Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is a federal national service program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift Americans out of poverty. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs, housed at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
AmeriCorps VISTA supports efforts to alleviate poverty by recruiting US Citizens and people with United States work authorization aged 18 years and older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization (“sponsor”) to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty.
While strong progress has been made in lifting Americans out of poverty since the inception of VISTA, recent data from the United States Census Bureau identifies more than 45 million Americans still living in poverty.
In FY 2017, AmeriCorps VISTA plans to support approximately 8,000 full-time VISTA members who will serve with approximately 1100 projects in low-income communities across the country. These VISTA members will leverage human, financial and material resources to develop sustainable solutions to problems in low-income communities.
VISTA projects must include the four core principles outlined by CNCS: anti-poverty, community empowerment, sustainable solutions and capacity building and at least one of the priority focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures and veterans and military families.
For over 20 years, AmeriCorps VISTA members have served with Campus Compacts as campus and community partner sites. This includes members in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.