For more than 125 years, Volunteers of America has served on the frontlines helping countless people in need. In 1896, when social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth founded VOA, it was for the same mission we maintain today—to serve those in need. From homeless veterans to seniors and families in need to at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, and those recovering from addiction, our organization continues to transform and empower lives in 400 communities nationwide. In 2021, as we celebrate our 125th anniversary, VOA has become one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive human services organizations with 16,000 paid professionals, touching the lives of 1.5 million people a year. We operate 30 affiliates in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Most recently, VOA launched programs to help those with moral injury. “Volunteers of America has become one of the largest charities in the U.S.,” National President Mike King explained. “When the organization sees an area where assistance is needed, it mobilizes.”
About the Word “Volunteer”
When we were founded, volunteerism had a different meaning. To “volunteer” meant to serve others as a vocation. Early members of VOA called themselves “Volunteers of America,” and carried on under the slogan “For God and Country.”
125 Faces of VOA
For our milestone anniversary, we shared the faces and stories of the varied people who have benefited from this work, as well as the many VOA workers who have dedicated themselves to serving others.
If you’ve landed on this website, there is a good possibility you have been looking for ways to volunteer in your community, and seeing the words, “Volunteers of America,” meant your search was over.
No doubt, volunteering is a good thing because, after all, that’s something that makes the world a better place for all. But as William Shakespeare wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose (or Volunteers of America) by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Simply put, if we changed our name from Volunteers of America, we would still be one of the country’s largest affordable housing and skilled nursing care providers. Our organization’s employees would still not be volunteers, but the 16,000 paid professionals who serve as administrators, caregivers, skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, housing experts, architects, and many other positions that have kept this nonprofit, human services organization running for more than a century.