Helping America's most vulnerable®

Volunteer Services Fast Facts

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 2016 fiscal year: 65,958

Hours devoted by volunteers to Volunteers of America programs and activities in 2016: 1,357,411

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

  • Youth volunteers under the age of 18: 11,787 or 18%
  • Adults age 18 to 54: 26,306 or 40%
  • Age 55+: 6,000 or 9%

* 21,865 or 33 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 33 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 2003, 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 91,000 high school students to help more than 280,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities. Since its inception, the Action team has involved over 125 Major Leaguers.

The Action Team program now enjoys the support of 100 high schools in 35 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. 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.