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 20 state service commissions administering Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) initiatives below, totaling $6 million:


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 AmeriCorps Focus Areas. With an AmeriCorps award of $693,820 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 will become a Service Enterprise Hub, implementing the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) directly with organizations in communities where infrastructure is limited. Since 2019, Volunteer Florida is proud to support the VGF Impact Evaluation. 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.

GA: GEORGIA SERVESGeorgia Serves logo

Georgians spent the last year six feet apart, but we've never been closer. Throughout the pandemic, Georgia's volunteers stepped in to deliver food to those in need, wrote notes of encouragement to health care workers, and mentored students by video conference. The Volunteer Generation Fund will enable The Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism (AKA Georgia Serves) to support Hands On Atlanta, northern Georgia's premiere volunteer connector organization, in increasing access to food and enhancing youth development efforts across the region. Addressing food insecurity and youth development are central to the Georgia Serves Unified State Service Plan and are critical to the state's continued COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts. Our strategy is two-fold: 1) Launch a comprehensive digital and print media marketing campaign to increase volunteer engagement with hunger relief and youth development nonprofit organizations; 2) Increase the volunteer management capacity of 40 nonprofit organizations across the food assistance and youth development sectors through trainings, roundtables, access to technology, marketing, and individualized support. Finally, Georgia Serves will launch a Service Enterprise Initiative hub to elevate nonprofits' capacity to use volunteers in all areas of their organization. Research shows that nonprofits operating as a Service Enterprise are as effective as peers but at almost half the median budget, and they are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and scalable. Hands On Atlanta will be certified in the first year and they will train and certify up to eight nonprofits working in hunger relief and education/youth development in the second year. The Volunteer Generation Fund will be the catalyst for 40 Georgia nonprofits to receive capacity building services. At least 36 of those partners (90%) will demonstrate increased capacity to use volunteers in service to their missions through the Volunteer Generation Fund project. Further, these programs will generate 10,000 volunteers who will serve 20,000 hours addressing food insecurity and youth development in our region. The total project budget is $265,175, of which $183,955 is requested from AmeriCorps and the remaining $81,220 will be matched through the grantee share.


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 logo

ServeMinnesota, in partnership with Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA), proposes to continue 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. This organizational training certification expands volunteerism and the use of skills-based volunteers who increase organization’s effectiveness to address chronic community challenges. This effort strengthens the capacity of the state’s volunteer connector organizations to create and connect volunteers with high quality assignments, increasing the number of skills-based volunteers generated and retained. 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.


Volunteer NH will utilize the Volunteer Generation Fund grant in accordance with our mission to engage NH communities to solve local challenges through volunteerism. We will 1) expand the use of our Get Connected website to match individuals with volunteer opportunities, and 2) build the capacity of nonprofits to work with volunteers (with an emphasis on skilled volunteers) by providing grants, training, and support.

Volunteer NH will offer grants both in cohort model and for one-time needs. The cohort will be made up of approximately 13 local, community based entities conducting projects that will expand their capacity to recruit, manage, support, and retain individuals to serve in high quality volunteer assignments. Participating organizations will have access to training and collaboration opportunities in addition to funding. In order to support smaller organizations with reduced staff capacities, Volunteer NH will also offer micro-grant opportunities to non-cohort participants for specific, one-time needs.

Finally, with the goal of providing always-available support to volunteers and volunteer programs throughout the state, Volunteer NH has launched an online volunteer resource center. This will be an ever-expanding hub with new materials created and sourced over time.


The New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service received $485,000 in Volunteer Generation Funding (VGF) to expand and strengthen the ability to engage citizens in meaningful volunteer service and build volunteer management capacity in non-profit organizations. Our program design addresses the following: 1) support entities that recruit, and manage volunteers; 2) deploy skills-based volunteers to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits; 3) expand the capacity of connector organizations to recruit, manage, support, and retain volunteers in high quality assignments; and 4) assist in recovery from the COVID19 pandemic. The Commission funds 11 sub-recipients that together cover NJ's 21 counties. NJ's VGF grant has received a high level of statewide attention, enhanced volunteer recruitment and development among the 5 pilot sub-recipients, and serves as a convening platform for state strategic planning. Based on the success of our pilot group, we added 5 agencies to NJ's portfolio. We received many inquiries from volunteer organizations on how they too could get involved. Through a Notice of Intent process, five were selected to join the original five sub-recipients. "Jersey Strong," has an even stronger focus with the inclusion of statewide recovery from COVID19. NJ has the second highest impact of the virus. The Commission, its VGF Program and the Governor's Office of Volunteerism have taken the lead developing statewide guidelines for "Volunteering in a Time of Social Distancing", and providing support of the Governor's volunteerism portal, virtual recruitment, and deployment of volunteers throughout the state. A $485,000 investment by CNCS supports the recruitment of 10,000 unique volunteers and over 300,000 hours of direct service each year. It will also support the specialized training to expand the capacity of NJ's connector organizations' volunteer management infrastructure reaching over 1,500 agencies.


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. 

NC: VOLUNTEER NORTH CAROLINAVolunteer North Carolina logo

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.

TX: ONESTAROneStar logo

With the Volunteer Generation Fund grant, OneStar will strengthen the volunteer sector in Texas leading to increases in accessibility of volunteer opportunities. OneStar will utilize a multi-prong approach to strengthen the pathways for nonprofits to access and support volunteers and for individual Texans to volunteer. This will be accomplished through the following approaches: 1. OneStar will convene volunteer centers through the Texas Association of Volunteer Centers to increase capacity of the existing statewide volunteer infrastructure, 2. Training to nonprofits and agencies that utilize volunteers will be provided through the statewide Texas Volunteer Management Conference, 3. Tailored support to increase volunteerism in rural Texas communities will be provided through rural volunteer sector development, 4. OneStar will advance the accessibility of volunteerism through VolunteerTX, an online volunteer connector platform, and 5. OneStar will promote volunteerism in Texas with the goal to increase volunteer rates by creating a promotional campaign and highlighting the importance of volunteering through the Governor's Volunteer Awards.


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.

WI: SERVE WISCONSINServe Wisconsin logo

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.