Could VISTA Help Your VDSS Program?

Is your program in need of some capacity building support? Could VDSS-VISTA be a solution?

The VDSS Office on Volunteerism and Community Services (OVCS) follows the Virginia Department of Social Services mission to design and deliver high-quality human services that help Virginians achieve safety, independence and overall well-being.  OVCS serves as the intermediary to support VISTA projects within VDSS, which aligns with the Economic Opportunity Focus area to leverage resources and build economic opportunities for the community.

VISTA members contribute to the goals of a project by performing activities such as developing a Comprehensive Needs Assessment focused on solutions to alleviate poverty; developing a Fund Development Plan/Marketing Plan to ensure program sustainability; creating a volunteer recruitment and management system; and assisting in program development and program management over the course of the VISTA Service Year. This year, VDSS has VISTAs specifically working on projects related to opioid prevention and Earned Income Tax Credit program.

Want to learn more? A VISTA information webinar has been scheduled for Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm for programs that will begin in late 2021. Please contact OVCS director, Kathy Spangler ( for a personal invitation to attend or learn more about VDSS-VISTA.


Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is an anti-poverty program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA provides opportunities for Americans 18 years or older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with an organization (“sponsor”) to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty.

  • The power of AmeriCorps VISTA is extraordinary, and brings talented, passionate people on board to create or enhance anti-poverty programs by expanding the capacity of the organization.
  • Project sponsors must be able to direct the project, supervise the AmeriCorps VISTA members, and provide necessary administrative support to complete the goals and objectives of the project.  The goals and objectives must be clearly defined and directed towards alleviating problems of low-income communities and meet the regulations of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
  • One consistent goal for every AmeriCorps VISTA project must be the sustainability of the project by the sponsoring agency and low-income community after AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsorship ends.
  • Commitment to pay a modest cost-share amount to support VISTA training and administration.