Literacy Leadership Program
Build capacity and invest in new leadership by hosting a Literacy Leader.
Literacy Minnesota’s Literacy Leadership Program works with AmeriCorps to place energetic leaders with organizations looking to launch, expand or improve literacy or digital literacy programming for low-income children, youth, adults or families.
Nonprofits, government agencies, and Tribal Nations located in Minnesota and Wisconsin are eligible to apply.
What is AmeriCorps VISTA?
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) is a federal government national service program. It was started in 1965 as a domestic equivalent to the Peace Corps, for full-time volunteers to lead anti-poverty projects at nonprofits, grassroots organizations and public agencies. At the same time, AmeriCorps VISTA members build their own leadership, explore career paths, pay for college and become lifelong advocates for the communities they serve due to the power of their experience.
What do you mean by “literacy education”?
AmeriCorps members serving with the Literacy Leadership program serve in nonprofits, public agencies, or Tribal Nations that support the development of reading, writing, oral language and/or digital communication skills of children, youth, adults or families. Projects should not focus on financial or information literacy unless it is secondary and complementary to the goal of becoming proficient in reading, writing and communicating effectively.
Our priority focus areas in 2021-22 are projects that address either of the following:
- Digital equity
- Culturally responsive literacy education
We will additionally continue to support other literacy capacity-building projects as well.
What can a Literacy Leader do/not do?
Literacy Leaders serve full-time (average 40 hours per week) for one full calendar year, typically starting in August, on projects designed by you, the Host Site.
Literacy Leaders help you turn a dream project into reality. Rather than provide short-term direct services, they work behind the scenes to build your capacity for the long-term. They put infrastructure in place for creating, expanding or improving programs for years beyond the Literacy Leader's service.
Our Literacy Leaders develop program content; build community partnerships; improve volunteer recruitment, training and management systems; conduct program evaluation and improve data collection systems; and help secure resources to ensure long-term sustainability of programs.
What are my responsibilities as a host site?
You provide the vision, project plan, day-to-day management of the project, on-site direct supervision of the Literacy Leader, and a financial match. You are also responsible for recruiting and selecting your AmeriCorps VISTA member, with support from our staff.
Your financial match commitment includes:
- reimbursement to the Literacy Leader for service-related travel
- cost-share financial match to support the Literacy Leader and project (currently $5,600 per year, which is about 40% of the VISTA member living allowance and about 15% of the VISTA member living allowance, training and benefits combined)
Literacy Minnesota provides training and technical assistance to you and the Literacy Leaders at all stages of the project.
Are Literacy Leaders paid? What do they receive for their service?
Benefits for all AmeriCorps VISTAs include:
- modest living allowance, set to the poverty rate of the county in which they serve
- healthcare allowance
- Education Award scholarship for future tuition or eligible federal student loan payments
- relocation allowance (if eligible)
- child care allowance (if eligible)
- service related travel reimbursement
- personal and medical leave
- one year of Non-Competitive Eligibility status for federal government jobs
Literacy Minnesota additionally provides our Literacy Leaders:
- monthly member trainings
- individual professional development funds
- free produce shares through local farm CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)
- an Employee Assistance Program
- participation in the Transit Assistance Program (TAP) for subsidized rides on Metro Transit
Host sites are encouraged to provide additional benefits to Literacy Leaders to the degree they are able, such as housing allowance, cell phone reimbursement, grocery or gas cards, or emergency funds.