While each project is defined by partners to address their needs, all CivicSpark support includes four components: (1) an initial gap assessment to determine specific project needs and finalize the project scope; (2) a service project (research, planning, or implementation projects) targeting local climate needs and in connection with a public agency; (3) support for increased volunteer engagement by establishing new volunteer programs or enhancing pre-existing program relevant to climate change or integrated water management; and (4) transitional support in the form of stakeholder presentations and/or staff training to ensure that project deliverables and resources are adequately handed off to local government participants.
This approach offers a unique opportunity to accelerate local climate and water action efforts.
CivicSpark Climate capacity-building projects can include:
CivicSpark Water capacity-building projects can include:
Regardless of the specific project focus, Fellows provide this support through a 4-step “intervention.”
Projects will likely focus on either research, planning, or implementation, though depending on the timeframe and beneficiary, it is plausible that a single project might include multiple stages of more than one.
Approved projects for the 2017-18 service year will start mid September.
Water Fellows are placed in teams of 2-3 in regions across the state. Fellows serve with local leaders responding to statewide priorities in water management, such as implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the California Water Action Plan.
Participating public agencies must demonstrate a “capacity need,” measured by the absence of 1 or more criteria:
Public Agencies are considered to have exceptional climate capacity need if they meet 2 of 4 of the following criteria:
Public Agencies are considered to have exceptional water capacity need if they meet 3 of the following 6 criteria:
When do fellows begin their service?
How many hours of work will a Fellow be able to complete during the year?
Do I have to provide the CivicSpark team desk space and office resources?
How do I know I will get good value for this service?
Who provides funding for CivicSpark?
CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) through the California Commission – California Volunteers. Established in 1993, CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its core programs — Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and the Social Innovation Fund. AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans annually in intensive service at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 800,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1 billion hours in service across America. California Volunteers is the state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering.
How is the fiscal contribution paid?
The contribution is paid with 10% as a deposit; then the remaining balance is due monthly.
Does a participating local government have to pay the fiscal contribution?
No, it can come from a third party who is supporting the service project.
What is the value of CivicSpark services not covered by the local fiscal contribution?
If we don’t have funding in hand, do you have suggestions about how to fund the fiscal contribution?
Our agency has applied for a grant and assuming we are awarded the grant, we would love to use the funds to pay for a CivicSpark project. We won’t find out about the grant until after CivicSpark service year starts. What should we do?
Can I use my CivicSpark team to apply for additional grants to pay for the match?
CivicSpark fellows are not allowed to work directly on grant writing or fundraising, as outlined by AmeriCorps regulations. CivicSpark fellows are able to help local agencies identify possible future funding sources, though, and work completed by CivicSpark fellows may be used to better prepare an agency to access existing funding sources.
Can I use federal grant funds to pay for the fiscal contribution?
AmeriCorps has a policy of deferring to other federal agencies with regard to comingling of federal funds. If the funding agency approves the use of funds for AmeriCorps it is allowable.
Does the fiscal contribution directly go to the CivicSpark fellow?
No, it is a contribution to the whole program that is also bringing in resources from the federal government to support the whole program operations.
Does a participating local government have to provide workers compensation or liability insurance?
No, CivicSpark fellows are covered by the Local Government Commission’s insurance.