FAQ

How does an agency apply to become a partner?
To request an application to host a VISTA, contact the VISTA Project Director.  The Project Director will work with you and guide you through the development of your VISTA project.  Applications for VISTA projects are accepted and reviewed throughout the year.  Project start-ups generally take place four to five times a year, typically in February, April, July, August and November.  All VISTA projects are subject to final approval from the Corporation State Office.

*Once completed, submit the application to the VISTA Project Director along with your agency’s IRS Determination Letter, most recent IRS form 990 or financial audit and the site supervisor’s resume and job description.


Can VISTAs provide direct service?
No. The role of VISTAs is to build the capacity and sustainability of the project and community to address poverty and poverty-related issues. Except for discrete training purposes, VISTAs should not be involved in performing direct services such as tutoring, teaching, counseling, driving clients, painting, manual labor, or clerical work.


What is the difference between a VISTA and an employee?
It’s key to understand the differences between a VISTA and a regular employee and make sure that other staff is aware of the differences. The differences provide a frame for how to meet the unique needs of the VISTA member. Working with your staff, you may want to coach them on the differences. To see how VISTAs differ from employees, click here.


What are the costs to host a VISTA Project?
RSVP assesses a $6,500 administration fee which may be paid in monthly installments or in one lump sum. The administration fee helps RSVP meet its obligation to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to pay a percentage of the VISTA members living allowance. In addition, the AmeriCorps VISTA project director assists partner agencies with the development of their VISTA project, recruitment and initial interviews of VISTA applicants, training for VISTAs and Site-Supervisors, provides resources for partner agencies, site supervisors and VISTA members as needed, and all project oversight, grant maintenance and reporting to CNCS throughout the project’s duration.


What are the responsibilities of a partner agency?

  • Develop a VISTA Assignment Description (VAD)
  • Recruit, Orient, Train and Supervise members
  • Support members as they carry on their assignments
  • Dedicate time to meet with your VISTAs each week
  • Provide adequate work space, including a computer, internet access, phone and supplies
  • Collect and report data as needed for the VISTA grant
  • Monitor attendance and leave time
  • Ensure timely submission of member attendance documents & reports
  • Reimbursement for service-related travel
  • Acknowledge members as VISTAs and AmeriCorps as a funder/supporter
  • Participate in supervisor meetings and site visits conducted by the Intermediary, CNCS State Office, or CNCS Headquarters
  • Serve as supervisor, coach, and mentor to VISTAs

What is a VAD?
VISTA sponsors are asked to fill out a VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) form for each VISTA member who serves on a VISTA project.  A VAD explains a project position and role assigned to a member, and includes goals, objectives, and activities a member is expected to complete in order to satisfy project needs.


How are VISTAs supervised at host sites?
Each partner agency is required to designate an employee as the VISTA Site Supervisor.  The Site Supervisor will attend a mandatory Supervisor Orientation prior to the VISTA member beginning service to learn the terms and conditions of VISTA service.  The Site Supervisor is responsible for day-to-day supervision and mentoring of the VISTA Member and will work with the Project Director to ensure sustainability of the project.  The Site-Supervisor will ensure that the VISTA member’s timesheets and reports are accurate and sent to the project director in a timely manner.


What is the role of the Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS) State Office?

  • Develops, manages and monitors VISTA programs
  • Supports supervision of the VISTAs and intervenes in emergencies or difficult situations
  • Connects you to the resources and offers technical assistance
  • Monitors compliance for the project
  • Has final approval of all VISTA projects and VISTA applicants

Where can I find additional resources to learn more about sponsoring a VISTA project?

To learn more about becoming a Partner Agency, please refer to our VISTA Sponsor Handbook.

 

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