About VCW

What is VCW?

Volunteer Centers of Washington (VCW) is a statewide association that strengthens, develops and connects volunteer centers by sharing expertise and resources. VCW convenes members to share knowledge and resources.  Previously funded by the Volunteer Generation Fund, VCW is now an all-volunteer organization.

What is a Volunteer Center?

Volunteer Centers foster and develop volunteerism in individual communities, generally by connecting individuals with opportunities to volunteer.  They also promote volunteerism via outreach and program design (for example, special volunteer days and events, Volunteer Reader programs, and staffing homeless shelters.) The centers encourage effective volunteering by hosting learning opportunities in volunteer management and other aspects of non-profit administration..

How did it start?

VCW was modeled after the successful Volunteer Centers of Michigan.  It was founded in 2006 under the direction of Sara Ballard, who moved from Michigan to work at Snohomish County’s United Way and then to manage the independent Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties. During the first four years, the association was funded solely by member dues and in-kind donations. Whatcom, Snohomish, Skagit, Clark, King, Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties have been consistent members since the beginning of the association.  

In 2010, VCW partnered with 501Commons and the Washington State Commission for National Service to receive a 3-year Volunteer Generation Fund federal grant.  With that grant, the association was able to distribute over $250,000 a year to member centers, to build capacity, train partner non-profits, and underwrite member staffs’ professional development. In addition, in 2012, VCW and 501Commons drafted the Washington Serves Plan, a strategic plan for increasing the numbers, value and impact of volunteers in Washington.  

After 7 years of VGF funding, that money is now being allocated to other states, and VCW is again an all volunteer run organization.