Recognizing the role of philanthropy as an innovation partner to the public sector, the Schultz Family Foundation is launching the $1 Million National Service Challenge to support national service as a pathway of opportunity for all young people. The Foundation will offer matching grants of $100,000 to $250,000 to AmeriCorps state service commissions who are partnering with philanthropy to improve racial, ethnic, and income representation within AmeriCorps programs, and strengthen support for youth Corps members before, during, and after national service.
All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 30, 2021.
If you have any questions about the Challenge or the application process, please send an e-mail with “National Service Challenge” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use of Funds
What type of initiatives will be funded?
The Challenge will offer a 1:1 matching grant for state service commission-led initiatives that have been designed to meet the following goals:
- Increase the number of young people participating in AmeriCorps who are between the ages of 17 and 25 whose race and income reflect the composition of the communities being served.
- Address challenges in a community considered to have moderate or high levels of vulnerability according to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.
Are there any eligibility requirements?
Yes. To be eligible for the match, initiatives must:
- Be led by a state service commission.
- Engage multiple AmeriCorps sub-grantees across the state.
- Have a letter of commitment and/or grant agreement from the participating funder(s) for an amount equal to or more than the amount they are applying for from the Foundation.
- Include design elements that aim to increase the number and diversity of young people participating in AmeriCorps.
What are some examples of initiatives that may be of interest?
Initiatives that are eligible for the Challenge are those that support expanding national service as a pathway of opportunity for all young people given the opportunities and challenges within a community. Examples include: developing recruiting strategies with a youth orientation; a plus up of the AmeriCorps stipend; setting clear recruitment thresholds that represent the racial and income composition of the communities served; deploying an emergency assistance fund; developing an intentional transition strategy from service to school or career; and layering in opportunities for AmeriCorps members to earn a credential with value in the marketplace as part of the service year.
Are the initiatives required to be deployed during the 2021-2022 AmeriCorps cycle?
Can the funds be used to enhance the capacity of the state service commission?
No, the matching funds must be used to directly impact the programmatic work in the state.
Are there any additional requirements of the state service commission or philanthropic partners?
Yes. Selected match recipients will be invited to participate in a learning collaborative that will meet quarterly to share insights and opportunities as we work together to expand opportunity within AmeriCorps.
Will travel be required as part of the learning collaborative?
During the course of the 2021-22 service year and based on current public health recommendations, the Foundation may bring the members of the learning collaborative together to network and share learnings. If it is determined that travel is required, the Foundation will underwrite those costs in addition to the match.
What kind of funds will be eligible for a match?
Public dollars are not qualified matching funds. State service commissions must have funds designated to the specified initiative from a private philanthropy, community foundation, or individual donor to be eligible for a match.
What level is the match?
This is a 1:1 match. State service commissions must have a letter of commitment and/or grant agreement from the participating philanthropy, community foundation, or individual donor for an amount equal to the amount they are applying for from the Foundation.
What documentation will be required for a match?
Applicants must submit a completed application, letter of intent and/or grant agreement from the philanthropic funder(s), IRS determination letter (if applicable), most recent audited financials, and current leadership team and board list (if applicable). To get more details, download the application and submission instructions at [insert URL].
Will submitted applications be evaluated based on the level of the match required?
No. State service commissions are welcome to apply for a match ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. Applications will be evaluated relative to the quality of the initiatives proposed to increase racial, ethnic, and income representation and support national service as a pathway of opportunity for all young people.
 If the Social Vulnerability Index does not accurately depict the level of vulnerability in your community of service, please share data or resources from another reputable institution that identifies the level of need in your community due to COVID-19.