It was in 1971 that four prominent community volunteers — Annette Strauss, Mitch Jericho, Jan Sanders and Helen Boothman — recognized the power of and need for volunteers and started a grassroots program called SERV (Special Effort to Recruit Volunteers). They set up shop in an office in downtown Dallas. Over the years the organization’s success required moving to the Wilson Historic District and eventually to a two-story building on Live Oak, as well as a few name changes — Dallas Voluntary Action Center, Volunteer Center of Dallas County, the Volunteer Center of North Texas and, eventually, today’s VolunteerNow.
In the early days, connections were made “through call logs, landlines and a printed directory.”
As Jan recalled, “her top priority in recruitment was to get the volunteer to the agency as quickly as possible and not to let their enthusiasm slip away.”
Thanks to the advent of the worldwide web and high technology, that priority has been ramped up exponentially. As a result, eight years ago the group’s VOLY.org was created to serve as a 24/7 “web-based volunteer recruiting, management, reporting and matching platform.” The timing couldn’t have been better planned. With COVID-19 creating a monumental need for volunteers and many available out-of-work people, VOLY.org was the ideal connector.
To share this wealth of resources, VolunteerNow CEO Tammy Richards is hoping to spread the software platform to other volunteer entities through its 50th anniversary capital campaign.
Luckily for Tammy, longtime volunteer and philanthropist Lyda Hill has stepped up to the plate to help her achieve that goal.
To celebrate VolunteerNow’s 50th anniversary, Lyda Hill Philanthropies has provided a $250,000 match challenge to enhance VOLY.org’s platform.
According to Tammy, “Through this generous grant from Lyda Hill Philanthropies, we will celebrate VolunteerNow’s 50th anniversary milestone by continuing to upgrade and extend our reach to the organizations who need volunteers most.”
This challenge by Lyda fits into her belief that “‘science is the answer’ to many of life’s most challenging issues.”
As Lyda explained, “It is an honor to support VolunteerNow as it celebrates its history and prepares for its future with critical technology and infrastructure investments.”
But all this promise is dependent upon donations, which can be made here.
* Graphic courtesy of VolunteerNow