VISTA Host Application

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BEFORE YOU BEGIN

We recommend that you download our printable application form and prepare your responses in a Word document. This will prevent submission issues like page resets from causing you to lose partially completed application content.

Thank you for your organization’s interest in partnering with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association as an AmeriCorps VISTA host site. In the pilot year of this exciting project we will offer two innovative VISTA opportunities which place national service members in Public Defender offices who recognize the importance of Community Oriented Defense and Data Driven Decision Making. Leveraging our expertise in supporting the practitioners of Public Defense, over the next three years our VISTA Members and Host Sites will build over 170 processes that support strong data systems, deepen relationships with over 650 community based organizations, and conduct training for over 1300 individuals to empower communities and Public Defenders to better advocate for themselves for criminal justice reform.  
Defending Communities in Service is NLADA’s on-the-ground effort to engage and support Public Defense Leaders from diverse communities to take on roadblocks that prevent the effective practice of Community Oriented Public Defense across the nation. This project will organize VISTA Members and Host Sites in implementing distinct projects that will have clear, measurable impact and support long-term community change. 

Please complete this application in its entirety so that we may determine how to best support your work. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis however we encourage applicants to submit by March 1, 2018. Thank you again for your interest in becoming a member of the NLADA Defending Communities in Service network!

Organization Details
Contact Person
Host Site Eligibility Requirements
Please acknowledge all determinants of eligibility below:
  • Your organization must be a Program Member of NLADA and in good standing (current on dues and any associated membership standards)
  • Your organization has reviewed and will adhere to the Award Recipient Expectations detailed below
  • Your organization understands the Host Site share policy detailed below and will cover this cost prior to any granted VISTA member’s first day of service
  • Your organization is willing and able to cover travel and accommodation costs for the Host Site Supervisor to attend (2) mandatory in-person training events detailed below.
Host Site Participation and Responsibilities

In addition to understanding the unique needs of your organization and community and the role that your organization plays in addressing these needs, we want to make certain that you are in a position to both support AmeriCorps VISTA members and ensure successful outcomes for the project. This section explains various host site requirements and will help us to assess your organization’s capacity as a prospective host site. *

All Host Sites will be required to pay a cost share per member awarded to cover a portion of the administrative burden that NLADA assumes in managing the national project. All cost share payments are due prior to the VISTA members start date. Cost share payments are as follows:

  • For organizations with an annual budget of $0 - $600,000: $1,000 per member awarded
  • For organizations with an annual budget of $600,001 - $1,500,000: $1,250 per member awarded
  • For organizations with an annual budget of $1,500,001 - $2,000,000: $1,500 per member awarded
  • For organizations with an annual budget of $2,000,001 - $5,000,000: $1,750 per member awarded
  • For organizations with an annual budget greater than $5,000,001: $2,000 per member awarded
Host Site Supervisor Role and Responsibilities
The most successful AmeriCorps VISTA project host sites provide direct member supervision and support to help guide AmeriCorps members through to success. Please identify the staff member(s) who will provide this important level of oversight as well as their role(s) within the organization. Please also describe a plan that addresses support for day-to-day activities and professional development opportunities for any VISTA members granted.

During the one year term of service the following in-person and virtual meetings, training events, and reporting deadlines will take place:

  • CNCS may require the site supervisor to attend an in-person orientation, travel and accommodations will be provided by CNCS
  • NLADA will host at least two (2) in person-orientation or training events for the site supervisor, travel and accommodations will be covered by your organization. These events are most likely to occur during approximately the first and sixth month of the term of service
  • NLADA will host at least two (2) calls per month for site supervisors
  • Site supervisors will submit brief monthly performance reports as well as more intensive quarterly project reports to NLADA

Additional in-person and virtual meetings, training events, and reporting deadlines may be scheduled. 

Your organization agrees to fulfill all reporting and evaluation obligations throughout the term of service as well as engage with NLADA staff regularly to ensure success, including attending all mandatory meetings and trainings. *

VISTA Member Roles and Responsibilities

All DCS-VISTA members will act as short-term capacity and system builders at their sites and will not engage in direct service to clients or community members as a part of their role. Upon arrival at their sites, and after initial orientation and project training, the members will fill one of two system development roles, either data systems or community partnerships. Please review the roles, goals, and outcomes that each member is expected to achieve by the end of their year of service. In order to successfully host a DCS-VISTA member your organization must understand these member responsibilities and be in a position to support the member in fulfilling them. *

Community Partnership VISTA Members will initiate their year of service by creating or verifying a community map of site partners, peers, and stakeholder groups. Using feedback from the site supervisor and staff they will then identify strategic opportunities to build greater partnership strength within that map. Wherever relevant, the Community Partnership VISTA will pay special attention to existing and possible opportunities to engage in partnerships that will help the site to more effectively reduce relapse and recidivism related to the opioid epidemic. Potential stakeholder partnerships may include treatment facilities, community health centers, social workers, and community outreach agencies. With oversight from site supervisors, the Community Partnership VISTA will identify and begin participating in opportunities to increase the visibility of the site in relevant community meetings or working groups. Once the Community Partnership VISTA has familiarized themselves with the theoretical (map) and actual (meetings) layout of community partners and stakeholders, they will work with site supervisors and the NLADA project director to create a site specific project timeline on filling gaps and capitalizing on opportunities in the existing map of partnership opportunities and needs. Over the course of their year of service the Community Partnership VISTA, site supervisor, and NLADA project director will refer to this timeline for guidance and to measure progress. During the final phase of their year of service the Community Partnership VISTA will create manuals, training events, and guides for site staff to encourage adoption and maintenance of new and improved community partnerships and to ensure that the progress made is sustained and built upon by the site after the year of service is completed.

All Community Partnership VISTA Members will:

  • Support communications efforts to build VISTA project awareness and engagement in year 1 communities.
  • Help NLADA and VISTA sites to expand their funding streams through the identification and production of partnership resources that would make these organizations more attractive candidates for funding.
  • Conduct a site assessment or verify a site assessment completed by the Host Site supervisor prior to the member’s arrival
  • Create a site specific project timeline based on the site assessment and the Community Partnerships project module, selected by the Host Site
  • Track their activities building capacity in the priority areas defined by their sites needs assessment document through an activity log. This log will include information such as progress towards goal completion, next steps, referrals, training suggested/provided, and partners identified or secured. This activity log must include community partnership related positive client outcomes and should result in no fewer than five (5) formalized additional organizational partnerships.
  • Maintain an attendance log of staff and community volunteers who receive training. This log will include information such as number of attendees, unique number of attendees, number of hours of training provided, number of hours of attendee training provided, number of hours of unique attendee training provided, attendee training recidivism, and attendee satisfaction metrics.
  • Create or edit a project module manual to support project adoption and sustainability

Community Partnership VISTA Project Modules

  • Community Consortium – develop or increase the activity of a community consortium to include civil and criminal legal aid providers as well as relevant community based organizations. A key directive of the Community Consortium will be to assist participants in identifying and forming partnerships that allow for collaborative funding applications.
  • Partnership Network – understand existing and build new partnerships with community based organizations based on client needs and determine/execute methods for quality of partnerships to improve. The Partnership Network may be supported (site determined) by a mobile application for partnership mapping and review.

Data System VISTA Members will begin by identifying data objectives and then conducting or verifying a site needs assessment of current data collection processes and analytical tools. They will follow this process by identifying current gaps and opportunities within the existing system. Wherever relevant, the Data System VISTA will pay special attention to existing and possible opportunities to collect and analyze data that will help the site reduce relapse and recidivism related to the opioid epidemic. This may include collaborating with the Community Partnership VISTA member to gather data related to specific stakeholder partnerships. With input from site supervisors and from NLADA, the Data System VISTA will then create a site specific project timeline on filling gaps and capitalizing on opportunities in the existing data systems. Over the course of their year of service the Data System VISTA, site supervisor, and NLADA project director will refer to this timeline for guidance and to measure progress. During the final phase of their year of service the Data System VISTA will create manuals, training events, and guides for site staff to encourage adoption of new and improved data systems and to ensure that the progress made is sustained and built upon by the site after the year of service is completed.

All Data System VISTA Members will:

  • Support communications efforts to build VISTA project awareness and engagement in year 1 communities.
  • Help NLADA and VISTA sites to expand their funding streams through the identification and production of data resources that would make these organizations more attractive candidates for funding.
  • Conduct a site assessment or verify a site assessment completed by the Host Site supervisor prior to the member’s arrival
  • Create a site specific project timeline based on the site assessment and the selected Data Systems project module, selected by the Host Site.
  • Maintain a pipeline record of new systems/business processes/enhancements put into place in an activity log. This log will include information such problem identification, solutions mapping, system development progress, as progress towards solution implementation, next steps, metrics documenting the depth and breadth of new system impact, sustainability prompts, and organizational satisfaction metrics. This pipeline should lead to no less than ten (10) new systems/business processes/enhancements being enacted with additional leads not enacted.
  • Create or edit a project module manual to support project adoption and sustainability

Data Systems VISTA Project Modules

  • Public Defender Impact – develop or increase the capacity of the to track the impact of quality indigent defense for clients related but not limited to social service referrals, follow-up, and impact. The Public Defender Impact module may be supported (site determined) by a mobile application for referral mapping and evaluation.
  • Social Worker Impact – collect relevant data from client surveys, staff reports, and case files. Work with NLADA to analyze and report on impact to relevant staff and stakeholders
Member Selection
Final Confirmation