AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed to fight poverty. Established as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. Any public, private, or faith‐based nonprofit organization, educational institution, or public agency may sponsor a VISTA. The VISTA program is guided by four core principles: anti-poverty, community engagement, capacity building, and sustainable solutions.
“VISTAs” do not provide direct services, and VISTAs’ duties should not replace or supplant those of paid staff, contractors or existing volunteers. However, VISTAs can perform a wide range of activities that amplify the sponsor’s organizational capacity, such as expanded volunteer recruiting activities, developing new volunteer programs, enhancing website content and functions, drafting and disseminating information for court users, and more.
Note: Although applications to sponsor VISTA members are made through AmeriCorps, it is included in this database of state-administered federal funds because of the technical assistance state-level AmeriCorps commission staff can provide and because courts and legal aid programs can partner with local or state government agencies to become a sponsoring organization.
How do you apply?
Applicants submit a brief Concept Paper through eGrants, the AmeriCorps online application and reporting system. Concept papers are reviewed four times throughout the year. Organizations submitting accepted concept papers will be invited to submit a full application. The latest VISTA priorities, concept paper and application process links, deadlines, and other guidance and resources are available here. AmeriCorps federal and state commission staff can answer questions and provide technical assistance throughout the project development process.
AmeriCorps VISTA priority areas include:
- Economic Opportunity
- Healthy Futures
- Veterans and Military Families
- Environmental Stewardship
- Priority Populations: Rural Communities, Indian Country, and areas of deep poverty.
- Additional priority consideration for projects that work in the above areas and populations that address issues of racial equity
Legal aid providers, sometimes with a court partner, have used VISTAs to launch, strengthen, or expand programs that increase civil access to justice.
- Recruit volunteer attorneys, law students, and/or non‐legal volunteers
- Develop and enhance technology resources, including informational materials or websites
- Conduct studies and/or surveys
- Network and/or develop partnerships with hospitals, schools, public agencies, or other service providers
- Supporting/developing technology tools
Administering Federal Agency
Find Your State/Local Administrator
To find examples of courts and/or their justice partners receiving these funds, click on the PDF.
AmeriCorps State and National Grants
AmeriCorps provides grants to a broad range of local and national organizations and agencies committed to using service to address compelling community issues.
AmeriCorps VISTA program is guided by four core principles: anti-poverty, community engagement, capacity building, and sustainable solutions.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.
Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)
JAG funds awarded to a state or local may be used to support a range of program areas, including law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education…
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
The American Rescue Plan Act built upon the ERAP, is set to reduce evictions by providing an additional $21.6 B in emergency rental assistance for low-income renters who have lost income…
Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program
The Emergency Solutions Grants Program focuses on assisting people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Formula Grants (FVPSA)
The Family Violence Prevention and Services formula grants to states and territories fund more than 1,600 local public, private, nonprofit and faith-based organizations and programs demonstrating…
Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF)
The HAF is for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financing hardship due to…
State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF)
FRF is the largest and most flexible source of American Rescue Plan Act funds to help states, counties, cities and Tribal governments cover increased expenditures, replenish lost revenue…
STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grant
STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants are awarded to states to develop and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response…
Title IV-B – State Court Improvement Program (CIP)
The State Court Improvement Program is for children and families who need assistance in order to keep their families together.
Title IV-D – Child Support and Establishment of Paternity
The child support program serves over 17 million children, and provides information to pro se parents helping ensure that parents understand the child support process, know what to expect…
Title IV-E – Federal Payments for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance
The Federal Foster Care Program helps to provide safe and stable out-of-home care for children until the children are safely returned home, placed permanently with adoptive families…
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Grants
VOCA provides funding to groups and direct services for victims, such as domestic violence shelters, legal support, faith-based organizations, and child abuse organizations.