AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a federally funded service program focused on alleviating poverty by placing capacity-building members at local organizations.

The overarching goal of the Seed Coalition VISTA Community Corps is to improve health, education, or economic outcomes for low-income populations through community-campus partnerships. This may include addressing college student basic needs, access to and retention of low-income college students into college/university programs or institutions, and addressing racial disparities in health, education, or economic outcomes. AmeriCorps members in the program serve in one-year, full-time positions and participate in a cohort experience including professional development and a VISTA-service focused community of practice facilitated by Seed Coalition staff. 

Service Parameters

Host sites for VISTA projects are typically Iowa or Minnesota institutions of higher education or their community partners. The host site  designs their specific VISTA project and submits a proposal to Seed Coalition. If awarded a position, host sites are responsible for recruitment and supervision of their VISTA, and must provide data on selected performance measures (chosen during the application process) and narrative reporting. Seed Coalition handles all AmeriCorps grant management, and VISTA members are paid directly by the federal government. Positions begin in June, July, or August and members will serve for a full 365 days in a capacity building role. Members serve full time in a capacity building role; they cannot perform direct service or administrative activities such as stocking food shelves, attending a front desk, or tutoring students. 

Member Eligibility and Benefits

VISTA members are often recent graduates or community members. They must be 18 years or older and have a high school degree or equivalent. VISTAs must be US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents, refugees, or be DACA recipients. . International students on an F-visa are not eligible to serve. 

All AmeriCorps VISTA members receive several benefits: 

  • A living allowance of $22,882, paid biweekly 
  • an education award ($7,395) or end-of-service stipend ($1,800) upon successful completion of their service term
  • Relocation support if they are relocating more than 50 miles from their home of record to the service site
  • A health care allowance that helps to cover coinsurance or copays not covered by their personal insurance
  • Paid holidays, ten (10) personal leave days, and ten (10) medical leave days
  • Child-care benefits and mental health support
  • professional development and networking opportunities

More information about VISTA member benefits can be found here

To serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA, you must first create a profile on the myAmeriCorps website. Once you have created your AmeriCorps profile, you may apply to any position which interests you.

Host Site Contributions

Host sites pay an annual cost-share of $8,500. Discounts may be available to those host sites who are able to offer supplemental benefits, and priority is given to host sites who can supplement benefits with housing. Host Sites must provide office space, training, support and supervision to their VISTA members. Host sites agree to provide orientation, offer professional development, and allow VISTA members to attend required Seed Coalition training. 

Interested in becoming a host site?

Host sites are selected after a consultation and application process that commences in the fall (around October) each year. Sites are selected and notified in January, and recruit for members to begin through the summer months (June, July, and August). Member campuses are given priority. Community sites must show a strong alliance with institutions of higher education. Selected host sites are awarded a position for a VISTA project for up to three years. 

Campuses or community partners interested in becoming a host site can email Adia Zeman Theis at [email protected] to learn more about our programs and any upcoming information sessions.

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Seed Coalition strengthens the capacity of colleges and universities to fulfill the public purposes of higher education through its coalition of diverse college campuses in Iowa, Minnesota, and the Midwest. Our network includes rural and urban campuses, public universities and private colleges, community colleges, and trade schools.

We connect higher education professionals who work in the spaces of community and civic engagement and educate students through community and civic learning experiences. Learn about our mission and values and meet our members.

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