In honor of National Volunteer Week, we are featuring the impact of the Volunteer Generation Fund, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
By Rachel Bruns
Since the Volunteer Generation Fund was created as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009 it has quietly and dutifully expanded the infrastructure for volunteer engagement throughout the country.
The goals of Volunteer Generation Fund as described in the legislation are:
- To assist nonprofit, faith based, and other civic organizations by expanding and improving the capacity of such organizations to utilize such volunteers;
- Spur innovation in volunteer recruitment and management practices, with the goal of increasing the number of volunteers;
- Enable the people of the U.S. to effect change by participating in active volunteer and citizen service.
As many of us in the nonprofit sector understand, effective volunteer engagement takes time and resources, and certainly does not magically materialize. We also know that organizations who engage volunteers well, are more effective at all organizational capacities (TCC Group). This underlines the importance of the Volunteer Generation Fund.
The Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) has started to make significant strides. In the coming months, we will feature the work of the 18 states with VGF funding. In the meantime, here are some highlights:
California: The CaliforniaVolunteers Service Enterprise Initiative recognizes those organizations that excel in the recruitment, management, and integration of volunteers into their organizational strategy. Through local volunteer centers, this initiative strengthens organizations with a comprehensive research-backed assessment, training, consulting and certification model allowing them to realize higher programmatic impact and generate greater operational effectiveness through volunteer engagement. Learn more.
Florida: From 2010-2013, the Volunteer Florida BEST Neighborhoods Program used a strength-based assessment and neighboring models to expand the capacity of volunteer connector organizations to recruit, manage and train volunteers from diverse backgrounds. The program supported 60 organizations who engaged 47,000 volunteers in 300,000 hours of service, valued at $6.8 million. Learn more.
Iowa: The area of the state covered by a volunteer connecting organization has increased 300%. An evaluation of VGF in Iowa states, “Communities are better positioned now than they were four years ago to support volunteerism across the state”. Learn more.
Kansas: Created the Kansas STEM Mentoring Initiative, to increase the number of STEM mentors serving the youth of Kansas and support STEM education. Learn more.
Tennessee: The Volunteer Generation Fund Coalition is a concentrated effort to recruit volunteers to address educational challenges in the state. Coalition members are committed to increasing the recruitment of volunteers for schools and afterschool settings.
Washington: Youth United in Pierce County worked with 36 high schools, and awarded their signature “varsity letter in service” to almost 500 students who completed and documented at least 145 hour of service.
New York: The NY Commission is working with five nonprofit organizations, located throughout New York State that will involve volunteers in efforts to alleviate poverty and increase opportunity for New Yorkers. Learn more.
Massachusetts: During the first four years of VGF, 104 nonprofit agencies supported meaningful service opportunities during National Days of Service, engaging more than 31,700 volunteers in 104,00 hours of service. Learn more.
Stay tuned to see more information about the impact of VGF in the coming months!