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Title 45 Part 2556 → Subpart B

Title 45 → Subtitle B → Chapter XXV → Part 2556 → Subpart B

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 45 Part 2556 → Subpart B

e-CFR data is current as of September 13, 2019

Title 45Subtitle BChapter XXVPart 2556 → Subpart B


Title 45: Public Welfare
PART 2556—VOLUNTEERS IN SERVICE TO AMERICA


Subpart B—VISTA Sponsors


Contents
§2556.100   Which entities are eligible to apply to become VISTA sponsors?
§2556.105   Which entities are prohibited from being VISTA sponsors?
§2556.110   What VISTA assistance is available to a sponsor?
§2556.115   Is a VISTA sponsor required to provide a cash or in-kind match?
§2556.120   How does a VISTA sponsor ensure the participation of people in the communities to be served?
§2556.125   May CNCS deny or reduce VISTA assistance to an existing VISTA project?
§2556.130   What is the procedure for denial or reduction of VISTA assistance to an existing VISTA project?
§2556.135   What is suspension and when may CNCS suspend a VISTA project?
§2556.140   What is termination and when may CNCS terminate a VISTA project?
§2556.145   May CNCS pursue other remedies against a VISTA project for a sponsor's material failure to comply with any other requirement not set forth in this subpart?
§2556.150   What activities are VISTA members not permitted to perform as part of service?
§2556.155   May a sponsor manage a VISTA project through a subrecipient?
§2556.160   What are the sponsor's requirements for cost share projects?
§2556.165   What Fair Labor Standards apply to VISTA sponsors and subrecipients?
§2556.170   What nondiscrimination requirements apply to sponsors and subrecipients?
§2556.175   What limitations are VISTA sponsors subject to regarding religious activities?

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4953(a), (f), 4954(b), (e), 4955(b), 4956, 5043(a)-(c), 5044(a)-(c), (e), 5046, 5052, 5056, and 5057; 42 U.S.C. 12651b (g)(10); E.O. 13279, 67 FR 77141, 3 CFR, 2002 Comp., p. 2156.

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§2556.100   Which entities are eligible to apply to become VISTA sponsors?

The following entities are eligible to apply to become VISTA sponsors, and thereby undertake projects in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories:

(a) Private nonprofit organization.

(b) Public nonprofit organization.

(c) State government or state government agency.

(d) Local government or local government agency.

(e) Tribal government or tribal government agency.

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§2556.105   Which entities are prohibited from being VISTA sponsors?

(a) An entity is prohibited from being a VISTA sponsor or from otherwise receiving VISTA assistance if a principal purpose or activity of the entity includes any of the following:

(1) Electoral activities. Any activity designed to influence the outcome of elections to any public office, such as actively campaigning for or against, or supporting, candidates for public office; raising, soliciting, or collecting funds for candidates for public office; or preparing, distributing, providing funds for campaign literature for candidates, including leaflets, pamphlets, and material designed for the print or electronic media.

(2) Voter registration activities. Any voter registration activity, such as providing transportation of individuals to voter registration sites; providing assistance to individuals in the process of registering to vote, including determinations of eligibility; or disseminating official voter registration material.

(3) Transportation to the polls. Providing voters or prospective voters with transportation to the polls or raising, soliciting, or collecting funds for such activities.

(b) Any organization that, subsequent to the receipt of VISTA assistance, makes as one of its principal purposes or activities any of the activities described in paragraph (a) of this section shall be subject to the procedures in §§2556.125 through 2556.145.

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§2556.110   What VISTA assistance is available to a sponsor?

(a) A sponsor may be approved for one or more VISTA positions.

(b) A sponsor, upon review and approval by CNCS to establish a leader position or positions, and in accordance with criteria set forth at subpart G of this part, may be approved for one or more leader positions.

(c) A sponsor, upon approval by CNCS to establish a summer associate position or positions, and in accordance with criteria set forth at subpart F of this part, may be approved for one or more summer associate positions.

(d) A sponsor may be eligible to receive certain grant assistance under the terms determined and prescribed by CNCS.

(e) A sponsor may receive training and technical assistance related to carrying out purposes of title I of the DVSA.

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§2556.115   Is a VISTA sponsor required to provide a cash or in-kind match?

(a) A sponsor is not required to provide a cash match for any of the assistance listed in §2556.110.

(b) A sponsor must provide supervision, work space, service-related transportation, and any other materials necessary to operate and complete the VISTA project and support the VISTA.

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§2556.120   How does a VISTA sponsor ensure the participation of people in the communities to be served?

(a) To the maximum extent practicable, the people of the communities to be served by VISTA members shall participate in planning, developing, and implementing programs.

(b) The sponsor shall articulate in its project application how it will engage or continue to engage relevant communities in the development and implementation of programs.

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§2556.125   May CNCS deny or reduce VISTA assistance to an existing VISTA project?

(a) CNCS may deny or reduce VISTA assistance where a denial or reduction is based on:

(1) Legislative requirement;

(2) Availability of funding;

(3) Failure to comply with applicable term(s) or condition(s) of a contract, grant agreement, or an applicable Memorandum of Agreement;

(4) Ineffective management of CNCS resources;

(5) Substantial failure to comply with CNCS policy and overall objectives under a contract, grant agreement, or applicable Memorandum of Agreement; or

(6) General policy.

(b) In instances where the basis for denial or reduction of VISTA assistance may also be the basis for the suspension or termination of a VISTA project under this subpart, CNCS shall not be limited to the use of this section to the exclusion of the procedures for suspension or termination in this subpart.

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§2556.130   What is the procedure for denial or reduction of VISTA assistance to an existing VISTA project?

(a) CNCS shall notify the sponsor in writing, at least 75 calendar days before the anticipated denial or reduction of VISTA assistance, that CNCS proposes to deny or reduce VISTA assistance. CNCS's written notice shall state the reasons for the decision to deny or reduce assistance and shall provide an opportunity period for the sponsor to respond to the merits of the proposed decision. CNCS retains sole authority to make the final determination whether the VISTA assistance at issue shall be denied or reduced, as appropriate.

(b) Where CNCS's notice of proposed decision is based upon a specific charge of the sponsor's failure to comply with the applicable term(s) or condition(s) of a contract, grant agreement, or an applicable Memorandum of Agreement, the notice shall offer the sponsor an opportunity period to respond in writing to the notice, with any affidavits or other supporting documentation, and to request an informal hearing before a mutually agreed-upon impartial hearing officer. The authority of such a hearing officer shall be limited to conducting the hearing and offering recommendations to CNCS. Regardless of whether or not an informal hearing takes place, CNCS shall retain full authority to make the final determination whether the VISTA assistance is denied or reduced, as appropriate.

(c) If the recipient requests an informal hearing, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, such hearing shall be held at a date specified by CNCS and held at a location convenient to the sponsor.

(d) If CNCS's proposed decision is based on ineffective management of resources, or on the substantial failure to comply with CNCS policy and overall objectives under a contract, grant agreement, or an applicable Memorandum of Agreement, CNCS shall inform the sponsor in the notice of proposed decision of the opportunity to show cause why VISTA assistance should not be denied or reduced, as appropriate. CNCS shall retain full authority to make the final determination whether the VISTA assistance at issue shall be denied or reduced, as appropriate.

(e) The recipient shall be informed of CNCS's final determination on whether the VISTA assistance at issue shall be denied or reduced, and the basis for the determination.

(f) The procedure in this section does not apply to a denial or reduction of VISTA assistance based on legislative requirements, availability of funding, or on general policy.

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§2556.135   What is suspension and when may CNCS suspend a VISTA project?

(a) Suspension is any action by CNCS temporarily suspending or curtailing assistance, in whole or in part, to all or any part of a VISTA project, prior to the time that the project term is concluded. Suspension does not include the denial or reduction of new or additional VISTA assistance.

(b) In an emergency situation for up to 30 consecutive days, CNCS may suspend assistance to a sponsor, in whole or in part, for the sponsor's material failure or threatened material failure to comply with an applicable term(s) or condition(s) of the DVSA, the regulations in this part, VISTA program policy, or an applicable Memorandum of Agreement. Such suspension in an emergency situation shall be pursuant to notice and opportunity to show cause why assistance should not be suspended.

(c) To initiate suspension proceedings, CNCS shall notify the sponsor in writing that CNCS is suspending assistance in whole or in part. The written notice shall contain the following:

(1) The grounds for the suspension and the effective date of the commencement of the suspension;

(2) The sponsor's right to submit written material in response to the suspension to show why the VISTA assistance should not be suspended, or should be reinstated, as appropriate; and

(3) The opportunity to adequately correct the deficiency, or deficiencies, which led to CNCS's notice of suspension.

(d) In deciding whether to continue or lift the suspension, as appropriate, CNCS shall consider any timely material presented in writing, any material presented during the course of any informal meeting, as well as any showing that the sponsor has adequately corrected the deficiency which led to the initiation of suspension.

(e) During the period of suspension of a sponsor, no new expenditures, if applicable, shall be made by the sponsor's VISTA project at issue and no new obligations shall be incurred in connection with the VISTA project at issue except as specifically authorized in writing by CNCS.

(f) CNCS may, in its discretion, modify the terms, conditions, and nature of the suspension or rescind the suspension action at any time on its own initiative or upon a showing that the sponsor has adequately corrected the deficiency or deficiencies which led to the suspension and that repetition is not foreseeable.

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§2556.140   What is termination and when may CNCS terminate a VISTA project?

(a) Termination means any action by CNCS permanently terminating or curtailing assistance to all or any part of a sponsor's VISTA project prior to the time that the project term is concluded.

(b) CNCS may terminate assistance to a sponsor in whole or in part for the sponsor's material failure to comply with an applicable term(s) or condition(s) of the DVSA, the regulations in this part, VISTA program policy, or an applicable Memorandum of Agreement.

(c) To initiate termination proceedings, CNCS shall notify the sponsor in writing that CNCS is proposing to terminate assistance in whole or in part. The written notice shall contain the following:

(1) A description of the VISTA assistance proposed for termination, the grounds that warrant such proposed termination, and the proposed date of effective termination;

(2) Instructions regarding the sponsor's opportunity, within 21 calendar days from the date of issuance of the notice, to respond in writing to the merits of the proposed termination and instructions regarding the sponsor's right to request a full and fair hearing before a mutually agreed-upon impartial hearing officer; and

(3) Invitation of voluntary action by the sponsor to adequately correct the deficiency or deficiencies which led to CNCS's notice of proposed termination.

(d) In deciding whether to effect termination of VISTA assistance, CNCS shall consider any relevant, timely material presented in writing; any relevant material presented during the course of any full and fair hearing; as well as, any showing that the sponsor has adequately corrected the deficiency which led to the initiation of termination proceedings.

(e) Regardless of whether or not a full and fair hearing takes place, CNCS shall retain all authority to make the final determination as to whether the termination of VISTA assistance is appropriate.

(f) The sponsor shall be informed of CNCS's final determination on the proposed termination of VISTA assistance, and the basis or bases for the determination.

(g) CNCS may, in its discretion, modify the terms, conditions, and nature of a termination action or rescind a termination action at any time on its own initiative or upon a showing that the sponsor has adequately corrected the deficiency which led to the termination, or the initiation of termination proceedings, and that repetition is not threatened.

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§2556.145   May CNCS pursue other remedies against a VISTA project for a sponsor's material failure to comply with any other requirement not set forth in this subpart?

The procedures established by this subpart shall not preclude CNCS from pursuing any other remedies authorized by law.

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§2556.150   What activities are VISTA members not permitted to perform as part of service?

(a) A VISTA may not perform any activities in the project application that do not correspond with the purpose of the VISTA program, as described in §2556.1, or that the Director has otherwise prohibited.

(b) A VISTA may not perform services or duties as a VISTA member that would otherwise be performed by employed workers or other volunteers (not including participants under the DVSA and the National and Community Service Act of 1990, as amended).

(c) A VISTA may not perform any services or duties, or engage in activities as a VISTA member, that supplant the hiring of or result in the displacement of employed workers or other volunteers (not including participants under the DVSA or the National and Community Service Act of 1990, as amended).

(d) A VISTA may not perform any services or duties, or engage in activities as a VISTA member, which impair existing contracts for service.

(e) The requirements of paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section do not apply when the sponsor requires the service in order to avoid or relieve suffering threatened by, or resulting from, a disaster, civil disturbance, terrorism, or war.

(f) A sponsor or subrecipient shall not request or receive any compensation from a VISTA; from a beneficiary of VISTA project services; or any other source for services of a VISTA.

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§2556.155   May a sponsor manage a VISTA project through a subrecipient?

(a) A sponsor may carry out a VISTA project through one or more subrecipients that meet the eligibility criteria of §2556.100.

(b) The sponsor must enter into a subrecipient agreement with each subrecipient. A subrecipient agreement must have at least the following elements:

(1) A project plan to be implemented by the subrecipient;

(2) Records to be kept and reports to be submitted;

(3) Responsibilities of the parties and other program requirements; and

(4) Suspension and termination policies and procedures.

(c) The sponsor retains the responsibility for compliance with a Memorandum of Agreement; the applicable regulations in this Part; and all applicable policies, procedures, and guidance issued by CNCS regarding the VISTA program.

(d) A sponsor shall not request or receive any compensation from a subrecipient for services performed by a VISTA.

(e) A sponsor shall not receive payment from, or on behalf of, the subrecipient for costs of the VISTA assistance, except in two limited circumstances:

(1) For reasonable and actual costs incurred by the sponsor directly related to the subrecipient's participation in a VISTA project; and

(2) For any cost share related to a VISTA placed with the subrecipient in the VISTA project.

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§2556.160   What are the sponsor's requirements for cost share projects?

(a) A sponsor shall enter into a written agreement for cost share as prescribed by CNCS.

(b) A sponsor shall make timely cost share payments as prescribed by CNCS and applicable federal law and regulations.

(c) In addition to other sources of funds, a sponsor may use funds from federal, state, or local government agencies, provided the requirements of those agencies and their programs are met.

(d) Subject to review and approval by CNCS, CNCS may enter into an agreement with another entity to receive and utilize funds to make cost share payments on behalf of the sponsor.

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§2556.165   What Fair Labor Standards apply to VISTA sponsors and subrecipients?

All sponsors and subrecipients that employ laborers and mechanics for construction, alteration, or repair of facilities shall pay wages at prevailing rates as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 276a.

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§2556.170   What nondiscrimination requirements apply to sponsors and subrecipients?

(a) An individual with responsibility for the operation of a project that receives CNCS assistance must not discriminate against a participant in, or member of the staff of, such project on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or political affiliation of such participant or staff member, or on the basis of disability, if the participant or staff member is a qualified individual with a disability.

(b) Any CNCS assistance constitutes Federal financial assistance for purposes of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), and constitutes Federal financial assistance to an education program or activity for purposes of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.).

(c) An individual with responsibility for the operation of a project that receives CNCS assistance may not discriminate on the basis of religion against a participant in such project or a member of the staff of such project who is paid with CNCS funds. This provision does not apply to the employment (with CNCS assistance) of any staff member of a CNCS-supported project who was employed with the organization operating the project on the date the CNCS assistance was awarded.

(d) Sponsors must notify all program participants, staff, applicants, and beneficiaries of:

(1) Their rights under applicable federal nondiscrimination laws, including relevant provisions of the national service legislation and implementing regulations; and

(2) The procedure for filing a discrimination complaint. No sponsor or subrecipient, or sponsor or subrecipient employee, or individual with responsibility for the implementation or operation of a sponsor or a subrecipient, shall discriminate against a VISTA on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, or political affiliation. No sponsor or subrecipient, or sponsor or subrecipient employee, or individual with responsibility for the implementation or operation of a sponsor or a subrecipient, shall discriminate against a VISTA on the basis of disability, if the VISTA is a qualified individual with a disability.

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§2556.175   What limitations are VISTA sponsors subject to regarding religious activities?

(a) A VISTA shall not give religious instruction, conduct worship services or engage in any form of proselytizing as part of his or her duties.

(b) A sponsor or subrecipient may retain its independence and may continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, development, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs, provided that it does not use any CNCS assistance, including the services of any VISTA or VISTA assistance, to support any inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytizing, as part of the programs or services assisted by the VISTA program. If a VISTA sponsor or subrecipient conducts such inherently religious activities, the activities must be offered separately, in time or location, from the programs or services assisted under this Part by the VISTA program.

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