AmeriCorps Planning Grant Application Guidance and Instructions

Published: March 15, 2019
Application Due Date: By Invitation Only
CFDA Number: 94.006
Contact Information:

Does your community have a pressing problem that can be addressed through citizenry or volunteer action?

Or, does your organization have an evidence-based program that is ready to be scaled but needs additional human capital in order to increase its reach and impact?

If you answered yes, an AmeriCorps Planning Grant may be the right resource for your organization!

How does an AmeriCorps planning grant benefit your organization?
An AmeriCorps Planning Grant provides funding to support the design of an AmeriCorps program and the preparation needed for an organization to manage a federal AmeriCorps implementation grant successfully. Planning grants provide successful applicants with resources needed to develop program components, including program design, and to build operational capacity critical to managing an AmeriCorps program. Grant recipients also receive training and technical assistance from California Volunteers to strengthen their AmeriCorps program design and to create implementation plans and systems for managing a compliant AmeriCorps program. Grantees who successfully complete their planning grant deliverables will be better prepared to apply for an implementation grant as well as operate an AmeriCorps program, once funded.

What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a national service program which provides year-long volunteering opportunities for Americans to address critical community needs. An AmeriCorps service year is organized to have an important community impact while making a lasting difference in the lives of those who serve. AmeriCorps members are recruited, trained, supervised, and managed by eligible organizations, and may receive a modest living allowance and other benefits proportional to their level of time commitment while serving.

What type of organization is eligible to apply?
501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and public agencies are eligible to apply. All applicants must have active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) at to

How much funds can an organization request?
The maximum planning grant amount that can be requested is $75,000.

What types of costs are covered by a planning grant?
A planning grant can support staffing costs, travel, materials, and other costs necessary to conduct research and engage community members and partners in planning activities.

How do I apply?
The application is through invitation only. You must successfully complete Steps 1-3 below in order to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply. These mandatory steps are designed to help you and California Volunteers staff determine your overall fit with AmeriCorps and how CV can best support you.
Step 1: Schedule an exploratory call/meeting with California Volunteers staff by emailing
Step 2: Complete an AmeriCorps Readiness Self-Assessment.
Step 3: Schedule a Consultation Session with CV staff.

When can my organization apply?
You must successfully complete Steps 1-3 in order to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply. View the AmeriCorps Planning Grant Opportunity Timeline for opportunities to apply. The submission deadline for an AmeriCorps Planning Grant application is approximately four weeks from the date an organization is officially invited to apply (by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time). An electronic copy of the completed application must be sent via email to

What are the application requirements?
The following documents are required to complete the AmeriCorps State Planning Grant application:

For more information, please contact Carrie Lewis at