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RSVP Grant Competition Opens

by Greg Tucker

For more than 40 years, RSVP has delivered proven results and engaged millions of Americans 55 and over in national and community service. This Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program is a win-win for America, as senior volunteer service benefits the health of the adult volunteers and addresses vital needs in the communities they serve. Last week, Senior Corps opened its 2013 RSVP Competition.

During the upcoming fiscal year, RSVP grants will be awarded on a competitive basis as mandated by the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This competition represents a re-imagining and modernizing of the Senior Corps program, and it will help RSVP continue to thrive and provide a resource our country can draw on.

In alignment with the Serve America Act and CNCS's Strategic Plan, the RSVP competition will target grant making on six focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

“Competition is a critical driver of performance and encourages the adoption of innovation through new ideas and services,” said Dr. Erwin Tan, Director of Senior Corps. “This competition for RSVP will offer organizations an opportunity to support creative programming that increases their impact on critical challenges facing their communities.

“This RSVP grant competition means that Senior Corps is directly linking funding to local impact and quality, and will allow Senior Corps to select the best RSVP applicant in each community,” said Dr. Tan.

RSVP sponsors funded under the competition will report their progress using the CNCS performance measures, allowing them to demonstrate accountability and innovation while helping ensure that they will be poised for greater impact in the future.

Eligible applicants include faith-based and secular nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, Indian tribes, and local government entities including counties and cities. The draft 2013 RSVP funding notice, FAQs, and other information are available here.

Letters of intent are due on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, and the deadline for applications is Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Successful applicants will receive grants for a three-year period and will be notified in March 2013.

CNCS will host technical assistance calls to answer questions about this funding opportunity, including information on RSVP, how to apply, and the new performance measures. Calls will take place on Aug. 27, and 28; Sept. 18 and 26; and Oct. 2. Call details and registration are available here.

Additionally, the Senior Corps Virtual Conference on Aug. 14-16 will highlight the new performance measures for Senior Corps grantees, providing information to help organizations create effective measures to demonstrate impact in communities. The virtual conference is free and open to the public.

“For four decades, RSVP has been a highly effective way to engage millions of older Americans in meeting national and community needs and delivering lasting, meaningful results,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “This competition will drive greater impact and innovation in the way RSVP volunteers serve across the country, and we encourage organizations to learn more and apply.”

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