Recruitment

Community Recruitment

As an AmeriCorps program, you must actively seek to recruit program members from the community in which the project is conducted. Members of diverse races and ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, education levels, both men and women, and individuals with disabilities, unless and to the extent that the approved program design requires emphasizing the recruitment of staff and members who share a specific characteristic or background. However, in no case may you violate the nondiscrimination and non-displacement rules governing participant selection.

National Recruitment

To supplement local recruitment efforts, the Commission requires your program to use the web-based AmeriCorps Recruitment and Placement System (AC*RPS). All programs will be required to have their program on this system by the beginning of their program year. If you have problems or questions about this system, please visit Americorps for Organizations.

ADA Accommodations

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq.), programs must provide reasonable accommodations to the known mental or physical disabilities of members, and all selections and project assignments must be made without regard to the need to provide reasonable accommodations. As a Program Director, you may be called upon to make decisions regarding reasonable accommodation. However, the law does not require that you provide reasonable accommodations for any participant who would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others even if accommodated. For more information, please contact your Program Officer with the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

The Serve Illinois Commission shall inform programs and prospective programs about Commission policies and rights to reasonable accommodations for qualified AmeriCorps members. The Commission has established a system to apply for, respond to, and track reasonable accommodation requests for the Commission. The established reasonable accommodation process is for qualified members with disabilities who are enrolled in an AmeriCorps*State program, unless provision of such accommodation would create an undue hardship on SIC or the AmeriCorps*State Program. If an AmeriCorps*State member or applicant needs a reasonable accommodation, please contact the Commission at (800) 592-9896.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments: 

 3. Medical Review Form (pdf)

 4. Reasonable Accommodations Request Procedure (pdf)

 5. Reasonable Accommodations Request Form (pdf)

 6. Reasonable Accommodation Monitoring Report (pdf)

 7. Reasonable Accommodations Appeal of Denial (pdf)

Disability Outreach

The Serve Illinois Commission is partnering with Kreider Services, Inc. to provide planning, organization and technical assistance for the AmeriCorps Disability Outreach Project to recruit and place potential members with disabilities in current AmeriCorps programs in Illinois. The project's focus is on outreach, recruitment, and marketing activities for AmeriCorps programs to the disabilities population. Kreider Services is a not-for-profit, community-based organization that provides services to over 400 persons with physical and/or development disabilities. Kreider Services, Inc. can be contacted at:

  • Lois Barnhart
  • Serve Illinois Disability Outreach Coordinator
  • Kreider Services, Inc.
  • 500 Anchor Road
  • Dixon IL 61021
  • PH: 815-288-6691 EX 282
  • FAX: 815-288-1636
  • TTY: 815-288-5931
  • barnhartl@kreiderservices.org

The Serve Illinois Commission is working to promote Illinois AmeriCorps programs and develop recruitment activities on college campuses, in conjunction with disability organizations and rehabilitation services agencies. Recruitment brochures, applications, and other program materials adapted for the disabilities population and trainings are provided to Illinois AmeriCorps Program Directors.

For more information on this project please contact the Serve Illinois Commission at: (800) 592-9896.

Background Checks

The AmeriCorps Provisions read as follows:

  • Under the Serve America Act (SAA), all grantees must conduct criminal history checks on part participants in AmeriCorps as well as on all employees and others who receive a salary, national service education award, living allowance, or stipend under Corporation grants, even if the activities don't involve service with vulnerable populations.
  • The new requirements took effect on October 1, 2009. Beginning April 21, 2011, programs will also be required to conduct FBI background checks on covered individuals who will be working with vulnerable populations. Detailed information can be found by visiting National Service Criminal History web site.

The AmeriCorps Provisions further state:

  • The grantee must ensure, to the extent permitted by state or local law, that it maintains background check documentation for members and employees covered by this provision in the member or employee's file or other appropriate file. The documentation must demonstrate that, in selecting or placing an individual, the grantee or the grantee's designee (such as a site sponsor) reviewed and considered the background check's results.

All of the grantee staff positions identified under a regular AmeriCorps grant (competitive, formula, national direct, and others, if created where grantees must identify their program's employee positions on a budget), are subject to the background check rules. So are the members, because they receive an education award from the Trust. EAP grant are not subject to the background checks because the minimal fixed level of federal assistance requires the grantee to pay for, outside of the grant, the great majority of program costs, including employee salaries. However, EAP grantees are encouraged to develop a prudent criminal history check policy appropriate to their program design and populations served.

It often takes a long time to get the results of a background check, so complete this task as soon as possible.

There are numerous vendors who can perform background checks in Illinois. To obtain information on how to conduct the required background check in your area, contact the Illinois State Police at (815) 740-5160.

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) also performs a background check for child abuse and neglect for individuals not licensed by DCFS. The DCFS background check alone will not fulfill the AmeriCorps Provisions, however it is recommended by SIC and can be obtained free of charge.  For a copy of the form CFS 689, please visit the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services web site.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments: 8. DCFS Authorization for Background Check (pdf)

Nondiscrimination Laws

All programs must comply with all applicable provisions of state and federal laws and Regulations pertaining to nondiscrimination, sexual harassment, and equal employment opportunity including, but not limited to, the following law and regulations and all the subsequent amendments thereto:

  1. The Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5)
  2. Public Works Employment Discrimination Act (775 ILCS 10)
  3. The United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000a-2000h-6) (as amended)
  4. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794)
  5. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C 12101 et seq.)
  6. Executive Orders 11246 and 11375 (Equal Employment Opportunity)

For further reference, please visit www.ilga.gov or the Library of Congress/Thomas

Orientation

Member orientation should prepare members for their year of service. Orientation can help them acquire the skills and knowledge they need to "get the job done". A strong orientation will pay off in program outcomes, with members who know the purpose of their service and have the skills to accomplish program objectives. The AmeriCorps Member Orientation Checklist can be found on the following page: AmeriCorps Member Orientation Checklist (pdf) or by contacting AmeriCorps at 800-592-9896.

Listed below are items the Corporation mandates to be covered in the orientation of members:

  • Member rights and responsibilities
  • Specific skills and knowledge to perform service
  • Program's code of conduct
  • Prohibited Activities (attachment)
  • Drug Free Workplace
  • Suspension and Termination Rules
  • Grievance Procedures
  • Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Non-Discrimination activities
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness Education
  • Specific Safety Procedures- member security
  • Sensitivity to the Community
  • Introduction to National Service and AmeriCorps
  • My AmeriCorps Portal
  • Illinois OnCorps Reporting (timesheets and approval process)

Listed below are items the Commission strongly encourages to be included in the orientation of members:

  • National Service: The Big Picture (The AmeriCorps orientation video, "Getting Things Started" is a good tool to utilize)
  • The History of Service in America
  • Host Sites
  • AmeriCorps network of over 75,000 members
  • Discussion of the AmeriCorps ethic
  • Importance of Getting Things Done
  • Meaning of Illinois Community
  • Responsibilities that individuals have to themselves, their families, their community, and the nation -civic responsibility and civic reflection
  • Program Rules, Regulations, and Benefits
  • Member Handbook
  • Benefits
  • Allowed Activities (attachment)
  • Living Allowance
  • Staff and member roles
  • Understanding the objectives of the program and how to collect data
  • Have members fill out National Trust Enrollment Forms
  • Eligibility of full time members for Health Care/Childcare

Service Gear

Grant funds may be used to pay for a standard Service Gear package (AmeriCorps T-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, pin, decals, and buttons) for members. The Commission urges programs to provide this package to members. If the standard Service Gear package is not purchased, Programs must provide Members with a comparable package.  Items can be order online from the AmeriCorps Catalog.

Material Request

Grant funds may be used to purchase informational material (brochures, application packets, posters, publications, etc.). On occasion, select items are free of charge.  Items can be ordered online at Resource Center

Member Service Agreement

As described in the AmeriCorps Provisions, programs are required to have members sign contracts that, at a minimum, stipulate the following:

  1. The minimum number of service hours and other requirements (as developed by the Program) necessary to successfully complete the term of service and to be eligible for the education award;
  2. Acceptable conduct;
  3. Prohibited activities, including those specified in the regulations;
  4. Requirements under the Drug-Free Workplace Act (41 U.S.C. 701 et seq.);
  5. Suspension and termination rules;
  6. The specific circumstances under which a member may be released for cause;
  7. The position description;
  8. Grievance procedures; and
  9. Other requirements as established by the Program.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments:  9. Member Service Agreement Template (pdf)

Member Status

Member Commitment

The process of enrolling new members in My AmeriCorps begins with recording an applicant's commitment into the AmeriCorps Commitment Tracker (ACT). The Corporation for National and Community Service describes a commitment as follows:

  • A "commitment" is defined as signing a member service agreement with an individual or otherwise entering into a legally enforceable commitment as determined by state law. For example, a program may sign a letter of commitment with an individual to begin service in two months. State law may also deem other actions to be an enforceable commitment for an individual to serve.

The Corporation requires the program to enter the person in the ACT within 30 calendar days of the commitment signing. This serves to notify the Corporation of the agreement.

Member Enrollment

All Member Enrollment Forms must be entered and approved in My AmeriCorps within 30 days of a member entering or enrolling in the program. Members must create a My AmeriCorps Portal account in order to complete their enrollment. Programs may enroll members through October 31 without permission from the Commission. Programs must receive approval from the Commission prior to enrolling members after October 31.

To request approval for enrolling members after October 31, programs must submit a written request stating:

  • The number and type of position to be filled
  • Expected start and end date of the member
  • How the member will be trained
  • How many hours per week the member will need to serve to complete service

NOTE:  No full-time member may be enrolled after December 31.

Member Exit

All Member Exit Forms must be entered and approved in My AmeriCorps within 30 days of a member exiting the program. Members must create a My AmeriCorps Portal account in order to complete their exit information and to manage their education award. All members must complete their term of service within one year of their start date. This completion requirement is for all members. Members who have had their term suspended, may increase their service agreement by the number of days suspended but not to exceed December 31st of the Program Year.

Change of Status

Programs must have approval from the Commission prior to entering and approving a Change of Status Form in My AmeriCorps. Programs shall submit a written letter requesting approval. Refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions for policy guidance.

Suspension

Programs may halt a member's term of service in case of extenuating circumstances so that the member's term of service may be extended dependent on length of suspension. CNCS regulations states a member may return continue his/her term of service up to two years after suspension (45 CFR § 2522.230 Page 101). However, to avoid Illinois contractual conflicts, the Illinois Commission has adopted a more stringent suspension policy; therefore, the Illinois Commissions policy of exiting all members by December 31 of the following year takes precedence.

Note: If you make any changes to My AmeriCorps, you must add that same information to the member file. The My AmeriCorps system and the member files should include the same information.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments:

 10. Member Enrollment From (pdf)

 11. Member Exit Form (pdf)

Member Slots

The allowable slot types and associated FTEs are listed in the table below.

Service Term Service Hours FTE's
Full Time (FT) 1700 1
Halt Time (HT) 900 .5
Reduced Half Time (RHT) 675 0.38
Quarter Time (QT) 450 0.26
Minimum Time (MT) 300 0.21

Corrections

Use the slot correction process to make any changes to the distribution of a program's slots.

Slot Corrections for Refill Slots

Slot corrections on refilled slots require notification to and approval from your program officer. Remember that refill slots don't appear until all awarded slots have been filled. Keep in mind that filled slots include:

  • slots occupied by members who exited with greater than 30% of hours served (shows as an awarded slot that is filled)
  • slots occupied by active (or suspended) members (shows as an awarded slot that is filled)
  • slots that have been vacated by a member with less than 30% of their hours, and then vacated a second time (shows as a refilled slot)
  • refilled slots (shows as a refilled slot)

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments: 12. Slot Conversion and Transfer Policy (pdf)

Tutoring

A tutor is defined as someone whose primary goal is to increase academic achievement in reading or other core subjects through planned, consistent, one-to-one or small-group sessions and activities that build on the academic strengths of students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and target their academic needs. A tutor does not include someone engaged in other academic support activities, such as mentoring and after-school program support, whose primary goal is something other than increasing academic achievement. For example, providing a safe place for children is not tutoring, even if some of the program activities focus on homework help.

§ 2522.940 What are the requirements for a program in which AmeriCorps members serve as tutors?

A program in which members engage in tutoring for children must:

(a) Articulate appropriate criteria for selecting and qualifying tutors, including the requirements in §2522.910 of this subpart;

(b) Identify the strategies or tools it will use to assess student progress and measure student outcomes;

(c) Certify that the tutoring curriculum and pre-service and in-service training content are high-quality and research based, consistent with the instructional program of the local educational agency or with State academic content standards;

(d) Include appropriate member supervision by individuals with expertise in tutoring;

(e) Provide specialized high-quality and research-based, member pre-service and in-service training consistent with the activities the member will perform;

(f) Curriculum must be consistent with both state academic standards and the instruction program of the local educational agency.

(g) Certify that members serving as tutors posses a minimum of a high school diploma.

Serve America tutor

§ 2522.920 Are there any exceptions to the qualifications requirements?

The qualifications requirements in §2522.910 of this subpart do not apply to a member who is a K-12 student tutoring younger children in the school or after school as part of a structured, school-managed cross-grade tutoring program.

Additional information can be found by searching the AmeriCorps web site. 

Living Allowance

Generally, you must provide a living allowance between $11,400 and $22,800 per year to your full-time members.

A living allowance is not required for less than full-time members. If you choose to provide less than full-time members with a living allowance, you may use the following chart as a guide.

Term of Service Minimum # of Hours Maximum Total Living Allowance MSY
Full Time 1700 $5,350.00 1
Half Time 900 $2,675.00 0.50
Reduced Half Time 675 $2,124.00 0.38
Quarter Time 450 $1,416.00 0.26
Minimum Time 300 $1,133.00 0.21

Programs occasionally request the ability to deduct amounts from living allowances for absences and other purposes. Programs may make deductions to the non-federal portion of living allowances or other payments made to AmeriCorps members. Programs may not deduct any federal portion of the living allowance paid by Corporation funds.

Before making any deductions, programs are advised to consider implications related to the treatment of employment laws. Further, programs making deductions in this fashion, it may be required to increase their matching funds. Please contact your Serve Illinois Program Officer for more information.

Education Award

Amount of the AmeriCorps Education Award

The amount of the AmeriCorps Education Award depends on the length of a member's term of service. The current amount of the Education Award for each term of service is as follows:

Enrollment Status Hours Award
Full Time 1700 $5,350.00
Halt Time 900 $2,675.00
Reduced Half Time 675 $2,124.00
Quarter Time 450 $1,416.00
Minimum Time 300 $1,133.00

Payments made from AmeriCorps Education Awards are considered taxable income in the year that the Corporation makes the payment to the school or loan holder. A member serving in a full-time term of service is required to complete service within 9 to 12 months.

Eligibility

Members are eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award if they successfully complete their term of service in accordance with the member service agreement with one of the following approved AmeriCorps programs:

  • AmeriCorps*State and National
  • AmeriCorps*VISTA
  • AmeriCorps*NCCC

As the member uses the AmeriCorps Education Award, they must have received a high school diploma, or the equivalent of such diploma.

Award Limitations

Under no circumstances will an individual be eligible to receive more than an amount equal to the aggregate value of two full-time education awards. The value of an education award is equal to the actual amount of the education award received divided by the amount of a full-time education award in the year the AmeriCorps or Silver Scholar position to which the award is attributed was approved. Each award received will be considered to have a value between 0 and 1. Although the amount of a full-time award as defined in § 2527.10(a) may change, the value of a full-time award will always be equal to 1.

For more details, visit Education Award Limitations.

The National Service Trust does not make payments to anyone other than qualified schools and loan holders. See your financial aid counselor for information on how they handle disbursements and reimbursements of the AmeriCorps Education Award.

If a member withdraws from the school at which you have used the Education Award, the school may be required to refund the National Service Trust. If any refund is owed, it is credited to the member's Education Award "account," and is subject to the seven-year time limit members have for using their awards. For general information on how withdrawing from school may affect a member's student financial aid, go to U.S. Department of Education's Student Guidebook.

Under certain circumstances, members can use the education award to study outside the United States. Contact the National Service Trust at 1-888-507-5962 for further information.

Members have seven years to use the education award from the date of their completion of service. They can divide up their award and use portions of it at different times, as long as it is for authorized expenditures within the specified time period. Members could, for example, apply a portion of it to existing qualified student loans and save the remainder to pay for authorized college costs in the future.

Transfer of the Education Award

Before transferring an award to a designated individual, the Corporation must receive a request from the transferring individual, including:

  1. The individual's written authorization to transfer the award, the year in which the award was earned, and the specific amount of the award to be transferred;
  2. Identifying information for the individual designated to receive the transferred award;
  3. A certification that the transferring individual meets the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of § 2530.10; and
  4. A certification that the designated individual is the child, grandchild, or foster child of the transferring individual.

Upon receipt of a request including all required information listed in paragraph (a) of this section, the Corporation will contact the designated individual to notify the individual of the proposed transfer, confirm the individual's identity, and give the individual the opportunity to accept or reject the transferred award.

To accept an award, a designated individual must certify that the designated individual is the child, grandchild, or foster child of the transferring individual and that the designated individual is a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States. Upon receipt of the designated individual's acceptance, the Corporation will create or permit the creation of an account in the National Service Trust for the designated individual, if an account does not already exist, and the accepted amount will be deducted from the transferring individual's account and credited to the designated individual's account.

The Corporation must receive the request from the transferring individual prior to the date the award expires.

College/University Match

There are currently 97 colleges and universities that match the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for their students. For a complete list, visit AmeriCorps Education Awards web site. 

Child Care

Programs must make child care available to any full-time member who is eligible for and needs such assistance in order to participate in the program. Member eligibility for child care is based on need. The Corporation pays 100% of the allowance as defined by payment rates of Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

Member Eligibility

Members are eligible for child care if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • Their needs are consistent with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990.
  • Their total family income is within the state median income guidelines, as defined under CCDBG guidelines.
  • They with and be a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 13.
  • They are a full-time members (1700 hours in 12 months) or 900 hours in six month period (only with prior approval of the Corporation)
  • They need Child Care in order to participate in the AmeriCorps Program
  • They are not receiving child care from another source at the time of acceptance into the program
  • They have a family income that does not exceed the state's income eligibility guidelines.

An Eligibility Calculator may be found on the Illinois Department of Human Services web site.

To qualify for payment through AmeriCorps*CARE, a child care provider must qualify as a legal provider under the CCDBG state plan.  Please visit AmeriCorps Child Care Benefits Program to access the Child Care Application as well as specific information that your Member will find helpful.

Directory of IL CCR&R Agencies

Please visit INCCRRA for an Agency Referral list.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments:  13. Child Care Checklist (pdf)

Health Insurance

Programs must provide health care coverage to full-time members who do not have adequate health care at the time of enrollment or who lose coverage due to participation in the program. In addition, programs must provide health care coverage if a full-time member loses coverage during the term of service through no deliberate act of his or her own.

If the program already carries minimum benefits at a reasonable cost, they must use existing policies to cover members. If a program is going to use an existing health care policy, a copy of the policy and a summary of its coverage and cost must be sent to the Illinois Commission.

If a program does not have a current policy that carries the minimum health care benefits, using the alternative health care policy administered by Strategic Resource Company/BCS Insurance (SRC/BCS) for AmeriCorps members is required. To obtain this type of health insurance, please contact SRC/BCS directly at (803) 333-1137 or 1-800-359-7475. Once you contact SRC/BCS, they will send you information to set-up a new account.

Programs may obtain healthcare from any provider as long as the coverage provided by the grantee provides the following minimum benefits:

  1. Physician services for illness or injury
  2. Hospital room and board
  3. Emergency room
  4. X-ray and laboratory
  5. Prescription drugs
  6. Limited mental/nervous disorders
  7. Limited substance abuse coverage
  8. An annual deductible of no more than $250 charges per member
  9. No more than $1,000 total annual out-of-pocket per member
  10. A 20% co-pay or a comparable fixed fee with the exception of a 50% co-pay for mental and substance abuse care
  11. A maximum benefit of at least $50,000 per occurrence or cause

* See Aetna Affordable Health Choices® Administrative Manual (separate from this manual).

Medicaid

Programs must provide health care coverage to all full-time members even if they are eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid recipients are not waived from health care coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has taken the position that members receiving Medicaid have coverage available to them through AmeriCorps. Because Medicaid "wraps around" other available health care coverage, Medicaid will pick up only the costs that are not covered under the AmeriCorps policy. Members who remain on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will continue to receive Medicaid for their dependents. Members who lose TANF due to the living allowance, usually can continue to receive extended Medicaid coverage for their dependents for up to one year. Members should consult their caseworker before enrolling in AmeriCorps.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments: 15. Health Insurance Enrollment Questionnaire (pdf)

Loan Forbearance/Interest Accrual

AmeriCorps members who are earning a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are uniquely eligible for one type of postponement of the repayment of their qualified student loan called forbearance. During the forbearance period, interest on the principle amount of the loan continues to accrue. If a member successfully completes their term of service and earns an Education Award, the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that has accrued on the qualified student loans during this period. This accrued interest paid by the Trust, like the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award itself, is subject to income taxes.

AmeriCorps members enrolled in an AmeriCorps project are eligible for forbearance for most federally-backed student loans. For other types of student loans, members must ask their loan holder if their AmeriCorps service qualifies for a deferment or forbearance.

This postponement of the student loan payment (forbearance) is not automatic. Members must request it from their loan holders by completing the National Service Forbearance Request Form. Members may complete the Forbearance Request Form online by accessing their My AmeriCorps Portal.

The National Service Trust does not grant forbearances. Loan holders do. The Trust merely verifies membership in AmeriCorps and forwards the documents to the loan companies. The Trust is able to verify membership only when it has proof from a project that the individual is an AmeriCorps member.

Interest Accrual Payments

AmeriCorps members who have earned a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are eligible to have the Trust pay up to 100% of the interest that accrued on their qualified student loan during their service. To have the Trust pay all or a portion of the interest accrued on a qualified student loans, the Trust must receive verification from the Program indicating the member has completed their service and are eligible for an award. A member and their lender also must complete the Interest Accrual Form, which indicates the amount of interest accrued during your service period. The loan holder sends this completed form to the Trust for payment.

For further information regarding Interest Accrual Payments, visit AmeriCorps web site. 

Defaulted Loans

Most student loans that are in default are not eligible for forbearance. If a member has loans that have gone into default before they begin their AmeriCorps service, they can attempt to negotiate an arrangement with the loan holder or collection agency to bring the loan out of default so forbearance can be granted and interest paid.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments:

 16. Loan Forbearance Request Form (pdf)

 17. Interest Accrual Form (pdf)

Prohibited Activities

The Corporation acknowledges that religious and political activities play a positive role in healthy communities, that religion and politics are defining characteristics of many community organizations (faith-based and secular), and that religious and political belief and action are central to many AmeriCorps members lives.

However, it is important that AmeriCorps programs and their members do not appear to be taking sides religiously or politically. Consequently, a number of limitations on the activities that AmeriCorps programs can support and in which members can engage while earning service hours, or when otherwise, representing AmeriCorps must be imposed. AmeriCorps members are free to pursue these activities on their own initiative, on non-AmeriCorps time, and using non-AmeriCorps funds. The AmeriCorps logo should not be worn by members when participating in prohibited activities.

While charging time to the AmeriCorps program, members accumulating service or training hours, or otherwise performing activities supported by the AmeriCorps program or the Corporation, staff and members may not engage in the following activities, and the grantee may not use grant funds to support the following activities:

  1. Attempting to influence legislation.
  2. Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
  3. Assisting, promoting or deterring union organizing.
  4. Impairing existing member service agreements for services or collective bargaining agreements.
  5. Engaging in partisan political activities or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.
  6. Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
  7. Engaging in religious instruction; conducting worship services; providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship; constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship; maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship; or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
  8. Providing a direct benefit to:
    1. A for-profit entity;
    2. A labor union;
    3. A partisan political organization;
    4. An organization engaged in the religious activities described in the preceding sub clause, unless grant funds are not used to support the religious activities; or
    5. A nonprofit entity that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c) (3) of U.S. Code Title 26.
  9. Voter registration drives by AmeriCorps members is an unacceptable service activity. In addition, Corporation funds may not be used to conduct a voter registration drive.
  10. Activities relating to abortion services or referrals.
  11. Other activities as the Corporation determines will be prohibited, upon notice to the grantee.

Individuals may exercise their rights as private citizens and may participate in the above activities on their initiative, on non-AmeriCorps time, and using non-Corporation funds. The AmeriCorps logo should not be worn while doing so.

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments: 18. Memorandum Regarding Prohibited Activities (pdf)

Allowable Activities

After reading the list of prohibited activities there may still be questions about what kind of service work can be credited to AmeriCorps Education Awards hours.

The most important piece of information to relay to the members is that at least 80% of their time must be spent doing direct service and the other 20% can be credited to education and/or training that they receive that relates to their work or to AmeriCorps.

Direct service is work that addresses human need, the environment, public safety, and/or education in one form or another. It is working directly with people to make change, or doing work that is involved in making that direct change. It can be outreach, case management, training, teaching, tutoring, mediating, cleaning, counseling, recruiting volunteers, catching up on paperwork related to clients, preparing for class, coaching, listening, cooking, serving, providing health care, food, clothing, etc. Direct service hours should constitute 80% or more of an AmeriCorps member's total hours served. The remainder will be indirect service hours.

Indirect service hours, or education and training, hours are only applicable when they reflect the AmeriCorps service that the member credits to the education award he or she will receive. Any on-the job training that refers to direct service would be part of this category. All orientations, including the AmeriCorps orientation, would be included, as well as any state or regional trainings, seminars, or workshops pertaining to issues related to direct service. Examples would be conflict resolution seminars, teacher development days, team-building exercises or a class on training techniques. Only 20% of all of the member's credited service hours can be dedicated to education and training, even if more hours have been spent in this area.

Members may raise funds directly in support of service activities that meet local, environmental, educational, public safety, homeland security, or other human needs. Examples of fundraising activities that members may perform include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Seeking donations for of books from companies and individuals for a program in which volunteers tutor children to read;
  2. Writing a grant proposal to a foundation to secure resources to support the training of volunteers;
  3. Securing supplies and equipment from the community to enable volunteers to help build houses for low-income individuals;
  4. Securing financial resources from the community to assist a faith-based organization in launching or expanding a program that provides social services to the members of the community and is delivered, in whole or in part, through the members of the faith-based organization; or
  5. Seeking donations from alumni of the program for specific service projects being performed by current members.

All AmeriCorps service activities will take place within the State of Illinois only.

Any activities that are not applicable to a member's education award hours are listed on the Prohibited Activities sheet. The hours that a member may spend doing those activities should not be recorded. For instance, if a member is teaching six classes a day and two of those are religion, only the four other classes (let's say in math, English, history and science) would be acceptable to record on her/his weekly tracking tool, and ultimately on her/his quarterly report.

All member questions should be directed to program directors.

Program Start-up Checklists

* See Chapter 8 - Attachments files:

 19. Program Start-up Checklist (pdf)

 20. Administrative and Financial Systems Checklist (pdf)

 21. Getting Members Started Checklist (pdf)