VISTA Host Site Application Process

All AmeriCorps VISTAs have designated start dates set by the agency. MCVP recruits for two VISTA start dates every year, one in January and one in July. We organize VISTAs into cohorts whenever possible and coordinate them to enter the program with a group of peers at the same time. 

Organizations interested in hosting a VISTA must complete the application process before MCVP starts the recruitment season for the next cohort. The next open call for VISTA projects will launch in August 2024, however you can learn about the VISTA application process and start working on your materials at any time. Please email Lee Lounder at or call her at (406) 417-0934 to request an application to become a VISTA Host Site. 

It is critical for the low income community to be involved in both the planning and execution of the VISTA project.

The VISTA project proposal must ensure the project addresses a community need that relates to a MCVP focus area rather than an organizational need.

The VISTA project proposal must have a plan for sustainability: the project should carry on after the VISTA completes their term.

The VISTA project proposal should outline capacity building and indirect service by the VISTA: instead of tutoring youth, for example, VISTAs may help create or expand a tutoring program by recruiting volunteers to tutor by obtaining funding for the program.

1. Does the project address a community need?
2. What are the long term goals of the project?
3. How will you include the local community, specifically low income individuals, in project planning and implementation?
4. How will a VISTA support these efforts?
5. How will the project move individuals and communities out of poverty?
6. How will we measure the project’s impact?
7. With what other community groups or organizations will you collaborate?
8. Who will supervise the VISTA and are they willing to meet with the VISTA at least once a week to review the work plan, progress, and to provide guidance.

Keep in mind that MCVP accepts site applications on a rolling basis, but we only place VISTAs on project twice a year (January and July). We begin reviewing applications for January placement in August and for July placement in February.

Community Involvement:

You must engage the low income community members that will be served to help plan the project, comment on the application, and support the VISTA and the overall project.


Who in your organization will supervise the VISTA? How much time will the supervisor have to supervise a VISTA (supervisors at a minimum should meet with their VISTA at least one hour per week)? The supervisor serves as a manager and a mentor for VISTAs.

Site Location:

Where will the VISTA serve? Does your organization have the space and equipment to support additional persons? 

MCVP operates on a cost-share model. Host sites who successfully recruit and place a VISTA member pay a fee, or cost-share, for their VISTA member's service year. This payment covers the support and training costs for a VISTA member. The payment is remitted to DPHHS - MCVP. 

Cost Share Chart

VISTA Project Cost-Share Model
Year of Project Training Cost Support Cost Total
1 $1,500 $5,500 $7,000
2 $1,500 $7,500 $9,000
3 $1,500 $9,500 $11,000
4 $1,500 $20,600 $22,100


Cost-shares increase gradually year-over-year, because VISTAs are meant to build capacity at an organization and not become a permanent resource. That does not mean a host site can only have three years of VISTA service, ever. VISTAs build capacity in specific ways at organizations. If, for example, you recruit a VISTA to research, develop, and implement a brand new program at your organization (which requires two or three years of successive VISTAs) and then you have a need for a VISTA come in on a brand new project to build the capacity of your volunteer recruitment and training regimen, those are considered two separate VISTA projects. 


In addition to the cost-share, you are responsible for outfitting a VISTA member with all of the equipment necessary for them to perform their service. For example, as a host site you need to be able to provide a laptop/desktop computer for them to use, office space, basic office equipment, etc.

If you have questions about how to plan your VISTA project, please contact us!

If a VISTA is matched with your project, the site supervisor is expected to participate in required MCVP training events to include phone check ins, site visits and email correspondence.

  1. Submit a letter of support from your agency’s board of directors indicating they understand the role of the VISTA member and support the proposed project.
  2. MCVP recruiting is a partnership between your workstation and our team. Timely response to referred VISTA candidates is essential. You will need to provide a written statement of assurance that your site will contact a referred candidate within 48 hours of referral.
  3. If a VISTA is matched with your project, would the sponsoring organization, another organization or individual be able to help the VISTA with free or reduced cost housing during their year of service? If so, you will need to describe the financial arrangement.
  4. You will need to indicate whether or not the sponsoring organization has conducted the accessibility self evaluation required by 45 CFR 1232.7 C (Americans with Disabilities Act).
You will need to submit information regarding:
  • Agency information
  • Programmatic information
  • Community need
  • Volunteer support (in regards to the VISTA)
  • VISTA Member Assignment Description (VAD) - capacity building activities the VISTA will engage in during the service term.
  • VISTA site specific Position Description: include knowledge, skills and
  • abilities; attributes; VISTA duties; and physical demands including a statement of reasonable accommodation.
  • On Site Orientation & Training: include the steps you plan to take to acquaint the VISTA to the organization, community and project during the first 2 weeks the member is placed with your organization.

VISTA Assignment Description (VAD): the VAD is a roadmap of your VISTA member’s work for the year.

The VAD:

  • Defines project goal(s) and end outcome of the project.
  • Determines the steps the VISTA will take to reach project goals.
  • Includes reasonable timelines as well as quantifiable outcomes and outputs.
  • Performance Measures: performance measurement are the ongoing, systematic process of tracking the VISTA project’s outputs and outcomes. They are required by our Federal Partners, AmeriCorps. Performance measurement satisfies the need of funders and stakeholders (including AmeriCorps participants, board members, community members, staff & clients) to see that the project is getting results. You must select which performance measures you and the VISTA will track during the service term and identify a realistic goal for each performance measure. Performance measure goals need to be included in the VAD.

The VISTA will report performance measure and VAD progress to MCVP in the Quarterly Report.

MCVP will track and report performance measure progress to AmeriCorps.

If our program and AmeriCorps approves your project and a VISTA is placed, a Memorandum of Understanding is signed between your site and MCVP.

The MOU discusses the federal law, regulations, and policies applicable to VISTA and outlines the specific legal obligations of each party.

The MOU must be signed and returned to MCVP within the first two weeks of the VISTAs first day of service.

To learn more about applying to host a VISTA or to apply, contact:

Emily "Lee" Lounder
VISTA Program Specialist
(406) 417-0934

Montana Community VISTA Partnership
PO Box 202956
Helena, MT  59620