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About Senior Corps 
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Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
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USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
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Become a Peer Reviewer or Facilitator
 

Background on Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that encourages Americans of all ages and backgrounds to engage in community-based service. Through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, the Corporation has engaged citizens of all ages and backgrounds in helping to meet pressing local needs for more than a decade. The Corporation’s programs provide human and other resources to community- and faith-based groups to empower them to meet local needs in education, the environment, public safety, disaster preparedness and homeland security, and other critical areas. This year, more than two million individuals of all ages and backgrounds will serve through Corporation supported programs, and those individuals will recruit, train, and manage an additional one million community volunteers. National and community service programs also work closely with America’s volunteer-connector organizations to increase the number and impact of our nation’s volunteers, and with schools and nonprofit groups to foster the ethic of good citizenship.

The Corporation makes grants to organizations that use citizen service as a strategy to meet critical national and community needs, foster an ethic of civic responsibility, and strengthen the ties that bind us together as a nation. Each year the Corporation seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers and facilitators for its grant competition process.

If you would like to serve as a peer reviewer or a facilitator for a grant review and have not already completed an application in eGrants, please read further and complete the required Peer Reviewer application at https://egrants.cns.gov/espan/main/newaccount.jsp. If you know someone who may be interested, please forward this information to them.

What is a Peer Review?

The Corporation uses external professionals and peers from the field as reviewers to read competitive applications, provide an analysis of the quality of each application, and rate them based on published criteria. The Corporation in turn considers these peer reviewer comments and ratings along with other information, in determining which program applications to fund.

What are the responsibilities of Reviewers?

The primary responsibilities of reviewers are to participate in all training provided, and to read, analyze, and rate applications. This is done utilizing worksheets, forms and documents prepared for the review. Depending on the process for a particular grant competition, reviewers may participate in conference calls, and/or may travel at the Corporation’s expense to a central meeting site for reviewer meetings.

What are the responsibilities of Facilitators?

A facilitator’s primary responsibilities are to guide and support the work of the reviewers; to ensure thoughtful, fair, well-documented appraisals of all applications; to ensure that panelists keep to the schedule; and to manage the writing responsibilities. Facilitators also help resolve any conflicts among the panelists and guide them to consensus on the quality of proposals. Facilitators participate in all training and necessary conference calls, fill out all required forms, and may travel at the Corporation’s expense to a central meeting site for reviewer meetings.

What are the qualifications of Reviewers and Facilitators?

We seek a diverse group of peer reviewers and facilitators who have expertise in one or more areas of civic engagement (i.e., national service, volunteer management, education, literacy and tutoring, human services, nonprofit management, homeland security, public safety, and the environment) who can use their knowledge to assess the quality of grant applications. Reviewers and facilitators must be comfortable working with non-negotiable deadlines.

You may be a practitioner, educator, administrator/manager, analyst, researcher, evaluator, or volunteer. You may work or volunteer in community or faith-based organizations; national organizations; national or community foundations; municipal, state, or federal agencies; higher education; or elementary, middle, or high school.

Peer reviewers should also be comfortable reading a large volume of material in a short period of time and providing written detailed analysis and/or participating in small group discussions via conference call or in person, with others who have read the same application.

Facilitators should have skills and experience facilitating small groups. Facilitators need to be comfortable reading a large volume of material in a short period and willing to hold reviewers accountable for their review responsibilities.

The Corporation conducts its peer reviews using its online/web-based eGrants system. Reviewers and facilitators must have access to a computer and the internet throughout the review time.

Reviewers and facilitators are selected for competitions based on background and education specific to a review. Once you have completed an application in eGrants, and your background is appropriate for a competition, a CNCS representative contacts you by phone or e-mail to check on your availability to participate in that review. We often have more peer review applicants than we may need for the year, but we will maintain your application in our database for future reviews.

What is the time commitment for participating in a review?

The Corporation’s peer review process is a time-intensive and time-sensitive activity. The components of a review and an estimate for the amount of time each item takes are as follows:

  • Orientation conference calls and review of instructions for each review: 2 to 4 hours;
  • 5 to 7 hours per application reviewed (reading, completing all documents, entering into eGrants, participating in panel discussions [if applicable], reviewing and certifying final forms); and
  • Travel time (if applicable).

The time commitment ranges from 30 hours over a five day period to 60 hours over a 15 day period.

What are other benefits of being a peer reviewer or facilitator?

You will be exposed to new and innovative ideas in your field, engage in the grant-making process for a major funder of the service and volunteer sector and meet and network with experts in your profession from around the country. Many reviewers consider this an excellent professional development opportunity.

Is there a deadline?

We invite facilitator and reviewer applicants to complete the on-line peer review application in eGrants at any time. CNCS staff regularly review submitted applications and determine if your experiences match the expertise needed for specific reviews. You may want to review the funding notices to get a sense of when reviewers might be needed (http://www.nationalservice.gov/for_organizations/funding/index.asp).

If I work or serve in a Corporation-funded program or my organization is applying for Corporation funds, may I serve as a reviewer or facilitator?

You may not serve as a reviewer or facilitator in the type of program for which you work or serve. For instance, if you are part of an organization with an AmeriCorps*National grant, you may not review AmeriCorps*National applications. However, you may review for a different type of AmeriCorps grant program, or for Learn and Serve or other competitions.

Likewise, if you work at an institution of higher education that is applying for a Learn and Serve America grant, you may not review higher education applications. However, your expertise might be needed in Learn and Serve America School and Community-Based applications.

What happens next?

If you wish to be considered as a peer reviewer or facilitator, complete the peer review application found at https://egrants.cns.gov/espan/main/newaccount.jsp. Again, if your education and expertise align with a particular competition, a CNCS representative will contact you by phone or e-mail to check on your availability.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

If you have specific questions about the content of the peer reviewer application, please e-mail us at [email protected].

 

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