Build Capacity With Literacy VISTA

AmeriCorps VISTA enables organizations to turn dream projects into reality. Literacy VISTA projects help organizations create, expand, or improve literacy programming that helps Minnesotans gain skills they need to move out of poverty.

Minnesota Literacy Council provides your organization with a full-time, qualified and energetic AmeriCorps VISTA member dedicated to realizing your project's goals - maximizing your impact while minimizing staffing costs. By creating new programming, making improvements to existing programs, or expanding the scale or reach of programs, Literacy VISTA enables agencies to:

  • serve more individuals,
  • reach a greater audience,
  • more deeply impact causes of poverty, and
  • expand the quality and quantity of program offerings. 

At the same time, Literacy VISTA is an opportunity for VISTA members to build leadership; explore career paths in public service, social service, or education; and engage deeply in community work. 

While VISTAs help your agency and the community you serve, we also expect host sites to support the professional development of your VISTA members. It is a unique opportunity to invest in and coach or mentor emerging leaders in the education and nonprofit fields.


Is Minnesota Literacy Council's Literacy VISTA program right for my organization?

Any private nonprofit organization, educational institution, or public agency working with communities in poverty anywhere in Minnesota is eligible to apply. Projects may focus on the following types of literacy services:

  • School Readiness (such as preparing young children for kindergarten; parent education and family literacy)
  • K-12 Success (such as getting school-aged children and youth reading at grade level; boosting literacy skills; increasing academic engagement; supporting on-time graduation and/or transitions to post-secondary education; family engagement)
  • Adult Literacy (such as serving individuals at least 18 years old who are not enrolled in K-12 school system; supporting English as a Second Language; preparation for GED/high school equivalency; pathways to college and career readiness; parent education and family literacy)


What can a VISTA member do for my organization?

VISTA members serve full time for 12 months. Rather than providing direct service (e.g., tutor students), VISTAs strengthen organizations by building infrastructure, expanding partnerships, securing long-term resources, developing or improving program content, coordinating training, engaging volunteers, identifying strategies to increase family and community involvement, designing evaluation to ensure learner outcomes are met, and more.

With a Literacy VISTA project, your organization can gain the time and initial investment to put systems in place for creating, expanding or improving high-quality literacy programming for children, youth, adults, or families. 

Listen to a couple of supervisors explain the difference between "direct service" and VISTA "capacity-building." 

You and your VISTA receive training and technical assistance at all stages of the project. As a host site and Literacy VISTA partner, you provide the vision, project plan, on-site supervision of the VISTA, and day-to-day oversight of the project. Our expectation is that the results of the project will be integrated into and sustained by your organization after the VISTA project ends. A typical project is renewed for 3-5 years.

View our Request for Proposals for more details.


How do I apply?

Our Info Sessions help you determine whether Literacy VISTA would be a good fit for your organization, to learn more about the types of projects we are seeking, and to learn more about what is expected of host sites. A password required for the application will be provided during the Info Session. We ask that all applicants attend in-person or view a recording of an Info Session prior to submitting an application.

Please register here.

  • Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 10am-12pm (webinar)
  • Thursday, December 14, 2017, 1-3pm (MN Literacy Council main office, 700 Raymond Ave, Ste 180, St Paul, MN 55114)
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 1-3pm (MN Literacy Council main office)
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018, 10am-12pm (webinar)
  • Recorded webinar available upon request after November 29, 2017

Deadline and application

Please submit your application using the online form here. Host site applications for 2018-19 are due Friday, February 2, 2018, 11:59pm. (extended from Jan 25 deadline)

If your site is selected, you will be required to participate in a Literacy VISTA Site Supervisor Workshop and work with Minnesota Literacy Council staff to develop a VISTA Assignment Description (a detailed workplan with vision, goals, objectives, and activities for the project). You will then work with Minnesota Literacy Council staff to recruit, interview, and place your VISTA member. VISTAs typically begin a 12-month service term in August. 

Supervisor workshops (select one):

  • February 15, 2018, 9am-3pm (MN Literacy Council main office)
  • February 16, 2018, 9am-3pm (MN Literacy Council main office)
  • Additional dates/locations and/or webinar-versions may be available for sites outside the Twin Cities metro area


Did you know?

Minnesota Literacy Council also has a summer VISTA program. Summer Reads VISTAs serve directly as literacy tutors and program facilitators during the summer months for children entering grades K-4 in schools, libraries and community organizations. Organizations may host both Literacy VISTAs and Summer Reads VISTAs. Find out more here