Become a TerraCorps Service Site
TerraCorps is an environmental nonprofit working at the intersection of land conservation, sustainable agriculture, and food justice to build local nonprofit capacity while growing the next generation of environmental leaders.
We believe in the power of local nonprofits to best understand and serve their communities, while knowing they are consistently under-resourced without sufficient staff or volunteer capacity to deliver their core interventions at necessary scale.
To respond to this community need, TerraCorps operates as an AmeriCorps program intermediary and administrator, facilitating access to federal resources that are often out of reach for community-based nonprofits. Each year, we work with our network of 40+ partner organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to recruit a new cohort of up to 60 AmeriCorps service members. Service members are paired with a site supervisor, an experienced professional, who provides them guidance and mentorship while they learn to manage community programs and projects over an 11-month service term.
Service members, partner organizations, and the communities they serve all benefit from the TerraCorps service model. Service members gain professional skillsets, real world experience, and networking opportunities that help them launch their careers. Partner organizations receive an immediate capacity boost that strengthens their ability to fulfill their missions and improves their sustainability. Communities are the beneficiaries of the improved and expanded services that our partner organizations are able to deliver through their partnership with TerraCorps.
One of the most valued aspects of the TerraCorps service model is that it allows our partners the flexibility to align service members’ activities with local needs and priorities while they serve in one of the five following available roles:
- Land Conservation Coordinator
- Land Stewardship Coordinator
- Community Engagement Coordinator
- Youth Education Coordinator
- Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
Read more about the five coordinator roles.
Learn about service member benefits.
Service Site Eligibility
TerraCorps invites nonprofit organizations with missions and programs focused on land conservation, sustainable farming, food justice, and other mission synergies to apply to become a Service Site and host one or more service members for an 11-month service term.
To qualify to be a Service Site, organizations must:
- Be a nonprofit 501(c) 3 community-based organization (or fiscally sponsored by a 501 (c) 3) in Massachusetts or Rhode Island.
- Have sufficient staff to supervise, train, and mentor a service member, preferably a minimum of one full-time staff member. (Note: We may consider proposals from organizations with a part-time staff member, or a board of director-level equivalent volunteer if they can demonstrate sufficient commitment to support a service member.)
- Provide the service member with professional office space and equipment needs and any special equipment needed to perform their service activities. (Note: This includes a personal computer and internet access.)
- Have liability insurance that covers the service member while performing service at the organization and in the field.
- Have board-adopted nondiscrimination and sexual harassment policies that will be applicable to the service member. (Note: Policy templates are available).
- Provide a drug-free workplace.
- Have a willingness to make reasonable accommodations for service members with varying abilities.
- Pay service site administration fees prior to the service member’s start date.
AmeriCorps Prohibited Activities
AmeriCorps service members may not engage in the below activities directly or indirectly by recruiting, training, or managing others for the primary purpose of engaging in one of the said activities. Individuals may exercise their rights as private citizens and may participate in the activities listed below on their initiative, on non-AmeriCorps time, and using non-AmeriCorps funds. Individuals should not wear the AmeriCorps logo while engaging in any of the below activities on their personal time:
- Attempting to influence legislation.
- Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
- Assisting, promoting or deterring union organizing.
- Impairing existing service contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.
- Engaging in partisan political activities or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.
- Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
- Engaging in religious instruction; conducting worship services; providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship; constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship; maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship; or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
- Providing a direct benefit to
- A business organized for profit;
- A labor union;
- A partisan political organization; or
- A nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 related to engaging in political activities or substantial amount of lobbying except that nothing in these provisions shall be construed to prevent participants from participating in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and
- An organization engaged in the religious activities described above in prohibited activity 7, unless AmeriCorps assistance is not used to support the religious activities.
- Conducting a voter registration drive or using AmeriCorps funds to conduct a voter registration drive.
- Providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.
- Such other activities as AmeriCorps may prohibit.
In addition to the above activities, the below activities are also prohibited:
AmeriCorps service members and volunteers associated with AmeriCorps grants may not engage in census activities during service hours. Being a census taker during service hours is categorically prohibited. Census-related activities (e.g., promotion of the Census, education about the importance of the Census) do not align with AmeriCorps State and National objectives. What Members and volunteers do on their own time is up to them, consistent with program policies about outside employment and activities.
Election and Polling Activities
AmeriCorps service members may not provide services for election or polling locations or in support of such activities.
AmeriCorps service members may not engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, or federal law.
AmeriCorps service members may not engage in activities that pose a significant safety risk to others.
AmeriCorps service members may not engage in fundraising or grant writing activities that do not comply with AmeriCorps policy. Note: AmeriCorps service members may fundraise for projects directly related to their service projects and in accordance with AmeriCorps regulations.
Service Site Responsibilities
If selected to be a Service Site, your organization must:
- Ensure that service member’s projects and activities align with the TerraCorps Ends Policy.
- Drive robust local recruitment effort, interview, selection, onboarding, and retention processes (Note: TerraCorps supports all of these activities with marketing and automated systems and processes).
- Provide a positive and constructive professional atmosphere for service members.
- Educate staff and board directors about AmeriCorps and TerraCorps including service member roles, supervisory structure, and prohibited activities.
Requirements of Service Site Supervisors
The designated Service Site Supervisor at your organization is responsible for:
- Completing mandatory trainings for AmeriCorps site supervisors.
- Enforcing all AmeriCorps policies and prohibited activities in cooperation with TerraCorps.
- Overseeing service plan development in collaboration with service member.
- Conducting weekly check-ins with service member.
- Overseeing service member’s AmeriCorps reporting requirements.
- Participating in bi-annual evaluations and program assessments.
- Reviewing and approving service member timesheets.
- Providing mentorship on service member projects.
- Offering ongoing support for service member professional development.
- Accommodating service member attendance at all mandatory TerraCorps and AmeriCorps trainings and events.
Service Site Financial Contributions and Obligations
Service Site Administrative Fees
TerraCorps operates in collaboration with AmeriCorps, the Federal Agency, and state service commissions. Our programs are contingent on federal funding which is awarded on a three-year competitive grant cycle and appropriated annually. AmeriCorps funding covers approximately 50% of the total cost to run the TerraCorps program, thus the remaining costs are funded through service site administrative fees paid by partner organizations for each service member they host, and through TerraCorps’ other modest fundraising capabilities. For each full-time service member that an organization hosts, the service site pays a fee on a sliding scale based on the size of its annual operating budget (not including land acquisition costs). The percentage of the total cost per service member paid by service sites ranges from 20-40%.
Please see the adjacent sliding scale to determine the fee for your organization in the 2023-24 service year.
A $500 non-refundable advanced deposit is required to secure EACH service member position awarded to an organization. Advanced deposits are due two weeks from the date service sites receive their acceptance email notification. Nonpayment within this timeline may result in service member positions being granted to waitlisted organizations. Advanced deposits are credited towards the service site administrative fee if the service member position is filled.
Sliding Scale by Operating Budget
Service Site's Operating Budget
Service Site Administrative Fee
>$100,000 - $250,000
> $250,000 - $500,000
> $500,000 - $750,000
> $750,000 - $1 million
> $1 million - $1.5 million
>1.5 million - $2 million
Service Site Applications
Ready to Partner with TerraCorps for a Service Year? Start Here!
We are now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that wish to become a TerraCorps service site for the 2023-24 service year. The service year runs from late August through July annually. The application deadline is April 7, 2023.
Intent to Apply: Start the application process by filling out this form. This lets us know who to contact if we haven’t received your application by the deadline.
Application for New Service Sites: If you are applying to become a new TerraCorps service site, please fill out this form. New service sites include organizations that have taken a year or more off from partnering with TerraCorps.
Renewal Application for Current TerraCorps Service Sites: If you are currently a TerraCorps service site and wish to continue our partnership, please fill out this form.