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Public Allies FAQ

What is Public Allies?

Public Allies Arizona is an AmeriCorps program of the ASU Lodestar Center for Nonprofit Philanthropy and Innovation. Our mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. We select our communities' most promising young leaders, who commit to a rigorous and rewarding 10-month program of full-time, paid apprenticeships in Phoenix-area community organizations, as well as team service projects, and bi-weekly leadership training.

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps (pronounced Ameri-Core) is a federal program operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993 by President Clinton. Since its inception, more than 900,000 individuals have participated in AmeriCorps programs. The program provides grants to private nonprofit organizations and schools to contribute to the costs of stipends, benefits, training, and other support to members serving full-time or part-time meeting critical needs in communities. Every program funded by AmeriCorps is considered an AmeriCorps program, and every participant in an AmeriCorps program is called an AmeriCorps member. Public Allies was identified by former President George H.W. Bush as a model for a national service program in 1992.

How is Public Allies different than other AmeriCorps programs or VISTA?

Public Allies' citizen-centered, values-based approach to leadership has created pathways for young people to engage in their communities, and has helped communities and organizations tap the energy, passion, and perspectives of a new generation. Public Allies is an AmeriCorps National program that receives grant funding through the national Public Allies office. While the VISTA program focuses specifically on bringing low-income individuals and communities out of poverty, Public Allies has an expanded focus of creating career and educational opportunities for our next generation of leaders through service in the areas of education and youth development, healthy futures, and economic opportunity. One unique characteristic of Public Allies is our focus on leadership development through bi-weekly intensive trainings that cover social justice and our core values of diversity and inclusion, integrity, focus on assets, collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation. We are a movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together. 

What work would I be doing in the program?

Each year, Public Allies Arizona partners with over 20 different nonprofit organizations whose missions focus on the community needs of youth development, health and wellness, and economic opportunity. Each Ally is matched into a full-time position at one of these nonprofits, in a position focused on creating, improving, or expanding services of these organizations. You might be placed at a local school to build partnerships and community resources, serving at a homeless shelter to increase community awareness and support, or evaluating a program in order to more effectively engage clients. The work that you do depends on what organization and position you match with through the interview process. Please see our list of current partner organizations for more information.

Allies participate in rigorous leadership development programming twice a month in which local community leaders and experts lead skill-building workshops. Allies also engage in community building activities, contribute to team service projects, and receive individual coaching to support their professional development.

What do Allies learn?

The leadership development programming challenges and supports Allies to become leaders who connect across social boundaries, facilitate collaborative action, recognize and mobilize community assets, commit to continuous learning and self-development, and are accountable for creating impact. Allies gain a deep knowledge of their community and important skills from local community leaders, practitioners, and educators. They also learn from the diverse backgrounds, perspectives, issue focuses, and neighborhoods of their fellow Allies.

What are the minimum requirements to participate?

Applicants to the program must:

  • be at least 18 years old by the program start date in September
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States*
  • have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • be able to pass a National Service criminal history check (this includes a National Sex Offender Registry check and an Arizona Department of Public Safety Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card)
  • have not earned the equivalent of 2 education awards or served more than 4 AmeriCorps State or National terms
  • have satisfactorily completed a previous term of service if there is one

* These are the only legal statuses accepted into the program at this time. We welcome your communication with us at publicallies@asu.edu.

What is the time commitment to participate?

Allies are expected to serve between 40-45 hours per week in order to complete the required 1,700 hours of service over the course of the 10 month program. Typical hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, but schedules can vary depending on the position. Allies are required to participate in Service Days, which typically take place on the weekend, and will meet outside of normal work hours for meetings. The ally program is an intensive experience that requires a significant commitment of time and energy. It is often difficult to balance the program and other responsibilities such as a second job or school.  We ask that applicants evaluate their current commitments to determine if the program is a good fit at this time in their lives.

What benefits will I receive?

Allies are AmeriCorps members and receive a stipend of up to $1,375 a month gross, access to healthcare options, reduced childcare options, student loan forbearance opportunities, and, upon successful completion of the program, up to $5,920 in an education award to pay back student loans or pay for future education.* Allies gain real work experience at a reputable community organization, individual and peer-to-peer coaching, and access to the Public Allies alumni network for support and networking opportunities.
*The stipend and award are considered taxable income. Not all loans are eligible for forbearance (such as private loans), so you should check with you loan holder to verify.

Do you provide housing assistance to Allies?

We do not provide housing assistance. However, we do have an extensive alumni network that may be able to assist Allies enrolled in the program from out of town in finding accessible and affordable housing. We do partner with a number of organizations in town to provide assistance in regards to professional dress, accessing fresh food, and utilizing other resources. 

I live outside of Phoenix. Can I still participate in the Public Allies Arizona program?

The Public Allies Arizona program partners with nonprofit organizations that serve Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located). While our goal is to engage and encourage local leaders in our community, we do encourage anyone interested in the program and mission to apply. Please note that we do not pay for relocation to Phoenix. We also suggest that you look at the list of the other 22 Public Allies sites to determine if there is a site closer to you. For those applying from out of state, we ask that you consider deeply your reasoning behind serving in Arizona.

Do I have to be an ASU student to participate?

While Public Allies Arizona is a program of the ASU Lodestar Center, our program is open to anyone in the community. We encourage high school graduates, folks who are underemployed or unemployed, and those interested in or passionate about community change work or a career in the nonprofit sector to apply. 

I am a student. Can I receive credit for participating?

In the past, students have been able to receive internship credit, although it depends on internship guidelines from the individual Schools and Departments at the college or university that you attend. If you are a student who is considering applying, please be aware that the program time commitment requires, at minimum, 40-45 hours of service each week. 

I served as an AmeriCorps member in another program. Can I still apply?

You are welcome to apply as long as you have not served more than 4 AmeriCorps State or National terms of service. Please note that you may not earn more than the equivalent of 2 education awards. If you are accepted into the program, we will ask for information regarding your previous terms of service.

I have a criminal record. Should I apply?

Public Allies believes that everyone has talents and skills that can make communities stronger. We also believe that a person's past shouldn't dictate their future. Having a criminal history will not disqualify you from the Ally program, with the exception of two areas: those who have been convicted of murder and those that are required to register on state or national sex offender registries are ineligible to be an AmeriCorps member and cannot be an Ally per AmeriCorps guidelines. With a criminal history, you may be restricted from serving in certain placements due to their policies and populations served, but we will work with you to find alternative options.

I'm retired and looking to get into the nonprofit sector. Can I apply?

There are some great opportunities for seasoned and experienced professionals to engage in nonprofit work. Experience Matters and Senior Corps are two such programs. We also encourage you to look at the Lodestar Center Nonprofit Job Board, a resource for professionals looking for new opportunities and employment.

I already volunteer at a nonprofit. Can I get paid to keep working there?

Public Allies would love to explore new partnership opportunities with registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. All organizations are required to submit an application to host Allies, which demonstrates their understanding of the program and commitment to mission. Due to our matching process, you cannot be guaranteed a position at any organization and we encourage candidates to keep an open mind to all position options available to them. If there is an organization that you think should host an Ally, direct them to our Partner Organization page for more information on how to apply.

I have never worked in a nonprofit before. Should I apply?

Yes, we encourage you to apply. Public Allies is open to anyone who is interested in community change work. While you may not have worked in a nonprofit before, you most likely have interacted with one through volunteering opportunities, community services that you have received, or donations that you have made. We encourage you to think about community issues that you are passionate about and ways in which you would like to see your community changed for the better. This, at a base level, is the work of nonprofit organizations.

I applied before but didn't get placed or matched. Can I apply again?

Yes, and we encourage you to apply again. The placement process is all about finding the right fit between organizations' needs and the experiences and interests of our candidates. The organizations and positions that are available change every year and you may have had the opportunity to develop new talents and skills.

What is the application, interview, and placement process timeline?

The application opens in February of each year. Once you submit your online application, we hold in-person interviews with staff and community volunteers on a bi-weekly basis throughout the spring and into the summer. You then take part in a group interview with other candidates. In June and July, we hold orientations and trainings that culminate in a Matching Fair where you have the chance to meet all of the partnering nonprofit organizations to learn more about their work and to share your interests. After the Matching Fair, you are matched with organizations for formal interviews, and then provide the Public Allies staff with your top selections. Based on input from both the candidates and organizations, we then make a match and finalize your placement in early August. Your placement and program start in the fall and run from September-June. The process is competitive and slots are limited, so placement is not guaranteed. You are not considered a member of the Public Allies cohort until the final match is made with an organization.

What happens after the program?

We help Allies identify and pursue future career and educational goals. In some cases, we can help Allies secure additional education support and connect alumni with employers. In addition, we connect graduates to our growing network of Arizona and National Public Allies alumni for career and professional development opportunities.

How do I apply?

To apply, contact a Public Allies staff member to find out information about the program. If you think it is a fit, visit our Application Page. You will be asked to create a username and password to login.  Make sure to select Arizona as the primary site. You will be asked to include a resume, to answer some demographic and essay questions, and to provide 3 references.

Ways to Use Your Segal AmeriCorps Educational Award

Use your Segal AmeriCorps Education AwardUpon successful completion of the program, up to $5,920 will be given to you to pay back student loans or pay for future educational or professional development opportunities (including program fees for the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center or courses within the Nonprofit Management Institute at the ASU Lodestar Center).

Learn more about the Segal Education award.

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