Commissioner Handbook

12.1

NATIONAL SERVICE TERMS AND ACRONYMS
Glossary of Terms for National Service and the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission

American Association of State Service Commissions (ASC) – Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing and promoting state service commissions across the United States. Nebraska is a member of ASC. Membership dues are 1% of Nebraska annual Administrative funds, or about $1,693 for 2004. America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth – The organization led by General Colin Powell to carry out the goals of the President’s Summit for America’s Future, convened by President Clinton and Former President Bush in April 1997. AmeriCorps – An umbrella term that refers to programs that are designated by the Corporation as national service programs and the participants in them. AmeriCorps includes AmeriCorps*State/National, AmeriCorps*VISTA, and AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) – A residential AmeriCorps program in which 18-24-year-old-members are housed and trained together on military bases and deployed in teams to service sties throughout the surrounding region. Nebraska is served by the Denver Campus. AmeriCorps*State and National – Used only when referring to grants or funding. AmeriCorps*State grants are distributed through the state commissions; AmeriCorps*National grants are distributed to organizations directly from the national office of the Corporation for National Service. AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – Full-time, national service program for men and women ages 18 and older interested in developing lasting solutions to the problems of poverty in America. AmeriCorps*VISTA members serve nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations and agencies to develop permanent infrastructure that aids and expands services, strengthens programs, and empowers low income individuals. AmeriCorps*VISTA is under the AmeriCorps umbrella and is administered out of the Corporation’s State Offices. Audit – To examine with intent to verify, usually regarding financial accounts. The Commission is subject to audit both by the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office and by the Corporation for National and Community Service Office of the Inspector General. Campus Compact – A national organization of college and university presidents with numerous state affiliates committed to advancing service on their campuses. Citizen – A person who owes allegiance to and is entitled t the enjoyment of full rights in the United State, either by birth or naturalization.
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Citizen Corps – a vital component of USA Freedom Corps, Citizen Corps was created to help coordinate volunteer activities that will make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. It provides opportunities for people to participate in a range of measures to make their families, their homes, and their communities safer from the threats of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds. The Commission is a member of Nebraska’s Statewide Citizen Corps council, and has funding from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to oversee Citizen Corps grants in the state. Community-based Organization (CBO) – Any private non-profit organization (including a church or other religious entity) that is representative of a community or a significant segment of a community; and is engaged in meeting, human, environmental, or public safety community needs. (Tele)Conference Call – A telephone call involving more than two people in which the participants are often in different locations. Consortia – A group of organizations whose purpose is to collectively facilitate and support the work of a service program in ways that add material and human resources beyond those available to each organization individually. Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – The independent federal agency that encompasses the work and staff of two previously existing agencies, the Commission on National and Community Service and ACTION. The Corporation was created by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 – The Domestic Volunteer Service Act authorizes AmeriCorps*VISTA, the Foster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program, and the RSVP program. The legislation was last amended in 1993 as part of the creation of the Corporation for Nation Service. Education Award – A post-service benefit of $4,725 (full time) or a pro-rated amount (part time) earned by all AmeriCorps successfully completing a term of service. The award is paid directly to a lending or educational institution and may be used to pay off education loans or to finance college, graduate school, or approved vocational training. Evaluation – A formal external assessment of program effectiveness and outcomes at the end of a given period of time. Evaluation is primarily the responsibility of the Corporation and is conducted by the Corporation with the cooperation of state commissions and programs. Faith-Based – There is no clear definition at the point, though faith-based organizations are generally believed to be religious organizations. The debate continues on whether to include “non-traditional” groups of faith such as the Hare Krishnas and the Church of Scientology. First Lady’s Awards for Outstanding Community Service – Annual awards, administered by the Commission, in which the First Lady of Nebraska recognizes outstanding volunteers in several categories. The awards are presented at the culminating event at the Governor’s Conference on Community Service, at the First Lady’s Awards Luncheon.

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Fiscal Year – A period of 12 months during which a particular budget is to be spent and accounted for. The Commission is accountable for several fiscal years in its work. The “government” year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30, which represents the allocation of funding from the federal government. Another commonly used period is July 1 to June 30, which is the Nebraska state government fiscal year. The Commission’s period of performance fiscal year for Administrative, PDAT and Disability Funds is January 1 through December 31, and Nebraska’s AmeriCorps program years are typically August or September 1, through the following twelve months. Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) – One of the three National Senior Service Corps programs. Foster Grandparents devote their service to children with special or exceptional needs. Formula Funding – The population-based annual allotment given to each state against which the state commissions solicits proposals for AmeriCorps funding. FTE (full-time equivalent) – In AmeriCorps, a full time member is an individual who is expected to serve a minimum of 1,700 hours over a 9-12 month period. Goal Five – The Summit goal calling for all young people to have an opportunity to give back to their communities through their own service. The Corporation for National and Community Service is the lead organization in meeting this goal. (See Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future.) Governor’s Conference on Community Service – The signature event of the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission. Arranged by a standing committee of the Commission, this event hosts about 200-300 people from across the state to learn about the latest trends and tools in volunteering and to network with others in the field of volunteerism Governor’s Points of Light Award -- A quarterly award, administered on behalf of the Governor by the Commission, which recognizes outstanding service by a youth, an adult, and a group. The Governor presents the awards to the winners at his proclamation signing ceremony. In-kind – Contributions and donations made in services and projects, not cash. Learn and Serve America – Service-learning programs that are designed to enrich academic learning and promote growth in participants while meeting community needs. There are two categories of Learn and Serve America programs: K-12 and Higher Education. Learn and Serve America: K-12 has two main components: school-based, which includes formula allotment grants to State Education Agencies, and community based, which are distributed on a competitive basis to state commissions, grant making entities, and other qualified organizations. (See service learning.) Living Allowance – AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance during their term of service. This is a benefit in addition to the education award available to members who successfully complete their term of service (See stipend.)

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Matching Funds – State commissions themselves, as well as the programs they fund, are required to meet certain specified match requirements as a condition for receipt of federal funding. For every dollar of federal funds, there is a designated percentage of cash or in-kind funds that the state commission or other organizations must provide (this is the “match’) The Nebraska Commission must match dollar-for-dollar the Administrative Funds it receives. For 2004, this amount is $169,321. Members – Participants in AmeriCorps (including AmeriCorps*NCCC, AmeriCorps*VISTA, and AmeriCorps*State and National programs) are referred to as members – not volunteers. Mission Statement – A mission statement expresses the program’s vision with regard to national service and indicates the ultimate impacts to be achieved. A program’s annual objectives are derived from the program’s mission statement. National – Applies to a person residing away from the nation of which he or she is a citizen, or to a person under the protection of a specified nation. National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 – The National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service. The act authorizes appropriations for AmeriCorps*State and National, AmeriCorps*NCCC, Learn and Serve America, the National Service Trust, and the Points of Light Foundation. The 1993 legislation amended the National and Community Service Act of 1990. National Competitive Funding – An annual pool of funds against which state commissions may compete to fund additional AmeriCorps programs in their states. National Days of Service -- days of celebration of service and volunteerism. The Commission promotes national days of service to fulfill its broader mission of promoting volunteerism in the state. National days of service are: Martin Luther King Day, National Youth Service Day, National Volunteer Week, Join Hands Day, Make a Difference Day, and National Family Volunteer Day. National Directs (AmeriCorps*National) – AmeriCorps programs funded directly by the Corporation through multi-state non-profit organizations. National Senior Service Corps (NSSC) – The umbrella term that encompasses the three senior service programs. Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). National Service – Results-oriented service by an individual or group of individuals that helps meet the nation’s needs in the areas of education, public safety, the environment, homeland security, and other human needs. National Service-Learning Leader School Program – Recognizes middle schools and high schools that have effectively incorporate service learning into their curriculum. The selected schools are referred to as National Service-Learning Leader Schools.

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National Service Leadership Institute (NSLI) – Formerly known as the Presidio Leadership Center, the NSLI provides leadership development and training experience for national service staff and programs. NCCC – See AmeriCorps*NCCC NGO – Non-governmental organization Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) – A legal notification, published in the Federal Register, describing the availability of funds for a new federal program. Participant – The generic term used to describe any individual enrolled in a program funded by the Corporation, as opposed to the more specific term “member,” which refers to individuals enrolled in an AmeriCorps program. Partnership – Two or more entities that have entered into a written agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) specifying the goals and activities of the relationship as well as the responsibilities, goals, and activities of each partner. Points of Light Foundation (POLF) – Established in 1990, POLF is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to engage more people more effectively in volunteer community service that helps solve serious social problems. The foundation, funded in part by appropriations made under the authority of the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, works with a national network of volunteer center, corporate employee volunteer programs, non-profits, youth and family organization, and the media. President’s Volunteer Service Awards -- The President’s Volunteer Service Award was created to recognize the tens of millions of Americans who have made a sustained commitment to volunteer service. The Award is given to individuals, families and groups that have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service and civic participation over the course of a 12-month period. Award recipients receive: • An official President’s Volunteer Service Award pin • A personalized certificate of achievement • A note of congratulations from the President of the United States • A letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future – This historic gathering in Philadelphia in April 1997 at which former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter, and Ford, and Secretary of State Colin Powell called for all Americans to find ways to ensure that all children have access to the fundamental resources they need: caring adults in their lives, as parents, mentors, tutors, and coaches; safe places with structured activities in which to learn and grow; a healthy start and healthy future; an effective education that equips them with marketable skills; and an opportunity to give back through their communities through their own service.

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Program – A coordinated group of activities linked by common elements such as recruitment, selection, and training of participants, and staff, regular group activities, and assignment to projects organized for the purpose of achieving the mission and goals of national service, and carried out with the assistance provided under the Act. Program Development Assistance and Training (PDAT) – Funds provided to state commissions to enable them to provide training and technical assistance support to their own and other national service programs. Program Sponsor – An entity responsible for recruiting, selecting and training members, providing them benefits and support services, engaging them in regular group activities and placing them in projects. Project – An activity, or set of activities, carried out though a program that receives assistance under the Act, that results in a specific identifiable service or improvement that otherwise would not be done with existing funds, and that does not duplicate the routine services or functions of the employer to whom participants are assigned. Project Sponsor – An organization, or other entity, that has been selected to provide a placement for a participant or participants. PSA – Public Service Announcement Request for Proposals (RFP) – A term that some states or organizations use to describe the document in which they solicit proposals from other organizations. Others may call such as document a grant application or bid. State commissions will use RFP’s for AmeriCorps programs from non-profit organizations, local governments, higher education institutions, Indian Tribes, and state agencies. Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) - One of the three National Senior Service Corps programs that was created 1972. SEA – State Education Agency. (See Learn and Serve America.) Senior Companion Program (SCP) - One of three National Senior Service Corps programs. Senior Companions help other seniors live independently in their own homes and receive a stipend. Service-Learning – A method by which students improve academic learning and develop personal skills through structured service projects that meet community needs. Service-learning builds upon students’ service activities by providing them with opportunities to learn by preparing, leading, and reflecting upon their service experiences. (See Learn and Serve America.) Signature Service – A project undertaken by a large group of participants often from many different programs and usually in conjunction with a special day to highlight service programs and their participants, such as Martin Luther King Day or National Youth Service Day.

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State Commission – A 15-25 member, independent, bipartisan body appointed by a Governor to implement service programs. Duties of a State Commission include development of a comprehensive Unified State Plan for service and volunteering in the state; submission of the state’s application to the Corporation for AmeriCorps and community-based Learn and Serve funding; administration of the competition for AmeriCorps*State programs; oversight and monitoring of funded AmeriCorps and community-based Learn and Serve programs, and reporting accomplishments to the Corporation. Stipend – A cash benefit that is an alternative to the education award – an option only for AmeriCorps*VISTA members. The term is not synonymous with living allowance. (See living allowance.) Streams of Service – A term used to refer to the many types of service programs, for example, the “K-12 service stream,” or the “full time service stream.” Student Ownership – The notion that students can make important contributions to their schools and communities. Technical Assistance to State Commissions (TASC) – The TASC project is funded by the Corporation to assist state commissions achieve their goals through providing or arranging for needed technical assistance for them. Unified State Plan (USP) – A three-year plan developed by each state commission in partnership with the Corporation State Office, the State Education Agency, and other appropriate organizations in the state. The Unified State Plan should describe the broad vision for promoting national service and volunteering and for building a solid infrastructure of high quality programs and support services in the state. USA Freedom Corps -- During his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush called upon every American to get involved in strengthening America's communities and sharing America's compassion around the world. He called on each of us to dedicate at least two years over the course of our lives to the service of others. He included all Americans because everyone can do something, and he created the USA Freedom Corps to help all Americans to answer his call. AmeriCorps is a vital component of the USA Freedom Corps, along with Citizen Corps and the Peace Corps. VISTA – See AmeriCorps*VISTA. Youth/Adult Partnerships – Efforts that involve young people and adults working together, sharing power, and learning from each other to build stronger communities. Youth as Decision-Makers – Refers to a variety of efforts to engage young people in any level of decision-making, which can be related to an issue, a project, a program, or an organization. Youth as Resource – The result of young people who provide service. They are seen as valued partners and contributors – “resources” – to their communities. Youth Civic Engagement – The process of engaging youth in affecting policy and taking action on issues in their communities.
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Youth Service – The involvement of young people in providing services to their schools and/or communities. This term should not be confused with “youth services, “ which typically refers to programs where youth are the recipients of service. Youth Voice – The ideas, opinions, involvement, and initiatives of people considered “young” (ages 2 – 25). These voices often go unheard or involvement of this group has often been marginal.

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