The OPEN-MSU program has been designed to be mutually beneficial to host sites and their communities and VISTA members. It is a cost-effective means of building capacity for host sites while also allowing VISTA members to develop project management and leadership skills.

Benefits to Host Sites

  • A full-time member, 37-40 hours per week for one year, who receives monthly professional development training.
  • An OPEN-MSU program manager who will work closely with host sites to provide meaningful and timely support.
  • Professional development in project management and leadership.
  • Assistance with recruiting and onboarding of volunteer members, grant reporting, oversight, and management.
  • Access to MSU’s knowledge resources across multiple disciplines, including the Department of Epidemiology, the College of Human Medicine’s Division of Public Health, the College of Nursing, the Institute for Health Studies, and the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.
  • Applying for a VISTA member through OPEN-MSU allows organizations to request one volunteer per year, whereas applying directly to CNCS requires a minimum of 5 members per year.
  • An estimated value of $25,000 for a $5,000 investment from host sites.

Benefits to VISTA Members

  • Living allowance of $15,000 (distributed biweekly).
  • End of service award (Cash stipend of $1,800 or education award of $6,495).
  • Non-Competitive Eligibility (a unique hiring path which makes it easier for federal agencies to hire the volunteer).
  • Loan forbearance for qualified student loans.
  • Professional development and training.
  • Health care benefits.
  • Childcare assistance (if eligible).
  • Relocation assistance (if eligible).

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), through which members serve with nonprofit, faith-based, and public agencies for one full year on projects designed to lessen and alleviate poverty.