Linking resources to communities

Often described as "the domestic Peace Corps", AmeriCorps-VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a federal program aimed at reducing poverty in the United States through building the capacity of the public or non-profit entities that share this goal. VISTA members apply for one year terms and are placed at various host-site communities across the country while they are granted a living stipend among other benefits from the federal government. The host-site then receives a full time VISTA member to start work on building the systems of their organization that will live on after the VISTA's one year term.

Downtown Colorado Inc. is a sponsoring organization with the program which gives us a team of AmeriCorps VISTA members placed across the state of Colorado. All of our DCI-VISTA team members are working on objectives that relate to community and economic development, urban planning, and transit, etc. that coincide with poverty reduction and furthermore, many of our VISTA members have interests and are beginning their career in these fields.

Our philosophy and strategy with the AmeriCorps VISTA program is that laying the foundations today of sound community planning will build stronger and more equitable communities tomorrow.

General AmeriCorps VISTA Benefits:

  • Federal Living Stipend
  • Education Award (financial assistance with federal loans)
  • Relocation Allowance 
  • Education loan deferment
  • Non-competitive federal status

Specific DCI-VISTA Program Benefits:

  • Rental Subsidy
  • Quarterly in-person trainings (travel and lodging paid)
  • Free access to DCI's annual conference and a winter conference on Historic Preservation
  • Access to a wide network of experts, professionals, and organizations
  • Amazing opportunity for experience within the field of community development and planning
  • Professional development

Benefits for host-sites:

  • Full time VISTA member placed in your community or non-profit organization for one year
  • Builds capacity and systems
  • VISTA members commonly work on: grant writing, communications, outreach, main street programs, fundraising, research, and more
  • Three year project period with a modest annual program cost-share fee
  • Access to DCI resources and network

General process of becoming a host-site:

  • Confirm host-site & program compatibility (mission, resources, work space, supervisor, etc.)
  • Discuss and write the VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) over the phone, outlining what the VISTA member is to do for their year of service
  • Approve VAD and Opportunity Listing with the State Office
  • Begin the recruitment process


2017 ANnual report

AmeriCorps VISTA members with DCI typically have a background or interest in:

  • Urban Planning
  • Sociology
  • Public Administration
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Business

But anyone with a Bachelor's degree may apply!

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