Service Years (MSY) at your organization?
  • How will your program recruit, train, engage and manage AmeriCorps members?
  • What will your program design look like?
  • How will you manage the administrative, programmatic, and fiscal aspects of the program?
  • Who are the potential community partners in collaboration with your program?
  • How will you meet the matching requirements of a federal program?
  • How will you measure direct and demonstrable results of your program through performance measures and program evaluation?

QUESTIONS

For additional questions, please contact the AmeriCorps Program Officer, Paula Branizor, at pbranizor@ksde.org.