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Help Aim Federal Funding at Community Needs

October 21st, 2010

AUGUSTA– The Maine Commission for Community Service seeks well qualified professionals from Maine and other states in the eastern or central time zones to serve as volunteer peer reviewers for its upcoming grant competitions.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. In order to carry out this work, the Commission makes grants largely using federal dollars (occasionally some private funding). Sometimes the grants are for large, multi-year projects and some are micro-sized to support projects in conjunction with days of service. For example, the AmeriCorps State operating grants range from $150,000 to over $300,000 and cover a 3-year period. At the opposite end of the size spectrum are $500 grants to support community service projects on Martin Luther King Day of Service each January.

Regardless of the size, all the applications must be evaluated and rated to determine which will receive awards from the pre-determined allotment of funds. Peer Review is the portion of the grant application assessment process that is conducted by a panel of individuals with expertise related to the purpose and/or area of focus for the grant program.

The Commission seeks a diverse group of reviewers whose expertise may be needed in grant competitions conducted between December 2010 and November 2011. Based on the anticipated schedule of grant making activity, volunteer reviewers will need expertise in one or more of these areas: national service, public safety, volunteer management or program design, protection of at-risk eco-systems, energy conservation, affordable housing, nonprofit management, emergency management, adult as well as K-12 education, financial literacy, health, and workforce development.

One significant benefit of this volunteer opportunity is gaining experience in assessing funding applications that are specifically focused on support to the volunteer sector. Another major benefit is expanding one’s professional network in a virtual way because the peer reviews are done using today’s communication technology.

For a full description of this skilled volunteer opportunity and the online application visit our grants section at www.maineservicecommission.gov/grants.   Applications submitted by November 30 will constitute the pool of reviewers for grant competitions in early 2011. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at www.maineservicecommission.gov.