Pennsylvania Campus Compact

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Program Overview & Requirements

Pennsylvania Campus Compact

AmeriCorps*VISTA Program 2016-2017
Overview of AmeriCorps PACC*VISTA Program
In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC) is pleased to announce the availability of up to thirty (30) AmeriCorps*VISTA projects to our member institutions for the 2016-2017 academic year.  In exchange for a full-time PACC AmeriCorps*VISTA serving a 12-month term, host sites are required to be members of PA Campus Compact and pay a nonrefundable AmeriCorps VISTA program fee of $5,000 by Friday, July 8, 2016.  PA Campus Compact is accepting host site project applications now through Monday, November 30, 2015 at 12 noon. 
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) is a national service program that, for 50 years, has been at the forefront of building the capacity of communities to fight poverty. VISTA members devote a year or more of their lives to challenge poverty’s root causes. They do this by mobilizing community volunteers and local resources, and by increasing the capacity of people in low-income communities to rely on themselves. To achieve its program purpose, VISTA operates under the following core principles:

  1. Anti-Poverty Focus – The statutory purpose of AmeriCorps VISTA is to strengthen and support efforts to eliminate poverty. Each VISTA project should focus on empowering individuals to emerge from poverty, not simply make poverty more tolerable. VISTA projects should focus on long-term solutions rather than short-term services.

  2. Community Empowerment – Prospective and current AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsors must engage low-income community members in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating the project. Each project must be responsive and relevant to the lives of community residents, and tap into inherent community assets, strengths, and resources.

  3. Sustainable Solutions –Congress has directed AmeriCorps VISTA to serve as short-term resources that serve to build the long- term sustainability of anti-poverty programs. Projects should be developed with a goal to phase out the need for VISTAs within three years and have the project continue without them.

  4. Capacity-Building –VISTAs create systems that remain long after their term of service ends. VISTA projects expand the scale, impact, and resource-leveraging ability of programs and organizations that work to eliminate poverty. Our members strengthen sponsors by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, securing long-term resources, coordinating training for participants, and more, as determined by local needs. VISTAs focus on capacity-building activities. On occasion, they may perform limited direct service activities if such activities are incidental to the activities required under their VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) duties, a part of a term-limited special initiative, or a necessary part of VISTA training activities.

**For more information visit**

PACC*VISTA Project Focus Areas & Objectives

*All projects should provide support for low-income families*

Focus Area


Programming Area

Economic Opportunity

Financial Literacy

Projects in this area can include various financial literacy concepts, ranging from budgeting and long-term financial planning to tax support and general financial literacy.


  1. Projects in this area can include various housing projects, ranging from developing and/or repairing healthy, safe, and affordable housing units, to making accommodations to make housing accessible to people with disabilities.

Job Readiness and Access

Projects in this area can include various employment services, ranging from skill and job trainings, resume/portfolio development to job search process and employment placements.


K-12 Readiness and Success

  1. Projects in this area can include providing services for children in poverty to make gains in school readiness and success. These projects can include any in or out-of-school tutoring or mentoring program for K-12 students.

Post-Secondary Readiness and Success

Projects in this area can include any in or out-of-school tutoring, mentoring, or college access program for economically at-risk students.



Nutritious Food Access and Education

Projects in this area can include any food access program, ranging from food banks or food pantries to food reclamation projects, for low-income families.

Access to

Health Care

Projects in this area can include various health services programs, ranging from support in acquiring health services or health insurance to providing health services and supporting health clinics.

Veteran and Military Families

Support Services to Veterans and Families

Projects in this area can include initiatives that provide support to veterans and military families. These programs range from providing educational support, to access to health care, to job readiness skills.

Consistent with the 2016 AmeriCorps VISTA Program Guidance, CNCS is particularly interested in projects that support: (Click here to find out more about CNCS 2016 Program Guidance)

  1. The My Brother’s Keeper initiative- (

  2. Rural Community Development- Creating economic opportunity in rural communities

  3. New Americans/Immigrant and Refugee Integration- Increasing civic, economic, and linguistic integration of new Americans and raising awareness of and support services for those affected by human trafficking

  4. Data Collection and Management for Results- Helping organizations address capacity around Performance Measurement, Evaluation, or Performance Management

  5. Community Resilience- Preparing communities to mitigate foreseeable impacts and assist in long-term recovery efforts caused by the disproportionate effects of climate change and natural disasters on those in poverty

  6. Environmental Stewardship- Promoting energy efficiency, clean energy, and projects that make alt. energy technologies available to low-income communities to reduce utility costs and provide skills for “green jobs.” 

Program Requirements

The following sections outline the requirements and expectations of PACC*VISTA members, host campuses, and Pennsylvania Campus Compact, with regard to the PACC*VISTA Program. This information will be outlined in a Host Site Agreement that all accepted host campuses will be required to complete.

Expectations of PACC*VISTA Member:

PACC*VISTA Members Will

PACC*VISTA Members Will Not:

  • Build capacity for communities to eradicate issues related to poverty

  • Commit to serving as a full-time VISTA for one year (if the VISTA leaves prior to one year, even at the beginning of the year, the site will not receive another VISTA for that year)

  • Have a college degree or three years of related volunteer experience; a college degree is highly recommended

  • Receive an annual living allowance of approximately $11,676 ($12,312 in Philadelphia), health benefits, relocation allowance and childcare benefits depending on eligibility (PACC and CNCS cover these costs)

  • Receive a post-service education award of $5,730 OR a $1,500 cash stipend upon completion of year of service (PACC and CNCS cover these costs)

  • Attend a five-day pre-service orientation in July (dates to be set by time of recruitment)

  • Attend PACC*VISTA retreats and participate in other training events as outlined at the beginning of the term of service

  • Participate in National Days of Service including Martin Luther King Day, National Volunteer Week, Youth Service Day, and Make a Difference Day

  • Be available for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Have other full-time employment or part-time employment that conflicts with their primary duties as a VISTA member

  • Receive supplemental allowances or compensation for work from a host site outside of project-sponsored housing and/or meal plans

  • Take on responsibilities at their host campus outside of their VISTA Assignment Description (VAD)

  • Supervise full-time or part-time staff or other AmeriCorps Members, including college students serving as AmeriCorps members

  • Participate in any AmeriCorps prohibited activities including but not limited to:

1). Partisan and non-partisan political activities, including voter registration

2). Direct or indirect attempts to influence passage or defeat of legislation

3). Labor or anti-labor organization or related activities

4). Religious instruction, worship services, proselytization, or any other religious activity as an official part of their duties

  • Provide direct service to the community

  • Participate in other activities as outlined in the Terms & Conditions of the VISTA Member Handbook, which can be found at:

Expectations of PACC*VISTA Host Sites

Expectations of Host Sites in Relation to PACC

Expectations of Host Sites in Relation to VISTAs

  • Be members of Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC)

  • Provide PACC with a nonrefundable Program Fee of $5,000 to support the PACC*VISTA Program by Friday, July 8, 2016

  • Procure presidential and fiscal support of PACC*VISTA project

  • Attend a mandatory VISTA Supervisor meeting in Mid-February

  • Sign a host campus agreement with PACC

  • Sign a MOA with Community Partner

  • Recruit their own PACC*VISTA member

  • Convene an Advisory Council, of at least 51% of its members from the low-income community, before the project begins to guide the AmeriCorps*VISTA project. The Advisory Council cannot be developed after the fact or be the responsibility of the AmeriCorps*VISTA member. The role of the Advisory Council will be:

      • To review and provide written comments concerning any project application prior to the submission of the application. A copy of such comments shall accompany the application;

      • To meet with the staff of the host campus at periodic intervals, but no less than twice per year, to review and comment on the development and implementation of the project, as well as the effectiveness of the project in meeting the identified needs of the project beneficiaries

      • To submit, if it chooses, written reports and/or copies of meeting minutes to accompany Progress Reports to PACC

      • To meet with Pennsylvania Campus Compact staff as appropriate during annual site visits.

  • Submit bi-annual or quarterly progress reports to PACC depending on project year, including reporting on all required performance measures

  • Provide copies of media coverage of events or articles that feature campus-community collaboration related to the


  • Consult with and use the people of the community to be served by the PACC*VISTA member in planning, developing, and implementing the project, to the maximum extent possible

  • Assist the PACC*VISTA member to find safe, appropriate, affordable housing during their term of service.

  • Provide work space, access to computer equipment and email, and relevant supplies

  • Identify service focus objectives and assist the member in developing a project timeline to achieve objectives

  • Aid the member with identifying and working with local, low-income communities

  • Provide in-depth on-site orientation and ongoing training for PACC*VISTA member

  • Provide daily supervision of the PACC*VISTA member with weekly one-on-one “check-ins”

  • Keep written documentation of PACC*VISTA member's time-off

  • Communicate to PACC when PACC*VISTA travels outside of PA for service-related travel

  • Provide service-related travel or reimbursement for PACC*VISTA

  • Relieve the PACC*VISTA member of duties so that he/she can attend PACC/CNCS trainings/retreats

  • Allow the member to work on PACC service initiatives such as Martin Luther King Day of Service.

Expectations of PACC &CNCS

  • Provide Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) for the PACC*VISTA member

  • Provide at least two professional development retreats for the PACC*VISTA member during their term of service

  • Visit sites bi-annually to assist campuses in self-assessing their progress towards VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) Goals and Performance Measures

  • Provide ongoing professional development opportunities for VISTA members

  • Provide other technical assistance as needed to campus projects and VISTA members

  • Provide one-on-one and joint coaching and conflict mediation for host site supervisors and PACC*VISTA members

  • Manage health benefits and payroll for VISTA members

  • Assist campuses with recruitment and enrollment of PACC*VISTA members

  • Provide oversight and coordination of the PACC*VISTA program through AmeriCorps Program Manager

2016-2017 Timeline:

By November 17, 2015 PACC is now requiring all potential new projects to participate in an individual “Intent to Apply Call” or an “Intent to Apply Workshop” Please find the list of Intent to Apply Workshops below and either confirm your attendance at a workshop with Sarah Garnitz or schedule a call with Sarah Garnitz by clicking the link below. The “Intent to Apply Call” or “Intent to Apply Workshop” must be completed by all potential new projects by Tuesday, November 17, 2015 and prior to submitting your application.

Click Here to Schedule your Intent to Apply Call or Workshop

  • Virtual Intent to Apply Workshop-Thursday, October 8th: 10am-11am

  • Philadelphia Intent to Apply Workshop-Tuesday, October 20th: 1pm-2pm

  • Harrisburg Intent to Apply Workshop -Thursday, November 5th: 10am-11am

  • Pittsburgh Intent to Apply Workshop -Tuesday, November 17th: 11am-12pm

November 30, 2015 Host campus applications due via email to

By Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 Host campus application revisions are due to PACC
Feb. 15-Feb. 19, 2016 Host campuses selected and notified
Late February 2016 Mandatory Host Campus Supervisor Meeting
March - Mid-May 2016 Recruit and Select PACC*VISTA member
Mid-May, 2016* Host campuses notify PACC of selected PACC*VISTA member
July 8, 2016 Program fee from host campus due to PACC
July 2016* Pre-Service Orientation for new PACC*VISTA members
July/August 201 July 2016* New PACC*VISTA members start year of service on host campuses
(*Dates to be set by time of recruitment)

Pennsylvania Campus Compact * 28 S. Dewberry Street, Box 8 * Harrisburg, PA 17101 * (717) 796-5072 * F (717) 796-5078

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