CivicSpark is not currently accepting new Partner Applications
We will begin accepting applications for the 20-21 Service Year in early 2020

Interested in learning more? We held a series of webinars over the last few weeks and you can listen to a recording or download slides

Local Government or NGOs focused webinar recording and slides
State Agencies focused webinar recording and slides

Interested in what’s involved with an application? Download a sample application.

How CivicSpark Works

CivicSpark supports resiliency-focused research, planning, and implementation projects that benefit local public agencies in California. CivicSpark provides public agencies and other organizations with 11 months of quality capacity building support via highly motivated emerging leaders.

All CivicSpark Fellows are AmeriCorps Members selected through a highly competitive national application process. Fellows have at minimum a college degree in a relevant field, and typically have workplace and/or community service experience. CivicSpark Fellows are placed with partner organizations across the state (ideally in teams of two or more for Fellow experience and impact). Regional Coordinators locally and program staff in Sacramento support both Fellows and host Site Supervisors. Regional Coordinators provide partners with project-level engagement and coordinate Fellow professional development activities. CivicSpark program staff at LGC handle administrative duties and provide sector-specific expertise to both Fellows and partners.

Public agencies, State agencies, Native American Tribes, and Non-Profit Organizations can contract directly with LGC to host CivicSpark Fellows as long as the project work

  • Meets a defined “resiliency capacity need.” CivicSpark defines capacity building as providing project support to increase effectiveness, efficiency, or scale/reach; and
  • Is closely connected to a specific local public agency “beneficiary”. Beneficiaries can include counties, cities, towns, special districts, school districts, MPOs, COGs, JPAs, etc. who have a defined capacity need (see eligibility below), will “benefit” from the project’s implementation and can commit to completing a pre- and post-service capacity survey, and to participating in at least one project interview with the Fellow.

Note that the host or project partner does not have to be the “beneficiary.”

All CivicSpark Fellows provide support to public agencies through 4 core activities:

  • Gap Assessments: Fellows interview public agency staff and review key documents to determine current needs relevant to their thematic track, and work with Site Supervisors to finalize their project scope.
  • Service Projects: Fellows conduct a specific research, planning, or implementation project based on the gap assessment results.
  • Volunteer Engagement: Fellows establish new volunteer programs or enhance pre-existing programs relevant to their thematic track.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Fellows sustain progress beyond their service year by training staff and/or sharing results of their projects with key stakeholders.
For more information, see Partnership Details and Eligibility Criteria below or apply today.

Example Project Types

CivicSpark addresses emerging environmental and social equity resilience challenges such as
ENVIRONMENTAL

Climate

Water

SOCIAL EQUITY

Housing

Mobility

Visit Our Projects page to view a list of current and past CivicSpark projects. The Project Concept Repository is a searchable database that contains examples of successful CivicSpark projects and project ideas. Explore this database for ideas and recommendations about the type of work Fellows typically complete during the service year, and see some of the results of past Fellows’ projects.

Learn more about our projects and impacts

2019-20 Service Year Calendar

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2019

February 11

Project Application Opens.

March 15

First priority deadline to submit project applications.

May 3

Second priority deadline to submit project applications.

June - July

Rolling application and Service Agreement period.

August 23

Deadline to complete Service Agreements and Capacity Assessments.

August 25

The service year begins with an orientation for the 2019-20 CivicSpark Fellow cohort.

September 3

  • Local project work begins!
  • Fellows begin work on Gap Assessments.
2020

Mid February

In-person Mid Year Gathering for all 2019-20 Fellows.

Mid August

Projects wrap-up and the CivicSpark 2019 cohort graduates.
Partnership Details

CivicSpark is a federally-funded AmeriCorps program that uses national service to build local agency capacity to address emerging environmental and/or socio-economic issues. We must follow strict requirements on what partners we can work with and how we define our service to local public agencies.

  • CivicSpark Fellows can be placed with public agencies, NGOs, or state agencies (i.e. have a Fellow placed under the direct supervision of). CivicSpark Fellows cannot serve directly with a for-profit organization (however for-profit organizations can sponsor Fellows on a case-by-case basis).
  • CivicSpark Fellows must serve eligible local public agency “beneficiaries” i.e, regardless of the project partner, the project scope must have a clearly defined connection to an eligible local public agency, or agencies). See eligibility criteria below.
  • Project beneficiaries – the target recipient of service – can be local, county, or regional public agencies (e.g., cities, towns, special districts, school districts, MPOs, COGs, etc.) or Federally Recognized Tribes. State agencies, NGOs, and for-profit entities cannot serve as beneficiaries, however, a state agency or NGO can serve as a project partner and/or Fellow host site; just not the target – or “beneficiary” – of the service.
  • Fellows must have a defined scope of work that aligns with our program mission, and that can be completed within the term of service.
  • Partners must agree to follow all AmeriCorps requirements and prevent Fellows from participating in prohibited activities.
  • Partners must ensure that target public agency “beneficiaries” provide required eligibility information and complete a pre- and post-service Capacity Assessment survey.
  • Partners must describe how the proposed project activities will build new capacity for the project beneficiaries.
  • Partners will be asked to provide information on geographical region, target audience, project focus, and project outputs.
Fellow Supervision

CivicSpark has a robust support structure in which LGC staff work with project partners to coordinate the Fellowship experience.

  • Site Supervisors provide direct project supervision for Fellows, with support from LGC program staff and Regional Coordinators. Site Supervisors provide overall Fellow supervision as well as some professional development support.
  • Regional Coordinators provide program support andmember development training, and act as a local liaison to the partner.
  • LGC program staff provide additional content expertise, support for partners, and training for Fellows.
  • LGC administrative staff provide Fellow and Partner support with reporting requirements and other logistics.
Eligibility

Partners are responsible for securing at least one target local public agency “beneficiary” for each Fellow’s project work. Participating public agency beneficiaries must demonstrate a “capacity need,” measured by meeting at least one of the following criteria:

Significant communitywide burdens as demonstrated by any of the following indicators:

  • CalEnviroScreen >33, or
  • Distressed Community Index >50, or
  • Unemployment above state average, or
  • Regional Opportunity Index (People or Place) below state average; or

Absence of an adopted and up-to-date strategy (plan, element or other) that comprehensively addresses the target resiliency issue with appropriate funding, programs, and policies, to implement the strategy. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Climate Mitigation or Adaptation Plan
  • Integrated Regional Water Management Plan
  • Stormwater Resources Plan
  • Groundwater Sustainability Plan
  • Housing Needs Assessment
  • Regional Transportation Plan; or

A defined resiliency capacity gap
as evidenced by at least 1 significant program, policy, or planning goal for a specific resiliency issue that has not been met, or cannot be met, without resource or system development assistance. Capacity gap should have defined targets such as:

  • Success rates
  • Quality of outcomes
  • Resource deployment
  • Services provided
  • People reached
Fiscal Contribution
Overview

CivicSpark is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and in part by match-funding from our project partners. Participation in this program requires a fiscal contribution based on the amount and type of support provided by the CivicSpark program.

CivicSpark rates for project work are:

  • All-inclusive (covers workers compensation, liability insurance, workplace costs, Fellow personnel benefits, job travel support, etc.);
  • Covers both the CivicSpark Fellow and LGC staff support; and
  • Based solely on costs for project work hours, not training time spent by the Fellow. (For additional information, please visit our FAQ page).
2019-20 Pricing
Cost Project Support Provided per Fellow Additional Benefits per Fellow
$51,000 / 2 Fellows
$26,000 / 1 Fellow
11 Months and
1,300+ project hours
80 additional project-prep hours
100 volunteer engagement hours

*This represents the general pricing structure and the floor for pricing, but some variations may exist depending on terms and conditions of specific placements.

Application Process

Apply now!

Step 1: Submit Online Project Application

Prepare and Submit your application by the First Priority Deadline (March 15) to ensure the highest likelihood that your project will be accepted.

Project applications submitted by the Second Priority Deadline (May 3) may still receive support.

Depending on First Priority Deadline interest, we may not have as many options for accepting a proposed project. .

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the May 3 Second Priority deadline, but will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.

A complete application includes the following:

  • Contact information for both project lead and contracting lead;
  • Concise project summary (including basic scope, desired capacity building outcomes, anticipated deliverables, and preferred Fellow skills);
  • Local public agency beneficiaries (at least 1 per Fellow);
  • Confirmation that you understand and agree to the program requirements.

We encourage you to prepare your application offline as the online submission cannot be saved. You can download a sample application here.

We estimate it should take 30-45 minutes to complete the application form once you have developed your project concept.

Step 2: Application Review & Follow-Up

LGC will review project applications and schedule a call with your project lead contact to:

  • Learn more about your needs;
  • Confirm local public agency eligibility;
  • Ensure there is a clear project scope that is suitable for an AmeriCorps Fellow,
  • Determine if CivicSpark is a good fit for your capacity building needs.

The purpose of this step is to ensure your project will deliver results while also meeting our goals as an AmeriCorps program. LGC will then review and consider your project for approval based on our programmatic priorities.

Step 3: Project Approval & Contracting

Approved projects must complete a Service Agreement (contract). The Service Agreement outlines mutual roles and responsibilities between project partners and LGC, as well as payment terms. Service Agreements should be completed by August 23, 2019, to ensure Fellows can start in Early September.

Step 4: Pre-Service Capacity Assessment

Local public agency beneficiaries must complete a Pre-Service Capacity Assessment survey prior to the start of service. This survey establishes baseline information about the agency’s capacity needs and goals. This information is used by Fellows to complete their Gap Assessments and to evaluate success after project completion. Capacity Assessments should be completed by August 23, 2019, to ensure Fellows have this key resource when they start in Early September.

Apply Now!

Any questions?

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