From Humble Beginnings

Volunteer Fairfax has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1974. In just over 40 years, the programs of this volunteer powerhouse expanded substantially to support the needs of a dynamic community.

In the late seventies, Volunteer Fairfax, then known as the Voluntary Action Center of Fairfax County (VAC), referred 211 volunteers to worthy causes in support of the greater Fairfax County community. Fast forward to 2018, Volunteer Fairfax engaged nearly 16,000 volunteers who donated more than 43,000 hours serving more than 600 nonprofits and public agencies, a value of over $1 million dollars added to the community.

Services and programs offered during the first 10 years of the VAC included directly connecting volunteers to public agencies and nonprofits; attorney and/or court-referred opportunities via our Alternative Community Service program; Seniors in Action and a youth volunteer program. Two staff members worked with a handful of office volunteers and the board of directors.

Volunteer Fairfax now has a budget of 1.2 million dollars, a staff of 14, supported by eight administrative volunteers and an actively engaged 9-member board of directors. Volunteer Fairfax encompasses programs that involve all ages and demographics of the community.

Volunteer Action Center Becomes Volunteer Fairfax

In 1992, the focus of the VAC began to change and the center was renamed Volunteer Fairfax. The direct connection of volunteers was altered to an electronic process in order to accommodate the increase in volunteers seeking ways to serve. A youth volunteer directory was developed which is still prepared each year to assist students looking for service opportunities.

Launch of the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards

In 1993, Volunteer Fairfax instituted the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards to showcase the vital role volunteerism plays in the community. In its first year, 350 people attended this County-wide event. Since its inception over 3,000 individuals, groups and corporations have been recognized for their volunteer efforts. Today, more than 450 community and business leaders honor over 150 nominees annually, making it the largest volunteer recognition event in Fairfax County.

Improving Member Benefit Levels

In 1998, a premium membership program was established at Volunteer Fairfax offering nonprofit and public sector members an additional level of benefits and services. A nonprofit training series and the corporate sponsorship program were also added that year.

Launch of BusinessLink

In 2001, Volunteer Fairfax introduced the BusinessLink program offering businesses of all sizes customized employee service engagement at sites in Northern Virginia and throughout the Greater Washington DC metro region. Engagements range from 10-800 employees serving in the community on one-day to multi-year engagements that leverage a company’s skills and passions to impact those in need. As a Points of Light affiliate, Volunteer Fairfax leverages these same skills to provide corporate activation services.

Launch of the Emergency Response Program

Since the early 2000’s, Volunteer Fairfax serves as the designated lead agency for recruitment and deployment of affiliated and spontaneous volunteers as well as the management of spontaneous volunteers during an emergency in Fairfax County. Emergency Response activations include Hurricane Isabel, Derecho, Winter Storm Jonas and most recently the Centreville fires in May 2018.

Launch of Give Together: A Family Volunteer Day

In 2010, Volunteer Fairfax created Give Together: A Family Volunteer Day held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, gathering families with elementary school-aged children to work on service projects that support local charitable efforts. Annually the event grows allowing more seeds of volunteerism to be sowed.

Award Winning Philanthropy

Since 2011, Volunteer Fairfax has twice been selected as one of the best small nonprofits in the metro region by the Catalogue of Philanthropy.

Launch of RSVP - Northern Virginia

In 2012, Volunteer Fairfax was awarded a Corporation for National and Community Service grant to manage the Retired Senior Volunteer Program - Northern Virginia (RSVP - Northern Virginia) and joined, in a partnership with Volunteer Arlington and Volunteer Alexandria, to support the region’s largest volunteer group for those ages 55 and better. This grant was renewed for another three year term in 2018. RSVP-Northern Virginia is headquartered at Volunteer Fairfax.

World Police and Fire Games

In 2015, Volunteer Fairfax supported recruitment of 6,000 volunteers for Fairfax 2015 World Police and Fire Games.

Partnership with Points of Light

In 2016, Volunteer Fairfax provided project management services to the Points of Light commemoration of the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a Volunteer Service Fair on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

A Snapshot Now

Today, Volunteer Fairfax continues to find new and innovative ways to expand and support the volunteer community in Fairfax County. We now offer 11 different programs and services that serve the interest of volunteers and agencies of all ages and backgrounds.

Looking to the Future

As Volunteer Fairfax looks to the future, in 2019, we upgraded our website thanks to a major grant from the Philip L. Graham Fund. We also relocated to the modernized Burkholder Center, adjacent to the Fairfax Judicial Complex in the heart of Fairfax. With our enhanced presence, both online and in person, we look forward to continuing to inspire and connect even more volunteers of all ages to help make our community a better place to live.