Literacy Leadership Program
Build capacity and invest in emerging 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 programs and services for low-income individuals and communities.
Literacy Leadership projects include two tracks: Literacy for All and Digital Literacy.
Watch this video to learn more about AmeriCorps VISTA (featuring Keshia, a Literacy Leadership alumna).
Nonprofits, government agencies and Tribal Nations located anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply.
Request for Proposals
Literacy Leadership Request for Proposals to host AmeriCorps VISTA members beginning summer of 2024 will be available by February 2024
Jesse Chang by email or phone (651-251-9069) for questions or to talk through project ideas.
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 we 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.
How do we define digital equity?
When we talk about digital equity, we come from a framework that digital equity involves three interrelated elements: equitable access to devices, equitable access to internet service, and equitable access to education and skills to make use of these tools.
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. Think of Literacy Leaders as project leads or project coordinators - a short-term infusion of human resources to help you launch a new program or manage a new project.
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 (for 2021-22 the cost-share rate is $6,000, calculated at 40% of the VISTA member annual base living allowance, or approximately 15% of the total VISTA member annual 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 VISTA members 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) or financially equivalent food support in the form of a gift card.
- Housing assistance funds.
- An Employee Assistance Program.
- For MN members, participation in the Transit Assistance Program (TAP) for subsidized rides on Twin Cities Metro Transit.
Host sites are encouraged to provide additional benefits to Literacy Leaders to the degree they are able, such as housing assistance, cell phone reimbursement, grocery or gas cards, or emergency funds.