Now Accepting New CivicSpark Partner Applications!

Interested in hosting a Fellow? Have questions about the application process and requirements for partners? Join one of our informational webinars to learn about the CivicSpark Program and the many benefits of being a Project Partner.

Interested in learning more?
Listen to a recording of an informational presentation or download the slides.

Interested in what’s involved with an application or want to prepare your application offiline?
Download a Sample 20-21 Partner 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 local public agency 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.”

Core Activities

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.
What We’re Looking For

Tangible and impactful resiliency projects

  • Clear, suitable scope of work
  • Commitment to implementation
  • Strong connection to public agencies need

Commitment to Fellows growth and development

  • Direct project oversight
  • Dedicated Fellow supervisor
  • Determine Fellow’s strengths
  • Set professional goals
  • Conduct performance assessments
  • Provide development opportunities
Example Projects

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

Partnership Details

Partner Expectations

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 implement 2-4 distinct “projects” designed to build capacity of 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 for each project 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.
  • Partners must agree to abide by federal AmeriCorps guidelines on prohibited activities and ensure Fellows only engage in allowable activities. See here for more information.
Fellow Supervision

CivicSpark offers a structure of support in which LGC staff work with project partners to coordinate a positive Fellowship experience.

  • Site Supervisors (agency staff) 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 (LGC staff) provide program support and member 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 support Fellows and Partners by coordinating reporting requirements and other program logistics.
Eligibility

Partners are responsible for securing 2-4 distinct projects that serve defined local public agency “beneficiaries” 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:

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
Service Year Calendar
2020
  • January 13 – Project Application Opens.
  • February 14 – First priority deadline to submit project applications.
  • April 3 – Second priority deadline to submit project applications.
  • April – July – Rolling application and Service Agreement period.
  • August 21 – Deadline to complete Service Agreements and Capacity Assessments.
  • September 8 – The service year begins with an orientation for the 2019-20 CivicSpark Fellow cohort.
  • September 15 – Local project work begins!Fellows begin work on Gap Assessments.
2021
  • Mid February – In-person Mid Year Gathering for all Fellows.
  • Mid August – Projects wrap-up and the CivicSpark cohort graduates.
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).
2020-21 Pricing (tentative)
Cost Project Support Provided per Fellow Additional Benefits per Fellow
$52,000 / 2 Fellows
$26,500 / 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
Step 1: Submit Online Project Application

Prepare and Submit your application by the First Priority Deadline (February 14, 2020) to ensure the highest likelihood that your project will be accepted.

Project applications submitted by the Second Priority Deadline (April 3, 2020) 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 April 3 Second Priority deadline, but will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

A complete application includes the following:

  • Contact information for site supervisor, project lead(s) and contracting lead;
  • Concise project summary (including basic scope, desired capacity building outcomes, anticipated deliverables, and preferred Fellow skills);
  • Local public agency capacity building projects (at least 2 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 21, 2020, to ensure Fellows can start in Early September.

Step 4: Candidate Review and Interviewing

After being approved and once we have a pool of qualified applicants, LGC begins to share candidates for consideration that have been pre-screened and have completed an initial interview. The Partner interviews candidates they feel could be a good fit and lets LGC know preferences. LGC makes offers to candidates for the partner.

Step 5: 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 21, 2020, to ensure Fellows have this key resource when they start in early September.

More Questions? Ready to Apply?

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