Our Mission is to serve people and communities in need and create opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others.
Over the years, Volunteers of America has established itself as The Place to Turn for our community's most vulnerable individuals. In fact, we are so effective that community leaders have sought out our organization for years to help address the region’s most critical human service issues. We operate around the belief that individuals want to be self sufficient and personally responsible. Our programs and services focus on meeting basic needs and promoting self sufficiency by giving the families, children, seniors, and disabled adults we serve the tools and resources needed to be healthy and successful. Volunteers of America continues to seek opportunities to build community capacity for human service resources by consistently opening its doors, its resources and its pocketbook to fill local, unmet needs.
We invite you to learn more about us through the following links:
The name "Volunteers of America" was selected when the organization was founded in 1896. In those days, a volunteer was anyone who was committed to a mission or cause, so the name signified that the organization was comprised of people who had chosen to spend their lives helping others. Today our services are delivered through a partnership made up of professional staff, volunteers and other community supporters. Volunteers are instrumental in every aspect of the organization's ministry of service, and help us reach more people than we could with staff time alone.
The Volunteers of America movement spread to Western Washington in 1898, just two years after founders Ballington and Maud proclaimed in New York that they would go where they were needed, and do whatever came to hand." Helping where help is needed and teaching people how to lead self-sufficient lives have been cornerstone principles in this evolving organization.
As the Booths were charting the organization’s national history, for many years locally, Volunteers of America developed its community-based programs separately at two affiliate locations, one in Seattle and one in Everett. In 1999, the two affiliates merged into what is now known as Volunteers of America Western Washington and now responds to 350,000 requests for assistance each year.
Responding to Needs in Western Washington
Volunteers of America was an evangelical presence in Seattle in 1898. After becoming incorporated in 1912 as Volunteers of America of Washington, the organization’s work gradually evolved into a social service organization As the years progressed these services included a Seattle soup kitchen in the 1930’s, thrift stores in the 1940’s and, after World War II, a summer camp for children from low-income families.
Volunteers of America Northwest Washington began in Everett, in 1915. Operating as an outpost of the Seattle-based Washington affiliate, the organization offered early programs that centered on the Men’s Rehabilitation Center and the thrift store programs. Emergency assistance and religious counseling programs were also offered on a limited basis. By 1927, services expanded to meet the area’s growing needs and the outpost became a separate branch of National Volunteers of America. A newly built facility housed its four programs.
Between 1927 and 1978, the Volunteers of America in Everett grew to include several new programs including a mission Sunday school, youth programs and a summer camp in Sultan, named Camp Volasuca. In 1971 and 1974, through many local partnerships, new camp facilities were built including a large and small A-frame and a bathhouse.
The organization steadily evolved between 1978 and the present day. The most dramatic change in this time took place in 1985 when the national office granted the local Volunteers of America a charter to begin to operate as a Washington State nonprofit corporation. The local Advisory Board became a Board of Directors responsible for approving policy and establishing direction.
Prior to the January 1999 merger with the Puget Sound affiliate, Volunteers of America Northwest Washington (which became Volunteers of America Western Washington) operated 17 service programs on a $10 million annual budget supported by almost 250 full and part-time employees and 400 volunteers. The mission to make a positive impact on the community has remained the same from the beginning. An example of faith in action, all services and programs created opportunities to reach, uplift and empower hundreds of thousands of individuals and families each year.
Our Ministry of Service
We Embrace Faith in action
Volunteers of America is a movement of faith in action, an ecumenical community of faith united in service to God and to humanity. Our Christian spiritual foundation truly sets Volunteers of America apart from most other human services organizations.
Compassion, forgiveness, and hope motivate us. These building blocks of our faith have led us to create programs and services that go to the heart of our community’s needs.
We Minister Where We Are Needed
Volunteers of America Western Washington has four commissioned ministers on staff, yet we do not have customary houses of worship. Instead, our ministry takes us to the streets and to people in need. We offer spiritual support to our family of employees and volunteers, as well as performing weddings, funerals and other ministerial services when requested.
For more information about the Volunteers of America ministry, and the services we offer, please contact one of our Volunteers of America ministers:
Phil Smith, President/CEO
Facts & Figures
Volunteers of America Western Washington works to create community impact through stewardship and resourcefulness. We invite you to look not only at our facts and figures below, but also our mission, guiding principles and social impact. You will see that the numbers accurately reflect what our hearts tell us: We truly help people through an effective stewardship of resources.
Volunteers of America Western Washington serves people and communities in need and creates opportunities for people to experience the joy of serving others.
Headquartered in Everett, we currently serve six Western Washington counties: Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties.
Our Guiding Principles
As we respond to increasingly complex community needs, we use our core values to uphold integrity and social impact. These core values include Community First, Commitment to Excellence, Effective Stewardship, and Faith in Action.
We respond to over 350,000 requests for services each year, offering comprehensive programs and services that build community capacity, foster independence, promote self-sufficiency, and support positive development.
More than 400 professional employees provide diverse expertise and experience, and truly make our broad-based social impact possible.
About 1,000 volunteers give over 120,000 service hours each year. They are an invaluable resource leveraging our ability to serve those who need us.
About 86 cents of every dollar goes directly to services that impact the individuals, families and communities we serve.
Program Service Areas
Volunteers of America Western Washington is one of the region’s most comprehensive human service organizations, responding to 350,000 requests for assistance each year in our service areas. Please click here to learn more about our six service areas.
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For press inquiries, please contact Mark Johnson.