AmeriCorps VISTA: Project UNITE to Fight Poverty with Passion

AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically for the purpose of fighting poverty.  VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more.

President John F. Kennedy came up with the idea for VISTA in 1965.  Since that time, 170,000 VISTAs have played a key role in establishing many of the best-known anti-poverty programs, including Head Start, Upward Bound, and the credit union system.

“AmeriCorps VISTA: Project UNITE to Fight Poverty with Passion” is an outreach project of United Way that is focused on helping nonprofits in the CSRA.  Since 2007, United Way has served as an intermediary sponsor in AmericCorps VISTA Project UNITE funding which has provided support to over 20 host agency nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations are a crucial part of our society, providing help to the needy, education for a lifetime, funds for good causes, and social services for the homeless and those experiencing poverty. In 2013, VISTA members impacted the CSRA and leveraged resources as follows:

  • 25 AmeriCorps VISTA Members supported United Way of the CSRA’s intermediary project bringing in over $805,500 grant support into the community for nonprofit capacity building efforts.

•    Brought on board 25 full-time VISTAs to assist local nonprofit agencies.

•    20 community nonprofits departments participated in AmeriCorps VISTA program as host agency sites.

•    4,221 CSRA volunteers engaged in more than 35,780 hours of volunteer service at United Way host agency sites.

•    2,400 CSRA volunteers engaged in more than 20,225 hours of volunteer service through our MLK Service Project.  Of this total, 1,125 were youth volunteers from Richmond County and Columbia County Schools Systems.

•    350 pounds of hygiene items were donated to the Richmond County School System that benefitted approximately 5,800 students experiencing the effects of poverty.

•    92 community partnerships were developed in support of our MLK Service project that included 43 schools, 20 community organizations, 18 churches, 7 hotels, and 4 corporations.

•    $502,000 was obtained by VISTA Members through grants, local funding streams and in-kind donations for CSRA nonprofits to support health and human service programs.

•    25 VISTA Members participated in Project Serve, completing one team project at The Salvation Army –North Leg Thrift Store Project, as well as supported volunteer efforts in service projects at Salvation Army, St. Stephens Ministry, Friendship Community Center, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

•    12 job fairs were participated in to recruit volunteers and distribute materials on the AmeriCorps VISTA program

•    10 VISTA Members moved into employment as a direct result of their VISTA service.