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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

2018 Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards

Nominate an outstanding AmeriCorps program, member, or alumnus for high-quality and impactful service.

Corporation for National and Community Service

Type of Challenge: Nominations
Submission Start: 04/10/2018 12:00 AM ET
Submission End: 06/13/2018 11:00 PM ET

Description

To honor inspiring and impactful national service across the country, the Corporation for National and Community Service is soliciting nominations for the 2018 Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards. The Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards will be presented on September 13 at the 2018 AmeriCorps State and National Symposium in Arlington, VA. AmeriCorps program staff, state commissions, AmeriCorps members, and alumni are invited to submit nominations. Award Categories:
  1. Best New Program (launched since September 1, 2016);
  2. Most Significant Innovation;
  3. Engaging More People with Disabilities;
  4. Most Impactful Member Service; or
  5. Most Compelling Member Experience.
Click on the Rules link on the left side of the page for full category descriptions. Eligibility: AmeriCorps programs and members in AmeriCorps State, National, VISTA, or NCCC are eligible to be nominated for the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards. Click on the ‘Rules’ link on the left side of the page for more details on submitting a nomination. Purpose of the Awards: The Corporation’s goal for these awards is to recognize outstanding and innovative programs and high quality and meaningful AmeriCorps service experiences (for current members and alumni). We hope that these awards will encourage the development and expansion of best practices in national service programming, improve project development, and increase the value of the AmeriCorps member experience to help tackle the country’s most pressing human and environmental needs through service.  With emphases on engaging individuals with disabilities in service, program innovation and enhancements, and compelling AmeriCorps member experiences, the awards reflect the depth of impact of the national service field on the communities served and the individuals serving. These awards will allow the Corporation for National and Community Service to share excellent program strategies and models with the national service field and the general public so that individuals, nonprofits, government agencies, schools, and more will be aware of the excellent and diverse range of national service programs across the country. To submit a nomination, click on the Rules link on the left side of the page for instructions, frequently asked questions, and more.

Rules

Award Categories and Considerations — Select from only one of the following for each nomination:
  1. Best New Program
    • This category is for an entirely new program in which AmeriCorps members were not previously engaged in service under this organization.
    • The nomination should explain how the addition of member interventions/activities are addressing a critical need in the community.
    • The program must have launched on or after September 1, 2016.
    • Nominees in this category must be programs (not individual members or alumni).
  2. Most Significant Innovation
    • This category is for current AmeriCorps programs in which members are already serving.
    • The focus of the nominations in this category should be on a program or service innovation that allowed the organization to expand the number/type of community services or the impact of the service provided.
    • It may be appropriate to describe the people (national service members, staff, and volunteers) involved in this effort, but please focus the nomination on the service delivery innovation itself. Where appropriate, please provide data to demonstrate the innovative approach and results.
    • Nominees in this category must be programs (not individual members or alumni).
  3. Engaging More People with Disabilities
    • Nominees in this category should have served more people with disabilities or provided service that engaged more people with disabilities in national or volunteer service.
    • This category will recognize a member, alumnus, or program that significantly contributed to increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in national service (as AmeriCorps members, volunteers, or partners).
    • This award will be presented in honor of retired Senator Tom Harkin, a long-time champion of national and community service.
    • Nominees in this category may be either programs or individuals (currently serving members or alumni).
  4. Most Impactful Member Service
    • This category will recognize an AmeriCorps member or alumnus who has made a significant impact in their community through AmeriCorps Service.
    • This individual should have built an ethic of civic responsibility, citizenship, and civic engagement in the community served as part of the AmeriCorps service.
    • Nominees in this category must be individuals (currently serving members or alumni).
  5. Most Compelling Member Experience
    • This category will recognize an AmeriCorps member or alumnus who has had a positive change in her/his life as a result of serving in an AmeriCorps program or position.
    • The positive changes may be personal, educational, or career-related; and they must have occurred as a result of the national service experience.
    • Nominees in this category must be individuals (currently serving members or alumni).
Eligibility: Eligible nominees are current service participants and alumni, and current programs funded through AmeriCorps grants (or subgrants) from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Those programs include:
  • AmeriCorps State
  • AmeriCorps National
  • Tribal programs funded by AmeriCorps
  • AmeriCorps VISTA
  • AmeriCorps NCCC
Nominees should select only one award category and one program affiliation per submission. Nomination Content: Submit a narrative of up to 500 words that clearly and concisely describes the nominee’s best program design, enhancement, expansion, or experience and accomplishments as a member for the award category selected. Ideally, the narrative will include evidence of the nominee’s impact in the community or on the program or other local projects, as well as evidence to support the nominee’s work or service as innovative, a best practice and/or a highly compelling and motivating experience. Submissions may also include photos. Photos should support the narrative submission and not replace it. Photos are encouraged as they are often very helpful in telling the complete service story. Please note that photos are not required. By submitting a nomination, each participant automatically confers on CNCS an irrevocable, nonexclusive, and unrestricted license to use the submitted content for purposes consistent with the agency’s national service mission. This includes the right to copy, reproduce, display, or distribute the content of the submission, and to make derivative works based upon the submission or a substantial portion of it without attribution or prior permission. Instructions for Writing the Nomination Narrative:
  1. Each nomination should specify from the eligibility list the program with which it is affiliated. In addition, the narrative should address how the AmeriCorps member or program is addressing one of the award categories. Enter the award category and full name of the nominee in the Title field in the Submit Solution link.
  2. Clearly identify the full name of the nominee, the AmeriCorps program affiliation, and the award category in the first sentence of the nomination narrative.
  3. Provide the full name and email address of the nominator and the nominator’s affiliation with the nominee in the second sentence of the nomination. Note that nominations will not be considered complete or reviewed without the full name and contact information for the nominator.
  4. Select only one program affiliation and only one nomination category for each submission. In the event a program and individual are both eligible to be nominated, submit two separate nominations: one for the new or enhanced program and one for the member, following the award category descriptions.
  5. Describe how the nominee exemplifies excellence in AmeriCorps service or programming. Consider these questions: what made the service excellent? what data can you provide to support the impact the member or program made?
  6. Provide details that vividly illustrate the significance of the nominated member service/program. Details should clearly show how the nominated service goes above and beyond the excellent service that is expected from all AmeriCorps members and programs each year.
  7. Tailor the nomination narrative to the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards instructions.
  8. Carefully proof read and review the nomination for completeness before submitting it in the Challenge Program.
  Format for Submitting a Nomination: Nominations must be submitted as a Solution in the Challenge Program. Limitations: Individuals and programs may submit no more than one nominee in each award category. Individuals may not nominate themselves in the member award categories; self-nominations will not be eligible for review. However, program staff may nominate their own programs for the program categories. Nominators are highly encouraged to focus on the quality of the nomination submitted – and not the quantity of nominations submitted. Instructions for Submitting the Nomination in the Challenge Program:
  1. Log on to www.challenge.gov, and search for 2018 Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards challenge on the homepage.
  2. Open the link to access the award details and instructions for submitting nominations.
  3. If you have not worked with www.challenge.gov in the past, you will need to register on the site, and create an account. Click on the New to Challenge.gov link to register in order to submit nominations for the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards. There is no cost to register or participate in the Challenge Program. Once you complete the registration, you will need to activate the account you create within 24 hours (look for an email to activate the account) in order to submit a nomination.
  4. Once you create your account and log in to system, open the AmeriCorps Awards challenge. You’ll see links on the left side of the page, under the AmeriCorps logo, that include Challenge Details, Discussions, Solutions, Rules, and Submit Solution. Open each of the Challenge Details and Rules links to find all the details on the Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards: the eligibility criteria, the award categories, the nomination narrative instructions, and instructions for writing the nomination. Note that the award nomination form is called a Solution on www.challenge.gov. To submit a nomination, you will Submit a Solution on the website.
  5. To submit a nomination, click the Submit Solution link on the left side of the page.
  6. In the Title field, enter the award category number and title and the full name of the nominee.  Be sure to use the same award category number and titles (and exact language) as listed in the challenge details.
  7. If desired, attach photos in the Image/Logo field. Photos are not required to complete and submit a nomination.
  8. Next, enter nomination narrative in the Description field.
  9. Read and accept the challenge terms and conditions.
  10. Click the Submit Solution link to complete and submit the nomination.
  11. You will receive a confirmation message at the top of the screen when your solution is submitted successfully.
  12. If you have a question, click on the Discussions link on the left side of the page to ask a question about the nomination process, form, etc. The online system will generate an automated message when your Solution is submitted successfully. Be sure to check your email’s spam filter or clutter to confirm that you received the notification.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: –Could you provide the definition of “AmeriCorps programming?” In order for a program to be eligible for a program award, does it have to be funded entirely through AmeriCorps, or is it sufficient that VISTA members serve and contribute to the program? Answer: AmeriCorps programming can mean a program that is entirely focused on and funded by AmeriCorps, or the program can be multi-faceted and include a variety of activities (with only one AmeriCorps component). Based on your description, it sounds like the VISTA member service could apply. The nomination narrative would provide more details on the focused effort of the VISTAs, results, etc. –Is there a word limit on the nominations? Answer: Yes, the nomination narrative limit is 500 words. –How do I submit a nomination? Answer: Log on to www.challenge.gov, and search for 2018 Excellence in AmeriCorps Awards on the homepage. Once you open the AmeriCorps nomination form (it’s called a Solution in www.challenge.gov), you’ll see links on the left-side of the page that include Challenge Details, Discussions, Solutions, Rules, and Submit Solution. Open Challenge Details and Rules to find all the details on the AmeriCorps awards: the eligibility criteria, the award categories, the nomination narrative instructions, and instructions for writing the nomination. The nomination narrative should be entered in the Description field on the Submit Solution link on the left-side of the award page. Enter the number and nomination category title and the full name of the nominee in the Title field on the Submit Solution link. Open the Discussions link to ask a question about the nomination process, form, etc. Complete the nomination narrative and attach photos, if desired (photos are not required), in the Description field of the Submit Solution link. The online system will generate an automated message when your Solution is submitted successfully. Be sure to check your email’s spam filter or clutter to confirm that you received the notification. –I understand that self-nominations are not eligible; however, can a program director nominate her own program for one of the program categories? Answer: A program staff member may nominate her program in one of the program categories, and a program may nominate a member or alumna/us from its own program for one of the member categories.