Volunteer Generation Fund

The George H. W. Bush Volunteer Generation Fund is a grant program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Volunteer Generation Fund was established by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, expanding the role of the Corporation for National and Community Service 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.

‚ÄčIn 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;
  • 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 state service commissions administering Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) initiatives below.


The Arizona Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism proposes to expand their current Arizona Service Enterprise Initiative conducted in partnership with the Points Of Light by engaging community organizations to serve as Service Enterprise Initiative hub partners to deliver the Service Enterprise training and certification program and different geographic regions and/or issue areas in the State of Arizona. In the first year, the Commission will partner with four community organizations to deliver the SEI training and certification program to approximately 70 local organizations.


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

1)  The development of local volunteer infrastructure and resources, building the capacity of communities to create a culture of volunteerism. Through grants and specialized training, Volunteer Iowa will support Volunteer Centers and cities 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, including disaster response. Additionally, Volunteer Iowa will provide funding and technical assistance building a network of local Service Enterprise hubs. Hubs will provide assessment, training, and coaching, empowering nonprofits to become Service Enterprises- organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills as a core strategic function to achieve their social mission.

2) The development of statewide volunteerism resources, working directly with nonprofits, government organizations, and the public to leverage the power of volunteering. Volunteer Iowa will provide access to beginning and advanced level volunteer management training statewide through live webinars and trainings. Additionally, Volunteer Iowa will generate measurable improvements in the number of volunteers engaged from specific demographic groups through partnerships to develop senior volunteering initiatives, encourage skills-based volunteering, promote family volunteering, and provide High School-based volunteer program resources. Finally, through partnerships with State Emergency Management, State VOAD, and local communities, Volunteer Iowa will provide training on Volunteer Reception Centers, and encourage pre-registration of response volunteers.


The Kansas Volunteer Commission (KVC) plans to utilize the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grant 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, 3) expand the capacity of schools and districts to utilize volunteers to address educational issues. The KVC will accomplish these goals through three primary activities. First, the KVC will enhance and increase the capacity of volunteer organizations through the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) created by the Points of Lights Foundation. Second, the KVC will offer grants of $10,000 each to five volunteer connector organizations to expand their infrastructure to increase volunteerism statewide. Finally, the KVC will promote and deliver trainings on school-based volunteering to school and district staff. These goals can be found within the Kansas State Service Plan (SSP) and address CNCS focus areas of Capacity Building and Education (Kansas State Service Plan 2017 ' 2019).


The mission of the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) is to engage Kentuckians in volunteerism and service to positively affect our communities. In 2015, Kentucky ranked 36th in the US, with just 23.5% of its residents engaged in volunteering (CNCS, 2015). KCCVS proposes the utilization of the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) support to implement a strong, consistent infrastructure for nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and national service participants.

Employing a multi-faceted approach, KCCVS seeks improvement and growth in volunteerism across Kentucky. More specifically, KCCVS plans to cultivate partnerships with Break Away, Community Action Council, Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Service for Peace, and the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association to increase the capacity of nonprofits seeking solutions in the face of dwindling resources and increasing demand for services.

Through research-based training provided by KCCVS and our partners, organizations acquire the skills to more effectively engage, support, and retain volunteers. Created in 1994, KCCVS fulfills three primary directives: 1) to serve as a conduit for federal funds that support AmeriCorps programs in the Commonwealth; 2) to assist in service program development; and 3) to encourage and recognize volunteerism across the state. Beyond hosting the annual Governor's Service Awards, our ability to support the third directive has been limited by funding constraints. The VGF provides KCCVS the means to promote volunteerism, realizing an overall increase of involvement from Kentuckians. By extension, the proliferation of volunteerism in the state builds the capacity of the nonprofit sector and other organizations. KCCVS requests $303,274 in CNCS funds to support the commission's efforts to increase the number of volunteers across the state, thereby increasing aggregate volunteer hours served and building capacity in the organizations impacted by their services.


With the Volunteer Generation Fund, the Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) will increase effective citizen engagement through volunteering that is skill-based and skill-building. To do this, MCCS will 1) support expanded local and regional volunteer efforts in three impact areas; 2) Develop high level volunteer management practices through expanded Service Enterprise and other Volunteer management training; and 3) launch a statewide public awareness campaign to promote increased volunteerism. At the end of the first program year, these activities will result in 12 organizations receiving high quality volunteer management capacity building (Service Enterprise).

In addition, the funding will leverage 900 local community volunteers who will be engaged in improving seniors abilities to age in place, increasing food security for disadvantaged individuals and providing needed transportation for those in need. This program will concentrate on the CNCS focus area of Capacity Building. The CNCS investment of $222,256 will be matched with $222,311, in public and private funding.


The Massachusetts Service Alliance will carry out a multi-part strategy to enhance volunteer engagement within Volunteer Connector Organizations (VCOs) and youth-serving agencies across Massachusetts. Research has shown that increasing the ratio of adults to youth in our neediest communities improves outcomes for young people. Coupling that with identified needs of our VCOs, has led to a focus on youth-serving organizations for this grant.

We will engage in high impact partnerships, with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Encore Boston Network, and VCOs, in order to deliver our services to organizations that will be most poised to increase their support to youth.

In order to support a wide array of Massachusetts nonprofits in building their volunteer infrastructure, MSA will employ four strategies that will support organizations at different levels of need and capacity. In each year of the VGF grant, MSA will deliver: (1) deep and intensive training and certification to 17 organizations through delivery of the Service Enterprise Initiative; (2) focused in-person and online trainings providing similar best practices to a larger audience; (3) grants for National Days of Service to expand family, intergenerational, and youth-serving volunteer opportunities, and (4) capacity building grants to VCOs and youth-serving agencies to support, replicate, or expand promising youth-development programs through the engagement of volunteers.

As a result of the VGF grant, 5,730 volunteers will serve a total of 27,550 hours, and at least 225 at-risk youth will benefit from by these initiatives each year of the funding cycle. Seventeen organizations will participate in an intensive training and certification program, with an additional 150 unique staff and/or volunteers trained in volunteer management best practices or topics addressing youth development on an annual basis.


The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) intends to use the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to build on the efforts of our past VGF grants. It will 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 is requesting an investment of $320,000 for each of 3 years. MCSC will make the same investment of $320,362 to bring the total annual program budget to $640,362.

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) and HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC), proposes to continue its successful Service Enterprise Initiative to Minnesota organizations, this time providing targeted outreach to organizations serving a culturally diverse client base. In addition, HOTC and MAVA will be creating a new delivery system for the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI), expanding its reach to rural areas of Minnesota. This new delivery system will include transforming the current curriculum into a web-based training, while retaining the experiential nature of the current curriculum. It also maintains the cohort model (made up of 3-7 organizations), which includes training organizations together in order to network and glean best practices from each other. This research-based practice expands volunteerism and will support the engagement of 500 skill-based volunteers annually who will contribute 4,000 hours of service to increase organizational effectiveness. In year four, 120 organizations will be trained; increasing their capacity to recruit, connect and retain 39,500 volunteers who will contribute 316,000 service hours. Combining community and skills-based volunteer efforts, this project will result in an estimated value of nearly $7.7 million over three years.


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.


New York State has the third largest economy in the U.S. but has more income inequality than any other state. Nearly 3 million people in New York struggle with hunger and food insecurity, more than 20% of children in New York don't know where they'll get their next meal.
During last year's Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) cycle, 8,764 New Yorkers volunteered their time to preparing and distributing meals to hungry families. In 2017, the New York State Commission on National and Community Service (the Commission) is ready to direct these volunteer efforts towards eliminating the root causes of hunger.

The Commission is proud to continue the spirit of volunteerism that started with a VGF grant in 2010. Over the past seven years, the Commission has built regional volunteer centers to broaden the reach of New York's most generous residents, deployed thousands of volunteers to help families who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and generated thousands of new volunteers to combat poverty throughout the state.

This year, the Commission is excited to build on these successes to address an urgent issue in our state: ending hunger and food insecurity. The 2017 VGF program is designed to engage volunteers in our mission to make nutritious food available to all New Yorkers, and to address the root causes of hunger.

The Commission will accept proposals from interested nonprofits that aim to alleviate short- and long-term hunger. Successful applicants will act as flagship organizations that recruit, train, place and/or manage volunteers within their own organizations and in partner organizations in their communities. Emphasis will be placed on engaging skilled volunteers who can work to alleviate the root causes of hunger. Applicants must identify how they will build capacity within organizations to more effectively utilize volunteers to address these issues, and make a demonstrable impact related to hunger in NYS.


Serve DC -- The District of Columbia Commission for National & Community Service is applying to support the My Brother's Keeper DC- Strengthening Our Community volunteer generation initiative. This proposal targets organizations working directly with boys and young men of color.

Serve DC, in partnership with a pro bono intermediary organization, will leverage the CNCS investment of $148,333 with $185,000 in match funds. Activities will include recruiting skills based volunteers to improve organizational capacity, providing culturally competent volunteer management training for staff and lead volunteers, and developing tools and resources to support the sustainability of volunteer generation programs targeting men of color in the Washington, DC area. This initiative will be supported with a citywide campaign to promote volunteerism and mentoring among men of color that will include a strong presence online, in social media, and print advertising. By the end of the grant year, Serve DC will have increased the number of volunteers, the number of volunteer hours and the capacity of organizations that serve young men and boys of color.


Volunteer Florida will engage the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to support 22 sub-grantees to generate 6600 skills based volunteers and contribute 44000 hours of service, with a focus on Disaster Services and the Opioid Crisis. Volunteer Florida will provide Disaster Response Management of Spontaneous Volunteers training to all sub-grantees with a disaster services focus, resulting in increased knowledge of management of volunteers in disaster. In addition, VGF will support increased capacity for volunteer management by providing one statewide training supporting 22 sub-grantee organizations to increase effective volunteer management practices. Sub-grantees will opt into one of the six CNCS Focus Areas. The CNCS investment of $413,039 will be matched with $413,039 supporting all CNCS focus areas.


Volunteer NH (VNH) proposes to use Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) dollars to conduct a multi approach statewide campaign to increase volunteer engagement, expand volunteer opportunities and build the capacity of nonprofits to work with volunteers and achieve high impact results (a special emphasis will be on skilled volunteers).

VNH will hire a Volunteer Generation Program Officer who will work with partners, WMUR, iHeart Radio, and Google to conduct a statewide, Call to Volunteer campaign. Working with partner, Granite United Way we will conduct directed outreach to increase the number of registered users on our Get Connected online volunteer database. This will include meeting with organizations to assist with implementation of Get Connected to recruit volunteers and volunteer users.

VNH will also work with the NH Center for Nonprofits (the Center) and the JFFixler Group (JFFixler) to implement the High Impact Volunteer Engagement (HIVE) Project. The HIVE Project will engage 15 nonprofit organizations in training, technical assistance, and coaching related to volunteer management practices to utilize skill-based volunteers. The HIVE Project will support a train-the-trainer model to increase the capacity of the participating programs, the Center, and VNH in the coming years.


The Tennessee Volunteer Generation Fund Coalition (Hands On Nashville, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, United Way of Williamson County, Volunteer East Tennessee, Volunteer Memphis, and Volunteer Tennessee) will increase volunteer recruitment and expand the use of volunteers to increase educational attainment for Tennessee's youth, improve economic outcomes for individuals, and better prepare communities for disasters.

Using high-quality volunteer recruitment, training and management practices, the Tennessee Volunteer Generation Fund Coalition will engage 525 volunteers to address education issues, 750 volunteers to address disaster services issues and 420 volunteers to address economic opportunity issues. The Coalition will provide capacity building services to 60 organizations across Tennessee.


Volunteer West Virginia will improve the efficiency of volunteer management in West Virginia by:

1. Developing a Comprehensive Rural Volunteer Management Training Curriculum to include a Rural Spontaneous Disaster Volunteer Management training and exercise module modelled after the current FEMA curriculum and tailored to meet the needs of rural, mountainous states.

2. Training Volunteer West Virginia Staff and local partners as Instructors in the curriculum. This Train-the-Trainer design will expand the capacity and sustainability of the program in the future.

3. Granting funding of up to $30,000 (including 20% local match) to local nonprofits or cities for expanding, developing, and strengthening volunteer infrastructure which will increase the ability of local organizations to successfully recruit, mobilize and retain volunteers.

This project will operate for three years. In the first year of the project Volunteer West Virginia will utilize $262,295 in federal funds and match with $69,840 state and local cash and inkind resources. In the first year 30 individuals will receive training in Volunteer Management best practices and participate in the development of a new rural volunteer management curriculum which will be available to organizations statewide. At least 10 local organizations will receive capacity building services and those same organizations will generate at least an additional 1,500 volunteers who are placed in high quality volunteer assignments locally and serve a total of 7,500 hours.