Volunteer Center
Civic Group
Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

A one-stop shop for volunteering

Years active: 53

Leadership: Karen Delaney, executive director

Their story: In 1967, three women came together to start a organization to develop volunteer programs, operating out of a loaned office space in downtown Santa Cruz. From there, the Volunteer Center has grown to become a one-stop shop for all things related to volunteering. Each year, the organization works with more than 500 community partners to recruit and connect volunteers with projects that need them. The Volunteer Center serves as a sort of conduit to make these connections and help people find places to volunteer while also finding volunteers for organizations who need assistance.

Fundraising focus: The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all things volunteer-related, making it easy for would-be helpers to find out when and where their skills are needed. The most pressing demands at the moment revolve around the recent fires and COVID-19 — sewing face masks, assisting with contact tracing or grocery shopping for vulnerable seniors, for example. Overall, the Volunteer Center mobilizes more than 12,000 people a year who pitch in to make the community better place to live. The center says it matches every dollar given with at least $4 in donated goods and services.