Become a VISTA Member

Do you want to make a difference in your community?

Maybe you come from D.C., or maybe the thought of serving in the nation’s capital inspires you. Maybe you’re trying to gain real-world work experience, or you’re looking for something more meaningful than what you’re doing now. Whatever your story, VISTA Strong Communities can help you write the next chapter.

AmeriCorps VISTA has programs all across the US, placing committed individuals like yourself with non-profits, state and local governments, and educational institutions. The VISTA Strong Communities cohort focuses on housing and economic development for low- and moderate-income DC residents, with an end goal of fostering just and equitable communities.

"The AmeriCorps VISTA Program aligned with my personal and professional goals of mobilizing underserved was a perfect fit from the start."

Samara Bharath, VISTA Leader 2020 - Present

VISTA members serve full-time, for a full year, on a specific project within one sponsoring organization. They earn a modest stipend that places them at the economic level of the people they serve, and at the end of their year they earn either a cash stipend or a Segal Education Award. Using their passion, commitment, and simple hard work, they create or expand programs that serve low-income individuals and communities.

Generally, VISTA members do not provide direct service – that is, they do not tutor children or weed community gardens. Instead, they design the tutoring or community garden program– completing projects that build the capacity of the organization they serve. VISTA members may develop volunteer programs, improve services based on best-practice research, or find funding to allow the organization to expand. Through their service, VISTA members gain hands-on experience and invaluable skills for future careers.

With VISTA Strong Communities, CNHED is committed to developing a strong cohort of VISTA members that will have wide-ranging impact. The VISTA members will attend regular group professional development events and spend time together, allowing the sharing of knowledge across organizations and the possibility of collaboration between projects.

VISTA members must be over the age of eighteen (18) and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Some sponsoring organizations require special skills or degrees, but others have no restrictions. Successful VISTA members are self-motivated, passionate, and committed to a year of service.

The VISTA experience is a full-year commitment. Some organizations may allow a VISTA member to work a part-time job or go to school while others may not. Before you commit to a program, be sure you’re okay with the time-frame and work hours that they will require.

All applications must be completed through the MyAmeriCorps portal in order to be considered. Read through the position descriptions first, then apply to the organizations that best fit your interests.

VISTA members receive a wide variety of benefits depending on their situation. All VISTA members receive:
  • Living stipend of $20,584 per year, distributed biweekly
  • Healthcare allowance and eligibility for Medicaid
  • Child care
  • A relocation and settling-in allowance (if relocating more than fifty miles)
  • Loan forbearance for the duration of the program
  • Cash stipend or education award Access to the AmeriCorps Alumni community
In addition, VISTA members who participate in VISTA Strong Communities will receive:
  • A housing allowance of $1,000 per month in rental assistance or in-kind housing
  • Monthly professional development, training, and networking events
Some organizations offer additional benefits, such as:
  • Transportation stipend
  • In-kind parking near the organization
  • Professional certification
  • Gym access
  • Rewards

At the end of the service year, VISTA members may choose either a $1,800 cash award or a $6,095 Segal Education Award. The education award may be used only for student loans or continuing education expenses, and some educational institutions match the education award to effectively double the amount. In addition, VISTA members who complete a year of service are eligible for Federal Non-Competitive Eligibility status.

The benefits of national service extend far beyond the year spent serving. The skills and connections gained during your year of service will make you more competitive when applying to jobs or schools. They will strengthen your bond with your VISTA community and the DC area. Many participants say their year doing VISTA changed their lives. What will VISTA do for you?

Meet our VISTA Cohort

CNHED is proud to welcome twelve amazing VISTA members to the VISTA Strong Communities Cohort. We’re impressed by what they all bring to their respective positions, and we look forward to being inspired by what they achieve.

Not pictured: Martin Sakansong from Douglas Community Land Trust.

Keep reading to learn more about each of our VISTA members:

Anna Gallicchio

Employment and Educational Coordinator, Capital Clubhouse
Read More

Alexis Smith

Peer Leadership Program volunteer, Community Solutions
Read More

Sheila Naya

Youth Membership Advisor, DC Credit Union
Read More

Jacqueline Vélez Lippman

Peer Leadership Program VISTA, Diane’s House
Read More

Erin Doolin

Research and Marketing associate, Manna, Inc.
Read More

Brandi Muller

Data Impact Specialist, Mi Casa, Inc.
Read More

Susanna Penfield

VISTA for the National Alliance for Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA)
Read More

Selena Duvivier

VISTA with the National Housing Trust (NHT)
Read More

Thomas (T.J.) Worthington

Recruitment & Outreach Assistant, So Others Might Eat Center for Employment Training
Read More

Kirami Bah

Programs, Marketing and Communications Assistant VISTA, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF)
Read More

Rachel Wertz

Eco-System Entrepreneurship Research and Best Practices Support Analyst, Walker’s Legacy
Read More

Upcoming VISTA Positions

2020 Cohort applications are now open! Check back frequently for more listings.

Interested in becoming a VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is an amazing experience, but it is also a year-long commitment. Make sure you check out the AmeriCorps website as you decide if VISTA is the right thing for you.

Is VISTA for me?

Program Updates & VISTA Spotlight

Curious about what our VISTA members work on?

Each month, we’ll profile one of our VISTA members here, shining a spotlight on the amazing work that they do for the community. Check back regularly for more updates!

January 5, 2021

CNHED 2020 Annual Report

The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) is excited to share our 2020 Annual Report that outlines not only our accomplishments throughout the year, but also forecasts our future work in 2021.

Advocacy CNHED Updates DC Community Anchor Partnership DC Landlord Partnership ELEVATE Events Housing Impact/Case Study Public Policy Small Business VISTA Strong Communities Program Workforce Development
Read More

November 17, 2020

VISTA Spotlight: Erin Doolin

As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Erin works with the Corporate Development Team at Manna, Inc, a nonprofit, affordable housing developer.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

November 17, 2020

VISTA Spotlight: Susanna Penfield

Susanna began her AmeriCorps VISTA term at the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), in anticipation of the NACEDA Summit 2020.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

October 20, 2020

VISTA Spotlight: Brandi Muller

As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Brandi works on the Housing Development and Genesis Intergenerational programs at Mi Casa, Inc., to establish and manage a database that tracks outcomes for the affordable housing work of each program.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

October 15, 2020

VISTA Spotlight: Rachel Wertz

In her work as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Rachel started her service with Walker’s Legacy as their Eco-System Entrepreneurship Research and Best Practices Support Analyst to work on bringing more efforts around multicultural women in entrepreneurship.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

September 15, 2020

VISTA Spotlight: Selena Duvivier

In her work as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Selena works with the Resident Services team at the National Housing Trust (NHT) to develop and implement onsite services for families living in NHT-owned affordable housing communities.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

Become a member of CNHED today

and join the fight for a District where all residents can live in thriving communities that are racially, economically and socially just!

Become a Member


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