Program Development

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What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a national service program funded by the federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service.

  • It engages adults of all ages in service terms of 300 to 1,700 hours per year to help community organizations implement proven solutions to local problems. These "AmeriCorps members" receive a living allowance and educational scholarship at the successful completion of their service.

AmeriCorps provides people power to organizations dealing with pressing community needs.

  • Teams of 8, 20 or more are trained and deployed individually or together to service sites to directly serve community members.

AmeriCorps generates partnerships by design to work on a common issue. 

  • AmeriCorps members go from their program to a service site, such as a school or community center.
  • Grant awards require matching local support.

Who Can Host AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps Rhode Island grants can be awarded to:

  • nonprofit organizations
  • state, regional, and local government agencies
  • faith-based organizations, and
  • educational institutions, school districts, colleges, or universities.

AmeriCorps Rhode Island programs must operate only in Rhode Island and benefit Rhode Islanders. (There are some established programs that operate in multiple states.)

AmeriCorps is the Domestic Peace Corps

How is AmeriCorps VISTA Different?

Volunteers In Service To America, or VISTA, is a separate initiative of AmeriCorps aimed at alleviating poverty in the United States. VISTA is designed to build the capacity of an organization and enhance its ability to serve the community. AmeriCorps VISTA members are placed at a sponsor agency to serve full time for one year. Instead of direct service, VISTAs recruit volunteers, design new programs and partnerships, raise funds, and perform other indirect, capacity-building activities.

To learn more about being a VISTA sponsor, you can visit or contact the CNCS Rhode Island State Office at

What does AmeriCorps Do?

AmeriCorps gets things done. AmeriCorps Rhode Island members do direct service. 

  • AmeriCorps grows existing proven services to address unmet demand.
  • AmeriCorps brings services proven to effective to new communities.

AmeriCorps members must add value to an agency. By law, they may not take in or replace the work of employees or existing volunteers. Programs can engage members to meet any agreed upon community need. AmeriCorps service is focused on:

DISASTER SERVICES that increase the preparedness of individuals for disasters and help individuals recover from disasters

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY by aiding people transition into or remain in safe, healthy, affordable housing, improving financial literacy, workforce training, and other human services.

EDUCATION in schools and the community, including literacy, college access, ESL, STEAM, and school readiness.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP to conserve natural habitats; protect clean air and water, maintain public lands, support wildland fire mitigation, cultivate individual and community self-sufficiency, and provide reforestation services after floods or fires. 

HEALTHY FUTURES to improve access to primary and preventive health care, increase seniors’ ability to remain in their own homes, and increase physical activity and improve nutrition in youth with the purpose of reducing childhood obesity.

VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES to positively impact the quality of life of veterans and improve military family strength, to increase the number of veterans, wounded warriors, military service members, and their families served by AmeriCorps members, and/or increase the number of veterans and military family members engaged in AmeriCorps service.