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Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): AmeriCorps Member Assistance Funds

Purpose of the NOFO
America’s Service Commissions (ASC) is issuing this competition to identify and select state and territorial service commissions to establish member financial assistance funds to assist AmeriCorps members who are impacted by financial stress. 

Initiative Overview and Goals
ASC has received a two-year, $750,000 commitment ($375,000 per year) from the Schultz Family Foundation to launch and sustain member assistance funds for 20 state/territorial service commissions — 10 commissions for the 2023-24 AmeriCorps program year and 10 commissions for the 2024-25 AmeriCorps program year. 

Program Description
The target population for this initiative is AmeriCorps members ages 17-25 who are experiencing circumstances that require access to member financial assistance funds in times of financial stress or hardship. ASC and the selected technology provider will work with participating state/territorial service commissions to determine, based on the commission and their members’ needs, the criteria for applying, accessing funds, and dispersing funds. Once the commission has established criteria for its fund, the technology provider will work collaboratively with commissions to disperse funds to members who meet such criteria. The technology provider will supply data sets of applications and funds disbursement that can be analyzed by commissions to ensure case management for referrals to other benefits that could assist impacted members.

ASC will work with the selected technology provider to establish a fund in each commission’s name and will invoice participating commissions for their match funding. Commissions must make a good faith effort to secure match funds by December 31, 2023. For the purpose of this program, it is ASC’s understanding that Commission Support Grant (CSG) funds can used to meet the required match requirements. Beyond establishing fund criteria and securing match funding, commissions will be responsible for promoting the availability of the fund to programs and members in their state/territory. Commissions should plan to assign a limited portion of at least one staff member’s time to oversee the commission’s role in administering the fund.

Commissions not seeking match funds may, for a service fee to be determined after the technology provider is chosen, choose to use the application and disbursement system of the technology provider.

In addition, commissions may choose to award member financial assistance funds to members 25 years or older, but only with funds in addition to the match requirement related to this grant opportunity.

As part of this project, ASC will conduct quarterly learning community calls with participating commissions to share emerging best practices regarding fund awareness, fund parameters, fund utilization, and member retention. ASC will also encourage participating commissions to conduct focus groups and surveys of their members to help inform the parameters of their respective funds. Member retention and exit data will be utilized to refine assistance fund efforts in the future.

Award Amounts
ASC intends to make 10 grant awards of up to $25,000. Each participating commission may request any amount up to $25,000 via the Schultz Family Foundation grant, which must be matched dollar for dollar by the commission. If available, commissions may deposit additional funding into their respective funds (beyond the match requirement).

Project Period
The project funding period for this first round is anticipated to run June 2023 through June 2024. Commissions participating will be responsible for securing funding for the second program year and beyond. Commissions will need to establish sustainability plans that include identifying funding sources to maintain the established member assistance funds beyond June 2024. Commissions selected to receive match funding during the first year of this initiative may continue in the second year with their own funds and by paying a to-be-determined administrative fee to cover technology expenses.

Application Submission
Grant applications should be submitted addressing the requested application components detailed via this online survey form. Download a copy of the application form.

Important Dates

  • NOFO Released: Monday, May 15, 2023
  • Application TTA Call: Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 3:00pm ET — Register for the call
  • Proposals Due: Friday, June 9, 2023 by 5:00pm ET
  • Announcement of Commissions Selected: Week of June 12, 2023
  • Targeted Launch Date of First Round of Member Assistance Funds: August 1, 2023
  • Targeted Launch Date of Second Round of Member Assistance Funds: August 1, 2024

Brad Kmoch
Chief Advancement Officer
America’s Service Commissions

America’s Service Commissions

America’s Service Commissions (ASC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing and promoting the 52 state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. 

Schultz Family Foundation
Founded in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, the Schultz Family Foundation’s mission is to create greater opportunity, accessible to all.

In partnership with nonprofits, businesses, and governments, the foundation is focused on developing and investing in entrepreneurial, cross-sector solutions designed to build more equitable systems; foster our common bonds; strengthen our democracy; and create life-changing opportunity for people and communities who have historically been at the margins of our country’s promise.

Addressing the systemic issues and policies that have been at the root of the national decline in upward mobility and felt opportunity, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, is central to the foundation’s work.

Download a copy of this NOFO.