AmeriCorps VISTA (founded as Volunteers in Service to America) is a national service program under the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation’s poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Each VISTA makes a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization, school or government agency. In return for their service, VISTAs receive a modest living allowance and limited health benefit options during their service. They also have the option to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their service. About 8,000 VISTAs are placed each year in more than 3,000 projects in low-income communities around the country.

VISTAs generally do not provide direct services, such as tutoring children or building homes. Instead, they focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that address a complex set of issues such as education, health, housing, and economic development. VISTAs gain hands-on professional experience, expand and strengthen professional networks and learn skills necessary to pursue future careers. VISTAs range from recent college graduates, to recent retirees, to individuals looking for a change in career. VISTAs are passionate about serving their communities and addressing structural poverty.

For more than 17 years, the Initiative Foundation has been an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsoring organization, placing more than 250 VISTAs at over 100 host sites around Central Minnesota. As a member of the Initiative Foundation’s AmeriCorps VISTA cohort, VISTAs also receive a dedicated support network and intentional leadership development throughout their service term. We are committed to building our member’s capacity to discover and grow their personal and professional talents and purpose through a year of national service.