A Time For Reflection As We Wrap Up 2018

Chief Service Officer Karen Baker alongside a volunteer coordinator and an AmeriCorps member in Butte County


Dear CaliforniaVolunteers Community:

In November, Butte County battled the deadliest wildfire in California history while the Woolsey and Hill Fires raged in Southern California. As a result of the wildfires, many families and individuals suffered incredible loss and continue to face hardships. While we focus our efforts forward on rebuilding the impacted communities, we reflect on and appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the people of California and beyond in assisting the fire relief efforts. Whether they were AmeriCorps members, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers from San Francisco, individuals who witnessed the tragedy through the news, or even the very survivors that lost their homes, people from all backgrounds quickly mobilized to help those affected by the wildfires.

One of the many service stories that has inspired us comes from a Butte County resident named Brenda. Despite losing everything in the Camp Fire, Brenda used her time to volunteer at a donations distribution center to help others impacted by the wildfire. In response to why she dedicates her time to volunteer, Brenda answered, “Because my whole life I’ve been a helper. And I’ve had a family that’s lost everything. And I don’t have money and I can do this. I have a roof over my head. I can be people who don’t. My 17 year old son is here. I can’t give money but I can give my time.”

Our ability to unite in the face of such adversity is a sign of hope in the road ahead to recovery. May we continue to be guided by our love and empathy for each other. There is still much to be done, and we are stronger together. CaliforniaVolunteers would like to thank all of you! We are proud of what we have all accomplished together.



Karen Baker, Chief Service Officer

P.S. I am enclosing what we consider our 10 top highlights for 2018. Enjoy!


Top 10 Highlights


  • CaliforniaVolunteers deployed resources to support fire disaster relief in Northern and Southern California

CaliforniaVolunteers staff and AmeriCorps members have and continue to provide assistance in volunteer and donation management to the communities impacted by the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill Fires.


  • We supported other countries in their development of disaster preparedness

In collaboration with the Business Partners Program (BPP), CaliforniaVolunteers and our Disaster Department supported the development of disaster preparedness programs for other countries. In addition to the Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness traveling to Laos to assess their Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program, CaliforniaVolunteers and California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) welcomed a delegation from China. Thank you to United Airlines, a member of our BPP, for hosting the delegation at their San Francisco office. These briefings allowed CaliforniaVolunteers and our BPP members to share best practices on service and disaster preparedness.


  • California continues to build our AmeriCorps portfolio

For this past program year (2017-18), CaliforniaVolunteers awarded over $34 million in AmeriCorps funding to support 62 programs and 4,020 AmeriCorps members. Our programs leveraged an additional $47.5 million in non-CNCS funds to provide critical services benefitting nearly 249,000 disadvantaged Californians. AmeriCorps members engaged an additional 55,061 volunteers who completed 423,324 service hours, a value of more than $8 million dollars.


  • Together we increased the capacity of our programs

At the 2018 CaliforniaVolunteers AmeriCorps Leadership Summit, our programs came together to network and collaborate with their service colleagues with hands-on workshops and discussions on program management, California’s service initiatives, and strategies to engage funders and supporters. Our annual Bootcamp session for new programs and new staff had record attendance and provided attendees with essential tools and skills to effectively operate an AmeriCorps program.


  • We launched our 1st investment of a place-based working strategy

CaliforniaVolunteers awarded a grant of $12 million dollars to the city of Stockton that will be used over the next 6 years to support “cradle-to-college” services for young people in South Stockton.


  • The Governor honored California’s service champions

At the annual Governor’s Volunteering and Service Awards (GVSA) in April 2018, Governor Brown honored the work and legacy of key service champions – Karen Kawanami (Hoffman Prize), Emily Aldritt (Volunteer of the Year), Jose Castaneda-Morales (AmeriCorps Member of the Year), California Office of Emergency Services Auxiliary Communications Service Amateur Radio Volunteers (Disaster Volunteer Program of the Year), and Office of Planning and Research (Governmental Agency of the Year), Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz (Nonprofit of the Year), Werner Kohnstamm Family Giving Fund (Foundation of the Year), Disneyland Resort (Business Volunteer Program of the Year)


  • Our AmeriCorps Department was nationally recognized

Director of AmeriCorps for CaliforniaVolunteers Ia Moua was selected as the 2018 Outstanding Commission Staff as part of America’s Service Commissions Innovation and Leadership Awards. Under her leadership, CaliforniaVolunteers has employed innovative strategies that have resulted in an expansion of AmeriCorps grant dollars for California and improved training and technical assistance support for grantees.


  • We empowered Californians to support environmental stewardship

CaliforniaVolunteers coordinated 400 volunteers at the Global Climate Action Summit. All sectors and backgrounds were represented, including 9 corporations and 19 universities, providing key logistical support.


  • Partners stepped up to co-invest in our service initiatives

CaliforniaVolunteers looks forward to investing in many exciting initiatives during the upcoming year.  Through partnerships with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Deloitte/Monitor Institute, and the James Irvine Foundation, these strategic investments will help expand service and civic action across California.


  • We are thankful for you!