New Hampshire Volunteers COVID-19 Response Fund
$1.5 million to support NH volunteers and volunteer programs essential to meeting critical COVID-19 needs.
The Governor has authorized the allocation and expenditure of $1.5 million in funding from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund ("flex funds") to support volunteers and volunteer programs essential to meeting critical COVID-19 needs in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Volunteers COVID-19 Response Program (the "Program") funds will be distributed through Volunteer NH (VNH). VNH is a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the tradition of volunteerism and ethic of service in New Hampshire, making it uniquely able to provide the critical service of connecting organizations with the volunteer resources required to support New Hampshire communities during the COVID-19 response.
The Program will support volunteer initiatives through VNH that are specifically aimed at mobilizing volunteers to ensure the health and safety of New Hampshire residents during COVID-19. Working with state and local partners, VNH will launch or expand the following volunteer programs and initiatives designed to meet the COVID-19 service needs of Granite Staters:
- NH COVID Community Care Corps VISTA Program (NHCCCC):
NHCCCC places AmeriCorps VISTA members with New Hampshire organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By serving with municipal and community organizations, members will mobilize volunteers and leverage community resources to respond to the effects of COVID-19 and assist groups, including homebound seniors, vulnerable populations (such as those who are immunocompromised and/or living in poverty), and students. NHCCCC will place 40 members statewide, 10 in Summer 2020 plus 30 more beginning in Fall 2020. The Program funds will be used to reimburse program expenses incurred from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020, particularly member benefits and host site fees.
- NH COVID Serve & Learn Fellowship Program:
VNH will establish COVID-19-related courses for about 200 National Service members and community volunteers helping Granite Staters respond to and recover from the pandemic. The Fellowship Program will seek to enroll service leaders who are economically disadvantaged or from historically marginalized communities, and the courses will be able to be used as the foundation for or transferred as credits into accredited degree programs across the state. The Program funds will be used to develop these course before December 30, 2020.
- VNH will generally strengthen COVID-19-related volunteer service. VNH will assist New Hampshire organizations with identifying priority areas for COVID-19 response efforts, and increase volunteer recruitment, in order to mobilize additional volunteers in response to the pandemic. VNH will also expand Ready Corps training to cover the COVID-19 response. Ready Corps is a VNH program that trains AmeriCorps members to be prepared to assist with local, regional, and statewide emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Ready Corps members have been called on for support at warming shelters, food drives, and responding to individual assistance requests. The Program fund will be used to reimburse expenses directly related to these efforts and incurred from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020, but only to the extent they exceed budgeted organizational expenses.
- The Program funds will be used to reimburse the National Service programs in New Hampshire for COVID-19-related expenses that have not been and will not be reimbursed under any other state or federal program, and that were incurred from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020. This includes the costs associated with changes in program models and new program development necessary due to COVID-19, such as member technology costs for remote services. Other costs may include the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies necessary to safely operate programs at host sites and within the communities they serve.
VNH supports and sponsors National Service and other local volunteer programs throughout New Hampshire, while also educating and training volunteers, recognizing outstanding volunteer contributions, and otherwise encouraging volunteer service. VNH serves as the State Commission for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). As New Hampshire’s State Service Commission, VNH promotes volunteer service generally and serves as a steward to National Service funds provided by CNCS. Specifically, VNH administers AmeriCorps State program grants and partners with other National Service resources to coordinate service efforts, including AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), and Senior Corps. These programs place service members statewide to support our citizens and community needs. The New Hampshire Volunteers COVID-19 Response Program will allow VNH to respond quickly and effectively to mobilize volunteers that will be essential to meeting COVID-19-related service needs in New Hampshire.