Helping America's most vulnerable™

Volunteer Services Fact Sheet

Our definition of “volunteerism” and how we came to be named Volunteers of America.

When Volunteers of America was founded in 1896, volunteerism derived from a military context and to “volunteer” one’s time in service to others was a full-time commitment. Our founders, Maud and Ballington Booth, and other early members of our organization came to call themselves Volunteers of America because they volunteered their whole lives to help people in need. This included - not only volunteering their time - but also their hearts, their spirits and their professional prosperity.

Today, Volunteers of America helps more than 2.5 million people in over 400 communities in 46 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico through programs that are staffed by full-time, paid professionals who have adopted this same ideal of service as their full-time mission. However, that does not mean that we do not also depend on an army of modern-day “volunteers” who offer their free time to support our programs nationwide.

Number of volunteers working with Volunteers of America programs during the 2013 fiscal year:  55,653

Hours devoted by volunteers to Volunteers of America programs and activities in 2013: 1,497,905

Our volunteers range in age from young children to seniors, and all ages in between*:

  • Youth volunteers under the age of 18: 14,661 or 26%
  • Adults age 18 to 54: 20,328 or 36%
  • Age 55+: 8,604 or 16%

* 12,060 or 22 percent of volunteers did not identify themselves as being part of a specific age group

Volunteers perform a wide range of work for Volunteers of America’s 34 local offices, including:

  • Deliver Meals on Wheels or provide other direct client services
  • Act as committee and advisory committee members or serve on local boards of directors
  • Provide administrative support such as answering phones, performing clerical work, research, facility maintenance, food or clothing collection, etc.
  • Recruit and manage other volunteers
  • Provide professional services (legal, public relations, training, motivational speaking)

About the Action Team youth volunteerism program:

In 2002, Volunteers of America partnered with the Major League Baseball Players Trust to create Action Team, with a goal to promote the nurturing and well-being of America’s children and their families. The partnership features the personal involvement of Major League baseball players and high school student volunteers with a variety of programs conducted by Volunteers of America throughout the United States.

To date, Action Teams of high school students and Major Leaguers across the country have inspired 65,000 high school students to help more than 205,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities. Since its inception, the Action team has involved over 100 Major Leaguers.

The Action Team program now enjoys the support of 130 high schools in 30 states, Puerto Rico and Tokyo, Japan. Volunteers of America affiliates administer the Action Team program in 20 cities: Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Mobile, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C.