Volunteer Generation Fund

The George H. W. Bush Volunteer Generation Fund is a grant program funded by federal AmeriCorps agency. The Volunteer Generation Fund was established by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, expanding the role of the AmeriCorps agency in strengthening the nation’s volunteer infrastructure. Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA) introduced the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) as an amendment to the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed into law on April 21, 2009, to build the capacity of state and local volunteer organizations to recruit, manage and train volunteers.

​In 2013, President Obama named the Volunteer Generation Fund in honor of President George H. W. Bush during a special ceremony awarding the 41st President with the 5,000th Daily Points of Light Award.

The goals of Volunteer Generation Fund as described in the Serve America Act 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; and
  • Enable the people of the U.S. to effect change by participating in active volunteer and citizen service.




Current VGF Initiatives

Learn more about the 22 state service commissions administering Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) initiatives below, totaling $6.4 million:


The current pandemic has brought Californians together. Californians are stepping up and meeting this moment. As the State Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the state office tasked with disaster volunteer and donations management per Emergency Support Function (ESF) 17, California Volunteers is requesting $197,235, which will be matched by $138,863 in match, for a total investment of $336,098 to launch a statewide volunteer engagement and capacity strategy. Focused on building the disaster resiliency of nonprofits, this investment will leverage the state's greatest assets, all Californians, to develop a robust and innovative statewide volunteerism framework. Currently activated to support the state response to COVID-19, California Volunteers remains a leader within volunteer management and engagement, connecting Californians with critical campaigns. Utilizing cross-sectoral partnerships and building off the foundation of previous innovations, California Volunteers will call on all Californians to serve. California Volunteers proposes leveraging the Volunteer Generation Fund to expand on the current Californians For All initiative through a two-part strategy: 1. Investing in a regional approach to build the volunteer capacity of local nonprofits/faith-based organizations and 2. Creating a framework to connect Californians to service opportunities in communities across the state.


Serve Colorado and Spark the Change Colorado/ Metro Volunteers propose a two-pronged approach to expanding volunteer services in the state of Colorado. We propose: 1) an expansion of mental health services to low income individuals including children and seniors by engaging Pro Bono volunteers to southern Colorado, specifically in Pueblo and surrounding counties and northern metro counties specifically Broomfield; and will increase the ability of 10 nonprofit organizations to utilize the skills of volunteers at all levels their organizations through the Service Enterprise Initiative. SEI is a program of Points of Light based in research compiled under the leadership of the Re-imagining Service team. Certified Service Enterprise organizations operate at half the median budget of peer organizations and have a return on their volunteer investment of 600%. The program includes an assessment, the Service Enterprise Diagnostic, a debrief of the results of the SED, 16 hours of change management training, 10 hours of coaching and concludes with a site visit to determine whether the organization exhibits the characteristic of a Service Enterprise through evidence. This grant will expand existing Pro Bono Mental Health Counseling programs in Pueblo county. The program coordinates services of pro bono licensed mental health professionals to provide free mental health services to low-income and poverty level individuals and families. In Pueblo, Spark the Change Colorado serves approximately 325 individuals per year through the volunteer efforts of 16 pro bono mental health counselors working at Host Sites and in Private Practice settings. This programming is powered by volunteer licensed mental health professionals and is slotted for expansion to more sites across Pueblo County, especially in middle schools. Our request will assist in implementing and expanding the Pro Bono program in counties surrounding Pueblo County. This includes engaging additional pro bono counselors for the professional volunteer network. Spark the Change Colorado will also provide its online volunteer matching tool for nonprofits to recruit new volunteers.  


Volunteer Florida will engage the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to support 24 sub-grantees to generate 9,600 skills based volunteers and contribute 72,000 hours of service, with a focus on organizations that primarily serve rural communities and increasing economic opportunities for communities by preparing people for the workforce. 

Sub-grantees will opt into one of the six CNCS Focus Areas. With a CNCS award of $658,401, VGF will expand evaluation efforts, support increased capacity for volunteer management by providing statewide training, webinars and technical assistance for 24 subgrantee organizations. As a result, subgrantee organizations will increase capacity in three or more of the eight effective volunteer management practices, contributing to increased organizational effectiveness. Volunteer Florida is proud to support the first evaluation of VGF in 2019. The evaluation results showed that organizations made strong gains in most of the eight volunteer management practices, with strongest gains in Recruiting and Marketing to prospective volunteers. Organizations also reported the their top benefit of receiving the VGF grant was the value of Volunteer Florida’s training and technical related to volunteer management.


Serve Illinois, in accordance with its mission to help all persons recognize their ability and responsibility to help strengthen their communities through volunteerism and community service, will utilize the Volunteer Generation Fund to increase the ability of Illinois organizations and communities to recruit and retain volunteers with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of organizations that are well-prepared to manage volunteers and increasing the number of Illinoisans that volunteer. In order to accomplish the objectives of this grant, Serve Illinois will implement a three-point service network plan that will include: 1) support of Illinois' Civics in the Classroom initiative that is working to have every middle school and high school student take part in curriculum-based service-learning programming as a requirement for graduation, 2) providing organizational and individual training opportunities, including support of Illinois Service Enterprise Hub and through regional conferences, to increase volunteer management competency, and 3) to increase Illinois' volunteerism infrastructure by supporting existing volunteer connecting organizations while creating new volunteer connecting organizations in under-served areas of the state.


Volunteer Iowa plans to utilize the Volunteer Generation Fund grant to build on the success of previous years through two main approaches:

1) Strengthen Iowa’s volunteer infrastructure, enhancing and expanding statewide and local resources for increasing volunteer engagement capacity. Through funding, specialized training, and resources, Volunteer Iowa will support continuing and new Volunteer Centers and other local institutions to: connect citizens with opportunities to serve, increase capacity of local organizations to engage volunteers in meaningful service, promote volunteering, and develop local programming that leverages volunteers to meet community needs. Additionally, Volunteer Iowa will build a network of Service Enterprise hubs to certify organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to achieve their social mission.

2) Pilot new initiatives to meet emerging needs around disaster response, strengthening rural cities, and empowering youth as Iowa’s newest volunteer force. By developing easy to use toolkits, hosting workshops paired with ongoing learning cohorts, and providing implementation funding, Volunteer Iowa will refine strategies and resources for communities to prepare for and respond to disaster; for cities to leverage their greatest assets, their citizens, to survive and thrive during challenging times; and for schools to develop Iowa’s future leaders through service learning and volunteerism.


The mission of the Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC) is to empower all Kansans to meet community needs through service. The KVC, a program of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), plans to utilize the Volunteer Generation Fund grant to expand the capacity of Kansas volunteer organizations to recruit, manage, support and retain skilled volunteers and mentors. Additionally, the KVC will leverage its position within the KSDE to cultivate community partnerships between school districts and volunteer connector organizations in order to create a network that facilitates community volunteer service, civic engagement, service learning, and mentoring.

Requested funds will be used to expand and support the capacity of Kansas volunteer connector organizations through focused efforts that include the facilitation of the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI), targeted training and technical assistance for volunteer/mentor organizations, capacity-building subgrants, volunteer support mini-grants, and strategic networking opportunities. This will be accomplished by offering strategic networking opportunities around training topics that appeal to both nonprofit and education entities, such as volunteer service safety protocols, digital volunteerism, mentoring, civic engagement, youth service learning, skilled volunteer initiatives and volunteer program sustainability.


In the third year continuation of the (VGF) grant, Volunteer Louisiana Commission will continue to collaborate with strategic partners on a multi-phase initiative to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Volunteer Louisiana will promote preparedness messaging and build disaster volunteer capacity through skill-based training statewide, creating a sustainable pool of disaster resilience volunteers. Volunteer Louisiana will enhance its volunteer management system and collaborate with local volunteer connector agencies to better integrate data systems.


The Massachusetts Service Alliance will carry out a multi-part strategy to build capacity and enhance volunteer engagement within Volunteer Connector Organizations (VCOs), schools and nonprofits across Massachusetts. The focus of the grant will be on capacity building particularly within youth-serving organizations in an effort to better support youth as well as enable youth to become more active citizens themselves. We will engage in high impact partnerships, with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Points of Light, Inspiring Service, and VCOs, in order to deliver our services to organizations that will be most poised to increase their impact. In order to support a wide array of Massachusetts nonprofits, MSA will employ five strategies that will support organizations at different levels of need and capacity. Each year, MSA will deliver: (1) deep and intensive training and certification to at least 15 organizations through delivery of the Service Enterprise Initiative; (2) focused in-person and online trainings and a statewide conference providing best practices from the field; (3) grants to community-based organizations and schools to support the implementation of a Service-Learning initiative developed by DESE; (4) grants to community-based organizations and VCOs for capacity-building in volunteer engagement specifically for either youth-serving programming or for COVID-19 recovery efforts; and (5) creation of a new advanced online platform to connect volunteers and organizations.  As a result of the VGF grant, 5,200 volunteers will serve a total of 18,200 hours, and at least 2,200 at-risk youth will benefit from these initiatives each year of the funding cycle.  Fifteen organizations will participate in an intensive training and certification program, with an additional 200 unique staff and/or volunteers trained in volunteer management best practices on an annual basis through trainings and the biannual conference.


With the Volunteer Generation Fund, Volunteer Maine, the State Service Commission, will support volunteer and local governmental agencies that have been impacted by the Corona Virus Emergency using a variety of approaches. MCCS will: 1) Support responding agencies with high quality volunteer management training (including Service Enterprise and other Volunteer management training; 2) Provision of technical assistance to volunteer programs needing to re-form and re-establish volunteer service strategies due to COVID-19 prevention strategies; 3) Support expanded emergency volunteer efforts through increased registration of disaster volunteers in the statewide emergency volunteer database; 4) Launch a statewide public awareness campaign to promote volunteerism supporting ongoing needs related to pandemic response and recovery.  At the end of the first program year, these activities will result in 18 organizations receiving high quality volunteer management capacity building and an additional 15 organizations receiving specific technical assistance. The funding will also leverage 500 new local community volunteers who will be enrolled in the MaineReady.org platform. This program will concentrate on the CNCS focus area of Capacity Building. The CNCS investment of $132,958 will be matched with $47,341 in public and private funding despite no match being required under a CNCS provided waiver.


The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) is using the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to strengthen the infrastructure and capacity of nonprofits, corporations, and state government to utilize best practices that lead to increasing the number of volunteers recruited and managed across the state in both rural and urban environments.

The project will expand skills-based volunteerism through mentorship, coordination and employee engagement programs. These goals are in alignment with MCSC's State Service Plan and with the CNCS focus areas of Education and Capacity Building. The MCSC has received an investment of $319,183. MCSC is matching that investment with $320,056 to bring the total annual program budget to $639,239.

The Michigan VGF grant will focus on two initiatives to meet the goals of expanding volunteerism throughout the state: 1. Increase the number of volunteers recruited, including skills-based volunteers, through employee and youth volunteer programs that share and utilize best practices and collaborate to meet community needs. 2. Strengthen the capacity and infrastructure of nonprofits by identifying resources and collaborating regionally to meet compelling needs and enhance the utilization of best practices in recruiting and managing volunteers.


ServeMinnesota, in partnership with Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA), proposes to continue delivering its successful Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) to Minnesota organizations, including their new web-based SEI modules, which expand the reach to rural areas of Minnesota. SEI offers organizations updated systems for engaging volunteers in new and impactful ways. MAVA's primary objective is to build capacity for effective volunteer engagement by providing more organizations access to this proven curriculum. MAVA will provide a tiered approach to skill-building including entry-level training opportunities, Volunteer Impact Leadership Training, and SEI training. These tiered training opportunities will be enhanced with topic-based professional development and an industry-wide annual conference. In addition, MAVA will incubate innovation by awarding connector grants into nonprofit organizations in Greater MN that demonstrate the ability to create pioneering practices. In the coming year, 200 organizations will be trained; increasing their capacity to recruit, connect and retain 40,000 volunteers who will contribute 500,000 service hours. Combining community and skills-based volunteer efforts, this project will result in an estimated value of over $14 million.


Mississippi nonprofits tackle a myriad of serious social and economic problems that face our rural state, as well as those arising from weather-related disasters. They need access to the people and resources that build their capacity to shape stronger, more disaster-resilient communities. Currently, there is not one organization that offers volunteer recruitment and engagement, networking for potential funders and nonprofits, and training and technical support as a comprehensive package, and, in many regions, only one or none of the services is offered. Through established partnerships with the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy, the Mississippi Community Foundation Network, and Mississippi United Ways, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (Volunteer Mississippi) will provide regionally accessible, comprehensive capacity building services to nonprofits as well as disaster-resiliency programming to communities through strategically placed Volunteer & Nonprofit Resource Hubs (Hubs). Hubs will provide volunteer connection and nonprofit resource center services, give nonprofits access to potential funders and funding resources, and provide Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) training and disaster support; from locations accessible to outlying rural areas. To increase volunteer connection efficiencies, Hubs will network with and support existing volunteer centers, college/university volunteer programs, employee volunteer programs, and other volunteer connector organizations within their regions. In the coming year 8 regional Hubs will provide capacity building and disaster resiliency services to more than 750 nonprofit organizations; with 60 organizations implementing at least 3 effective volunteer management practices.


Volunteer NH (VNH), New Hampshire’s State Service Commission, will  use Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) dollars to increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations to engage volunteers in the Granite State. This grant has two main aspects. The first is to promote and encourage the frequent use of Volunteer NH’s statewide online volunteer opportunity database, Get Connected. VNH will also provide training and support for both individuals and nonprofit organizations to ensure full use of the site.  

The second aspect of the grant will be the creation of a VGF Cohort. This cohort will be made up of 13-15 organizations across the state that have identified a project around developing, improving or expanding the use of their volunteer programs. These organizations will be given mini-grants, training, support, monitoring, and opportunities to collaborate with each other as they work to increase their capacity to engage volunteers to solve community problems.


The New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service (NJ Commission) is requesting $283,333 in Volunteer Generation Funding (VGF) to strengthen the state's ability to engage more citizens in meaningful volunteer service and build volunteer management capacity in non-profit organizations. Our program design addresses all three aspects of the purpose of the VGF: (1) support community-based entities that recruit, manage, and support volunteers; (2) deploy skilled-based volunteers to strengthen the capacity of education-related nonprofits to effectively solve problems; and (3) expand the capacity of New Jersey's volunteer connector organizations to recruit, manage, support, and retain individuals in high quality volunteer assignments, particularly youth volunteers. The State Commission will also develop a media strategy, "Jersey Strong:I Am a Volunteer", to drive more potential volunteers to the Volunteer NJ! portal matching them with quality service through non-profit partners.

Through this initiative, the state will raise its ranking in the "Volunteering in America" survey from its current 46th position to 40th at the end of three years; college volunteerism, currently ranked 50th will rise in ranking to 44th. The NJ Commission proposal includes five eligible organizations to be the pilot group for our VGF program: the United Way of Northern NJ (covering a 5-county region); NJ Campus Compact (including 10 colleges in 7 urban regions); the Volunteer Center of South Jersey (covering a 7-county region); the New Start Career Network (statewide);and the Volunteer Center of Burlington County (covering the largest county of NJ). A $283,333 investment by CNCS in NJ will support the recruitment of 5,000 unique volunteers and over 150,000 hours of direct service each year. The new volunteers and new volunteer management infrastructure will support delivery of additional and sustainable direct services throughout the state.


Nevada Volunteers utilizes funding from the Volunteer Generation Fund to implement three interventions to increase the capacity of Nevada organizations to effectively manage volunteers and increase volunteerism across Nevada: 1) Expand the reach of our statewide website, NVVolunteerConnect.org, to connect organizations with a diverse base of volunteers; 2) provide capacity-building mini-grants to organizations interested in implementing new evidence-based volunteer management best practices; and 3) provide training and technical assistance to organizations on evidence-based volunteer management best practices. 


According to the National Council on Nonprofits, the top two challenges for nonprofits are limited resources and increased demands on resources resulting from the growing need in communities. In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 de-incentivized charitable giving resulting in a decline in charitable contributions of 1.7% in 2018. With the recent COVID-19 crisis, nonprofits are already seeing an additional decrease in donations in 2020. That translates to a need for more volunteers to fill the gaps in nonprofits. The North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service (VolunteerNC) survey found nonprofits were not able to meet the needs in the community because they do not have adequate numbers of volunteers to provide services. VolunteerNC will use VGF funds to address this gap by reaching out to individuals and corporations to engage volunteers, connecting and collaborating with volunteer centers, nonprofits, and agencies throughout the state, and providing training to nonprofits to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. 

One of the biggest challenges faced by the state of North Carolina is the devastation caused by natural disasters, most notably hurricanes, but also flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and mud slides. Immediately after a disaster, volunteers are eager to assist, even coming from out of state. Recovery groups report that as time passes, volunteer numbers drop dramatically, and it becomes a challenge to engage enough volunteers to continue the cleanup and rebuilding for multiple disasters. Volunteer Generators will engage and coordinate volunteers in their region in respond to their community need. In addition, training and capacity building of our rural non-profits through Service Enterprise Initiative training will increase community services by leveraging volunteer's time and skills. VolunteerNC also plans to increase Corporate engagement with an Employee Volunteer Initiative, and new initiatives to target future retirees and engage youth will ensure lifelong service.


ServeOhio is requesting $157,592 to expand volunteering in Ohio by strengthening the capacity of nonprofit organizations to recruit, manage, support, and retain skills-based volunteers. To achieve this, ServeOhio will develop and implement a Skills-Based Volunteerism Training Program which will equip 10 Ohio nonprofits per year with intensive training and ongoing support to effectively engage skills-based volunteers in highly-defined projects to increase organizational capacity. Selected nonprofits will 1) attend an intensive 2-day SBV Boot Camp; 2) identify, develop, and manage at least one skills-based volunteer project by the end of year 1; 3) participate in monthly coaching calls; 4) participate in quarterly cohort webinars; and 5) attend an in-person Skills-Based Volunteerism workshop at the Ohio Conference on Service & Volunteerism. At the end of the program year, 10 Ohio nonprofits will develop one high-impact skills-based volunteerism project each, which will engage a total of 60 skills-based volunteers in 2,880 hours of service.

Additionally, ServeOhio will administer 40 grants to grassroots and community nonprofit organizations to support volunteer projects organized for MLK Day, Global Youth Service Day, ServeOhio Day, and Make a Difference Day. At the end of the program year, the national days of service projects will engage a total of 2,600 volunteers in 7,480 hours of service.


The United Way Association of South Carolina, serving as the alternative administrative entity for the state's Commission on National and Community Service, proposes to implement the South Carolina Volunteer Generation Fund (SC-VGF). This initiative will use evidence-informed principles to increase both overall volunteer engagement throughout the state, as well as enhance the ability of key stakeholders to utilize the talents of skilled-based volunteers to support the services provided by the nonprofit sector. The volunteers engaged as a result of this initiative will serve to support all six CNCS Focus Areas, which include disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. 

Overarching project goals for the FY 2018-2019 SC-VGF program include the following: 1) Provide partner agencies with the necessary financial resources needed to support the implementation of evidence-based strategies that will increase volunteer engagement; 2) Facilitate renewed collaboration and engagement between organizations, agencies, and corporations active in volunteer engagement across the state; and 3) Provide increased technical assistance regarding corporate and skill-based volunteer engagement.

Through the activities listed above, SC-VGF will increase the capacity of 180 organizations, which will enable them to manage a total of 9,080 general and skill-based volunteers who will serve at least 36,320 hours towards working to meet the state's most pressing needs. The CNCS investment of $255,956 will be matched at an equal rate by private resources that will also be used to support the project.


The Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism (UServeUtah) is utilizing Volunteer Generation Fund resources (VGF) to expand and implement the Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement framework developed by Stanford University to engage nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in increasing their impact in the community through volunteerism. This will be accomplished through incorporation of Pathways in the following new and existing programming: (1) a suite of training courses for nonprofits and businesses to reimagine their volunteer practices, (2) capacity building and social change mentorship for youth, and (3) community engagement grants focused on creating and realizing sustainable impact for a community. These comprehensive programs will result in impact-driven change for our state's future. Over the next 3 years, 90 organizations will receive organizational change-management training with over 630 individual staff members trained in effective volunteer utilization practices. Additionally, 48 executives from the nonprofit and business sectors will receive training on skills-based volunteering and engage in cross-sector partnership development. Over 350 youth will better understand their role in social change and develop new strategies to engage other youth in service. Over 300 youth will be honored through the High School Volunteer Honors Program. Approximately 50 organizations will receive grant funding to support critical programming focused on increasing Utahns' participation in community engagement initiatives. In addition to incorporating the Stanford Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement into all programming, UServeUtah will develop a public-facing online tool using the Pathways model. We anticipate over 2,500 individuals, in-particular our older adult and youth populations, will use this tool to identify skills and interests and better understand their role in the various facets of community engagement.


Serve Washington, the state commission on national and community services, (ServeWA) was created through executive order in 1994 under the vision that national service, volunteerism, and civic engagement are the foundation for caring communities and a thriving Washington.  ServeWA intends to use the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to build upon the successful long-term partnerships with 501 Commons, and the Volunteer Centers of Washington (VCW) network to support high quality volunteer opportunities for all Washingtonians.  Specifically, ServeWA will utilize VGF resources to 1) expand the capacity of volunteer organizations to recruit, manage, support and retain skilled or high-need volunteers, 2) expand volunteer connector organizations' infrastructure to increase volunteerism statewide, and 3) develop statewide resources, working directly with volunteer centers, nonprofits, government organizations and the public.


Serve Wisconsin will utilize the 2020 Volunteer Generation Fund to support all streams of National Service in Wisconsin to prepare, respond, and recover from disasters by building a national service volunteer force across the state and strengthening the partnerships and collaborative efforts in the local communities between national service, volunteer organizations, businesses, and governments statewide. Serve Wisconsin will work with identified stakeholders to develop local Community/Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD/VOADs) groups throughout the state. Serve Wisconsin will generate volunteers and increase engagement by offering disaster related training and exercise that include the three phases of the disaster cycle: preparedness, response, and recovery. 


ServeWyoming's mission is to improve lives and strengthen Wyoming communities through volunteerism. To accomplish this mission, ServeWyoming established a single resource and central clearinghouse for helping communities and individual organizations with volunteer support-related services, called Volunteer Wyoming. The goal of Volunteer Wyoming is to increase the number and effectiveness of volunteers in Wyoming and to support nonprofits with volunteer recruitment and management. 

Through a mutual partnership with Wyoming community colleges and nonprofits, ServeWyoming is re-launching the Professional Volunteer Network (PVN) Initiative.  PVN is designed to lead, mobilize and engage Wyoming volunteers and degree-seeking community college students to give their time, professional expertise and applied learning to nonprofits in need of volunteer management and capacity building support, in the form of short-term, training-focused projects known as Service Grants.  

To re-build the PVN Initiative, ServeWyoming will leverage the education and expertise of community college students participating in service learning curriculum, pair them with a professional volunteer who will mentor them through a short-term project with a local nonprofit in need of capacity building support. By partnering with Wyoming community colleges that support service learning curriculum, students are offered the opportunity to give back in a truly meaningful way that utilizes their skills and education in a real-world setting, while nonprofits stand to receive volunteer management and capacity building assistance from skilled professionals that they would otherwise be unable to afford.