MSA partners with nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and public entities to reinvigorate civic involvement to help address the Commonwealth's most critical needs.
Agencies can apply to host 2-4 full-time members or 2-6 half-time members for a 10 month term of service in one of our designated focus areas: economic opportunity, education (early or K-12), health/nutrition, veterans' support, and youth development/youth violence prevention. Host site agencies are asked to be partners in providing ongoing support and professional development to our service members and other shared programmatic, administrative, and fiscal responsibilities.
Commonwealth Corps Members make a difference through their host site agencies by: providing direct service, building capacity of local organizations, and recruiting and mobilizing additional volunteers.
We encourage interested host site partner applicants to review past materials and webinars to learn about the process. These resources are updated each year for the current Request for Proposals (RFP).
As the state commission on service and volunteerism, The Massachusetts Service Alliance oversees the program and supports the host site partner agencies and members, while each host site partner manages its own member recruitment and selection and supervision.
Host site applicants must select one OR two focus areas in which to apply that best match with their programming and goals. There is no preference for sites that apply for two rather than one focus area. If you do select two focus areas, please be sure to explain if each member will address one or two focus areas, and how you will build a sense of team across your member projects.
In addition to selecting your focus area(s) (economic opportunity/workforce development, education, health & nutrition, veterans’ support, or youth development/violence prevention), applicants must also focus on building capacity in their organization/community and propose related capacity building performance measures.
The Commonwealth Corps seeks to build a sense of community both across all sites/members and among the cohort within a site. Host sites must need and must be able to support a minimum of 2 full-time or half-time members. If you are looking for a single member to support your programming, the Commonwealth Corps is not the right fit. However, if you partner with other agencies to support and meaningfully engage that minimum number of members, you can apply jointly. One agency must take on the role of lead applicant, and you must explain common goals across members and how you will build a sense of team.
Commonwealth Corps host sites have ranged from small to medium-sized agencies, and we do not have a minimum requirement for overall agency budget. We are pleased to be able to keep our host site cash match per service member at a modest level to help agencies of all sizes be able to apply.
Although the listed eligibility requirements in the RFP are somewhat minimal (such as being “in existence for at least one year”), we are looking for partners who truly have the capacity to fulfill the various host site requirements listed throughout the RFP and meaningfully support their members. This partnership with MSA and members takes time and effort (administrative, programmatic, and fiscal) on your agency’s part, and supervisors must be able to make time and space in their roles to manage and support members, including a focus on their development. This works best when the entire organization or team of staff is aware of the members’ roles and committed to their support and success. Applicants are asked a number of questions in the narrative that allow you to help demonstrate your organization’s capacity to host members, and prior performance is also considered.
Applicants should only request the minimum number of members they need for their proposed programming (as long as they need at least 2 full-time or half-time members). MSA anticipates that it will not be able to fund all requested slots, especially full-time requests.
Please make sure to justify the number of members you are requesting in your narrative and why full-time positions are necessary (if applicable). If a host site is being considered for selection but MSA cannot support their entire request, MSA may ask an applicant if they would be willing/able to take part in the Commonwealth Corps and accomplish their programming with a smaller number of members or with half-time instead of full-time members. (This might result in renegotiation of overall performance measures.)
Both focus on the combination of community impact and member development. Some larger differences include:
More FAQ answers can be found here.
For more information about the Commonwealth Corps, here is our 2022-2023 program-wide position description. We also invite you to read our commitment to equity here. To learn more about some of our current service members and partners, check out our recent newsletter.