Build Capacity With Literacy VISTA

AmeriCorps VISTA enables organizations to turn dream projects into reality. Literacy VISTA projects help organizations create, expand, improve and sustain literacy programming that helps Minnesotans gain the 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. You and your VISTA receive training and technical assistance at all stages of project implementation. As a host site and Literacy VISTA partner, you provide the vision and project plan and are responsible for on-site supervision of the VISTA and day-to-day oversight of the project. 

By creating new programming, making improvements to existing programs, or expanding the scale or reach of programs, Literacy VISTA projects allow agencies to: serve more individuals, reach a greater audience, more deeply impact causes of poverty, and expand the quality and quantity of program offerings. 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. 


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 in Minnesota is eligible to apply. Projects may focus on the following types of literacy services:

  • School Readiness (preparing young children for kindergarten; parent education and family literacy)
  • K-12 Success (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)
  • Adult Literacy (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 and year-round. Rather than providing direct service (i.e. tutor students), VISTA members strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding partnerships, securing long-term resources, developing or improving program content, coordinating training and more. VISTA members may develop new curriculum; engage volunteers; create new opportunities for learning; organize out-of-school time enrichment activities; find ways to increase family and community engagement; develop distance learning modules, family literacy, intergenerational learning opportunities, or other interventions.

With a Literacy VISTA project, your organization can gain the time and initial investment to put infrastructure 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." 


How do I apply?

We are not currently accepting applications to host a Literacy VISTA. Please check back in late fall for more info about applying for a Literacy VISTA for next program year.

Our Info Sessions help you learn more about whether Literacy VISTA would be a good fit for your organization, to learn more about the types of project ideas 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.

Deadline and application

Proposals will be due through an online New Project Application. 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 need to work with Minnesota Literacy Council staff to recruit and place your VISTA member. VISTA members typically begin a 12-month service term in late July or early August. 



Contact Meghan Paul-Cook (, 651-251-9069) with any questions or to talk over project ideas.

To learn more about National Service, visit


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 in grades K-3 in schools, libraries and community organizations. Organizations may host both a Literacy VISTA and Summer Reads VISTAs. Find out more here

PDF icon Literacy VISTA postcard flyer1.78 MB