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Greater South Sound AmeriCorps VISTA

Are you interested in reducing poverty in your community? The Greater Sound Sound VISTA team is seeking motivated host sites and individuals to join the national service movement in partnership with the United Way of Thurston County! VISTA focuses on projects that serve in the areas of education, healthy futures, economic opportunity, and veterans and military families.

United Way of Thurston County also manages a Summer Associates VISTA program. To view our website, click here!


What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members go where the need is greatest: to communities facing poverty, inequity, and unemployment. VISTA members serve in a professional setting building partnerships, writing grants, and organizing volunteers. Above all, VISTA members are catalysts for change, working to advance local solutions

The Greater South Sound VISTA team serves at organizations in Pierce, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Lewis, Jefferson, and/or Clallam County. The Greater South Sound VISTA team is a program of United Way of Thurston County and is supported by a VISTA Leader, who is based out of the United Way of Thurston County office in Olympia. VISTA members participate in monthly team meetings, professional development training, days of service, and more.

Read more here:

Who is eligible to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member?

Individuals must be 18 years or older. There is no upper age limit. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

  • Standard VISTA members must be able to commit to serving full-time for the one year service term
  • Summer Associate VISTA members must be able to commit to serving full-time for the 10-week service term

Current Opportunities - Apply Now!

Leader Opportunities

Must have prior AmeriCorps State/National/NCCC, Peace Corps, or AmeriCorps VISTA experience.

  • 2021-2022 VISTA Leader at United Way of Thurston County (Olympia, WA) - Lead a team of 20 VISTAs to further social change and fight poverty as a VISTA Leader at United Way in Olympia, WA! If you are engaging, team-oriented, and self-motivated, you may be a great Leader candidate. 

Member Opportunities

Service term: April 2021-2022

  • Mobile Food Bank and Home Delivery Coordinator VISTA at Making a Difference Foundation (Tacoma, WA) - Be a part of Making a Difference Foundation's mission to provide basic human needs (food, housing, encouragement, and opportunity) and make a difference in the lives of others. Click here to apply now!
  • United Way Social Media VISTA at United Way of Thurston County (Olympia, WA) - Do you love social media and want to engage our community in fighting for health, education, and financial stability? Join United Way in designing and executing a creative and exciting social media strategy! Click here to apply now!

Contact Sarah McWilliams, Greater South Sound AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager, at 360-943-2773 x123 for more information. 


What are the eligibility requirements to be a host site in the Greater South Sound VISTA program? 

AmeriCorps VISTA operates on a 3-year program cycle. First-year VISTAs establish the programmatic needs and lay a foundation, the second year VISTA carries out the planning and the third year ensures the stability of the program to run independently of VISTA service members. This model allows organizations to make an investment in VISTA program development and the VISTAs ensure that the program can run independently of VISTA member service by recruiting volunteers or creating standard operating procedures to ensure long-term sustainability. 

Does your organization have a project with the ultimate goal of eliminating poverty in our community that you currently lack the staffing or funding to implement? Do you work in one of VISTA's key focus areas of veterans and military families, economic opportunity, healthy futures, or education?

If you are a non-profit, an educational institution/educational service district or a local, state or tribal government in Thurston, Pierce, Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, or Clallam County you may be eligible to host a VISTA with the Greater South Sound VISTA team!


Apply to be a VISTA Host Site

Applications to be a host site for 2021-2022 VISTA members are now OPEN! 

Priority Deadline for returning Host Sites: December 31, 2020

Regular Deadline for new Host Sites: January 31, 2021

Host Sites Announced: Spring 2021

2021-2022 Year of Service: August 2021 – August 2022


Application Instructions

  • Go to e-C Impact:
  • Log in to your existing agency account, or create a new account if you have not used e-C Impact before. If you are creating a new account, you will be automatically taken to a form to register as an agency. You will only need to register once.
  • Once you are logged in, click United Way Funding Opportunities on the left hand navigation column under Apply/Report.
  • Select Greater South Sound VISTA and click continue.
  • Submit the Qualification Form and wait for approval.
  • Once you have been approved, a link to the Host Site Application will appear on the left hand navigation column under Apply/Report.
  • Submit the Host Site Application form.  

Open Hours – December 11 from 3 PM-5 PM

If you have any questions about the application, please consider stopping by the Open Hours on Zoom.

Applications to be on the host site waitlist for spring 2021-2022 terms are also still being accepted. For more information on how to become a host site, contact the Greater South Sound VISTA Program Manager, Sarah McWilliams at 360-943-2773 x123.


Benefits of Service

  • Bi-weekly living allowance of $513.94-$613.48 (pre-tax)
  • End-of-Service Award: choice of $6,195 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or approximately $1,800 cash stipend ($1,311 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or $276-345 cash stipend for Summer Associate VISTAs)
  • Healthcare for Standard VISTAs
  • Childcare assistance if eligible for Standard VISTAs
  • Loan forbearance and interest accrual payment or deferment on qualified student loans for Standard VISTAs
  • Service-Related Transportation
  • Relocation Assistance for Standard VISTAs
  • Comprehensive leave benefit for Standard VISTAs (*for 2020 only, Summer Associate VISTAs will also receive a leave benefit)
  • High-quality training, orientation, and professional development
  • Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) status for one year upon completion of service for Standard VISTAs
  • Unique team experience as part of United Way and AmeriCorps networks

Current AmeriCorps VISTA Projects

Connect with us! 

 @GreaterSouthSoundVISTATeam (Alumni, check out our alumni group!)



Impact of our AmeriCorps VISTA Team

The Greater South Sound VISTA grant year starts and ends in late May. However, Greater South Sound VISTA members typically start and end their term of service in the second quarter with the August cohort or in the third quarter with the November cohort. Collectively, VISTAs leverage a significant amount of resources during their term of service. 

This infographic describes the $2.2 million impact our VISTAs made in the 2019-2020 grant year. That is approximately $186,000 per month!



















Stories of Service

"It has given me the profesional confidence boost I needed"

Sunny Cada, Food Drive & Volunteer Outreach Coordinator at Nourish Pierce County

Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be working with website and program development like I am doing right now - completely revamping the food drive portion of our website, incorporating a new food drive tracking system, and fundraising platform to ensure sustainability in the food drive program. It is super exciting and I have really surprised myself. It has given me the professional confidence boost I needed and I just hope that I can continue to build on these new skills.




"Being a part of planning and overseeing this event was a fantastic learning experience."

Audrey Widner, Resource Development Coordinator VISTA at Washington Trafficking Prevention

This past month in our VISTA service we helped Washington Trafficking Prevention put on its second annual fundraiser and organizational relaunch event. Before this fundraiser, I had never planned an event anywhere near this size and level of impact. Throughout the planning of this event I worked on everything from designing flyers and social media graphics, drafting and sending out email campaigns to supporters, booking a venue, filming and editing a promotional video, and securing in-kind donations from local community partners. My fellow VISTA Isiah played a critical role in this event as well by finding and on-boarding volunteers to help run the event. Thanks to our entire team, the night ended up being a huge success. In addition to the money we raised, and perhaps equally important, was the way we were able to bring our supporters together for a night of raising awareness and compelling care for such an important cause. Overall being a part of planning and overseeing this event was a fantastic learning experience for both Isiah and myself. (Also pictured: Isiah Cocroft, Youth Engagement Coordinator VISTA at Washington Trafficking Prevention) 


    What can an AmeriCorps VISTA project do?

    AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in both urban and rural regions, creating and expanding programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Each VISTA member makes a commitment to serve full-time at a specific nonprofit, public agency, or tribal government. VISTAs do not provide direct services, such as building homes or tutoring children. Rather, they focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations that serve low-income communities. VISTA service is comprised of four core principles:

    • Capacity Building
    • Poverty Alleviation
    • Sustainability
    • Community Empowerment

    Our members represent a diverse array of experiences from veterans, to parents, to recent graduates, to local community members, to members from all over the country! We are excited to grow the number of counties we serve.


    For all VISTA questions, please contact Sarah McWilliams, Greater South Sound AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager, at 360-943-2773 ext 123.