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:

Samara Bharath

Read More

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

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

2021-2022 Cohort applications are now open! See below for opportunity listings and apply directly through the AmeriCorps VISTA portal.

Interested in becoming a VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is an amazing experience, but it is also a year-long commitment. Make sure VISTA is the right thing for you.

Is VISTA for me?
  • Engagement and Stewardship VISTA WACIF

    WACIF’s mission is to advance equity and opportunity in the District’s underserved communities. WACIF fulfills this mission by providing financial capital, advisory services, and specialized programming to underserved entrepreneurs. By fostering engagement and stewardship between our organization and its supporters, we are then able to financially support our work and provide better offerings to clients and the community in which we serve. The VISTA member will support this mission by building meaningful relationships through consistent engagement and digital dialogue.

    The VISTA will help increase WACIF’s capacity to enhance engagement and stewardship amongst its various supporters. This will specifically involve researching best practices, aligning with team priorities, creating engaging (virtual) events and digital content, and building systems to support our network once the VISTA term comes to an end.

  • Resident Services VISTA Wesley Housing

    Wesley Housing builds up the lives of our most vulnerable community members by creating and operating healthy, supportive, stable, affordable housing communities. The Resident Services (RS) VISTA will support the programs & services that empower families living in affordable housing communities throughout the metropolitan DC region to pursue individual personal and professional goals needed to help break the cycle of poverty. The Resident Services (RS) VISTA will help strengthen communities through the development and implementation of comprehensive community needs assessments and related resource products for the organization’s existing and future owned and operated properties. In addition, the VISTA will help Wesley Housing enhance its operational capacity in the areas of document storage and retention and data capture and management.

  • Capacity and Engagement VISTA District Bridges

    District Bridges is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., with a mission to enrich neighborhood vitality by bridging community engagement and economic development opportunities so individuals, businesses, and organizations can thrive together. District Bridges develops and spearheads initiatives that offer a comprehensive approach to small business technical assistance. Through these programs, we support community-based economic development across ten neighborhoods in Northwest D.C. District Bridges seeks a Capacity and Engagement VISTA member to help support our membership and volunteer program through data collection and tracking, and relationship building. This is in support and furtherance of our mission and programs to serve a broader small business community.

  • Community Creation VISTA WACIF

    The mission of the Washington Area community Investment Fund (WACIF) is to advance equity and opportunity in the DC area’s underserved communities. WACIF fulfills this mission by providing financial capital, advisory services, and specialized programming to underserved entrepreneurs. By fostering engagement between WACIF and its clients, and among clients themselves, this VISTA project directly relates to WACIF’s mission of serving underserved communities. The VISTA will help build WACIF’s capacity to build community with and among its clients. This will specifically involve researching best practices, aligning with team priorities, creating engaging events and content, and building systems to support community creation once the VISTA term ends.

  • Research and Development VISTA Douglass Community Land Trust

    The Douglass Community Land Trust (Douglass CLT) is a racial and economic equity organization operating in the Douglass Commonwealth/ District of Columbia that relies on democratic governance and legal control of land to preserve community resources in perpetuity. The key results for the Douglass CLT are to preserve long-term affordability of residential (and commercial) spaces)- creating community-held assets, and to build assets for low-income individuals and families who are primarily African-American and who have contributed to making DC the prosperous community it has become, yet are at risk of displacement. Within 10 years, the Douglass CLT aims to secure the permanent affordability of 750 homes, providing excellent stewardship of the properties, and ensuing that the residents not only benefit from stable affordable housing (rental and home-ownership), but are part of the decision-making about what happens in their own communities. The Research & Development VISTA will, by researching best practices and accurate data collection, work to ensure that residents of the District of Columbia are able to strengthen the existing community and resist displacement that follows patterns of divestment and subsequent redevelopment.

  • Economic Development Coordinator VISTA Can I Live, Inc

    Can I live, Inc is a national public housing tenants association dedicated to reducing dependency on government subsidies. To remain a growing concern in the public housing industry (monitored and enforced by HUD), it is important that residents know and understand the opportunities available to lift and grow them out of poverty. With a mission to move One Million Moms Off Welfare by 2030, CIL designs its programs around two central focuses: Education and Entrepreneurship. To this end, we have established two core programs to accomplish this. RADAR and ROBI. This project focuses on ROBI (the Resident Owned Business Incubator). It is our job to ensure those who live in the communities we call home, grow in their capacity to actualize such available opportunities. The VISTA member will support this program through content creation, relationship building and creating pathways for program development at Can I Live, Inc.

  • Thriving Networks VISTA NACEDA

    The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is a network includes 35 state and regional associations, representing 3,500 community development organizations across the country. The Thriving Networks program strengthens the ability of these organizations to advance prosperity in low-income communities across the country. NACEDA’s mission is to lead the community development field and its partners in shaping strategies that make low-income communities better places to live, work, and play. NACEDA achieves this mission through trainings, conferences and conventions, communications, consulting services, and cross-sector partnerships. The Thriving Networks program provides opportunities for community development association professionals from across the country to learn from each other, and thereby improve the quality of life in low-income communities in their states and regions. The VISTA will work closely with staff to document and improve work shifted to virtual in response to the pandemic, help weave NACEDA’s cross-sector work in arts & culture and health equity into other areas of member services, and improve peer-learning experiences including a national conference collaboration. For each of these projects, the VISTA will help research, build, and systematize administrative processes that help NACEDA deliver these services more effectively.

  • Recruitment and Outreach VISTA So Others Might Eat (SOME)

    SOME (So Others Might Eat) is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help our neighbors experiencing homelessness and poverty in our nation’s capital. We meet the immediate daily needs of the people we serve with food, clothing, and healthcare. We help break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling. Each day, SOME is restoring hope and dignity one person at a time. SOME has a Center for Employment Training (CET) and the mission is to empower individuals into living wage careers through hard and soft skills training, adult basic education, and career development. CET provides training to prepare individuals for careers in the Healthcare and Building Trades Field. Students earn occupational credentials and certifications upon completion of the course as well as assistance with full-time job placement. The VISTA member will develop reports about the community clusters that SOME serves, the referral sources that are most effective, and will communicate these with the Recruitment and Outreach team. This will assist SOME CET with their recruitment goals.

  • Community Engagement Advisor VISTA DC Credit Union

    The VISTA Volunteer will assist the DC Credit Union advance two development services offered by the credit union: youth banking and free tax preparation services. The tasks required of the VISTA on youth banking is engaging with participants of DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The tasks required of the VISTA on advancing our free tax preparation services (the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance “VITA” program) by engaging with community based organizations to reach more tax payers, creating pathways to recruit program volunteers, and support the overall program impact.

  • Employment and Education Coordinator VISTA Capital Clubhouse

    The VISTA will gain a thorough understanding of the Clubhouse Model and then build relationships with likely community employment and education partners. This engagement will occur through social media development, Employment and Education Dinners, outreach meetings and newsletters. Following this engagement, the VISTA will work towards the kick-off of the employment program, by working on grants, drafting program content, and implementing best practices.

  • Community Impact Specialist VISTA Mi Casa

    Closely working with all of Mi Casa’s staff, particularly Mi Casa’s Deputy Director and Fundraising & Communications Manager, and using our newly designed database, the VISTA will aim to achieve the following goals: – Create an integrated community-based strategy to increase and track resident engagement in and capture feedback on our programs; – Using our new database system and trainings, refine and implement a community-based, program data capture, data management, and data evaluation plan to better analyze our impact; – Strengthen our communications strategy by creating new ways to showcase our quantitative and qualitative data that convey the impact of our work, which supports low income communities, particularly communities of color.

  • Equitable Programs & Partnerships Evaluation VISTA Walker's Legacy

    Walker’s Legacy is a nonprofit foundation created to inspire, equip, and engage multicultural women through thought-provoking content, educational programming and a global community. We are committed to working with and supporting socially disadvantaged women entrepreneurs who represent the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment nationally. Through our network and programs we help connect and empower female entrepreneurs. The goal of this project is to enhance organizational capacity through the development of strategic relationships to support sustainability, impact and program implementation for Walker’s Legacy’s Business Accelerator programs and capacity-building services (i.e. City Director’s program and business operations). This opportunity will directly support the validity, credibility and scale of Walker’s Legacy’s impact and engagement.

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!

April 2, 2021

Now Accepting Applications for VISTA Members

CNHED is now accepting applications from young professionals interested in participating on our upcoming 2021-2022 VISTA cohort.

Capacity Building/Training VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

March 16, 2021

VISTA Spotlight: Selena Duvivier

As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Selena works with the Resident Services Team at the National Housing Trust, a nonprofit, affordable housing developer.

VISTA Strong Communities Program
Read More

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
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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

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!

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