News Release header English

For Immediate Release
September 17, 2020
Contact: Cristina Valdivia Aguilar,, (916) 508-9018

California Volunteers Awards Grants to Support Food Banks and Strengthen Volunteer Engagement


SACRAMENTO — California Volunteers, Office of the Governor today announced it has awarded nearly $130,000 in grants to provide nonprofits and community-based organizations with essential training to address food insecurity, build functional capacity and enhance volunteer engagement efforts. Food banks across the state have seen a large increase in demand coupled with a reduction of up to 70 percent in volunteer hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this time of great need, nonprofits and community-based organizations across the state are providing critical services to support communities grappling with the impacts of the pandemic, wildfires and other emergencies,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “These grants will help ensure that organizations get the support they need to fulfill their missions and engage more Californians in service.”

California Volunteers was awarded the Corporation for National and Community Service’s 2019 Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) Grant. The VGF is a program authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to support voluntary organizations and state service commissions in boosting the impact of volunteerism to address critical community needs. Through this funding opportunity, California Volunteers awarded grants in a competitive application process to the following organizations:

  • OneOC of Orange County — $30,000
  • HandsOn Sacramento of Sacramento County — $25,000
  • Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership of Marin County— $24,929
  • LA Works of Los Angeles County — $25,000
  • Caring Choices of Butte County — $25,000

The awards are part of California Volunteers’ continued investment in the nonprofit infrastructure of California, providing support to strengthen the nonprofit sector and ensure organizations can continue to serve their communities. These investments also bolster California Volunteers’ efforts to address food insecurity by leading the initiative to deploy AmeriCorps VISTA members and volunteers to food banks throughout the state.

The grantees celebrated today’s announcement:

“OneOC is honored to assist California Volunteers and the #CaliforniansforAll campaign by working with food banks and front-line nonprofits across the state to develop their volunteer capacity during the current crisis and road to recovery. Our nonprofits need more resources to address the significant issues in our communities and this will require new approaches to leveraging and utilizing virtual and skills-based volunteers. We look forward to working with California Volunteers in building greater levels of volunteer infrastructure in nonprofit organizations.” said Tim Strauch, President & CEO, OneOC.

“The Regional Center for Volunteerism-HandsOn Sacramento is thrilled to be a recipient of the Volunteer Generation Fund grant. With this funding we are able to support Sacramento Food Bank and their network of food pantries that supports families and individuals impacted by COVID-19,” said Valeri Mihanovich, Director, Regional Center for Volunteerism-HandsOn Sacramento. “We are able to provide safety training and purchase needed supplies such as traffic cones and shade tents for pantries delivering essential services.”

“Our work with California Volunteers has been incredibly rewarding,” said Deborah Brutchey, Executive Director of L.A. Works. “We have been fortunate to serve as Los Angeles’ largest volunteer action center for nearly 30 years, and this generous VGF capacity building grant will enable us to provide engaging and innovative volunteer opportunities that uplift marginalized communities for many years to come.”

“Caring Choices is grateful to be awarded the Nonprofit & Community-Based Organization Capacity Grant from California Volunteers. The recent fires in Butte and Glenn County combined with the current pandemic have shown how essential disaster preparedness is to our communities,” said Barbara Hanna PhD, President, Caring Choices. “This grant is providing essential funding that will allow us to engage community members in disaster preparedness training and to train local volunteers in a COVID-19 compliant environment to be better prepared to assist our community in the next disaster.”

“CVNL is honored to be the recipient of this VGF grant, and we are excited that we will be able to serve nonprofits by helping them build their capacities to respond to disasters. This is a such a timely grant since nonprofits are encountering unprecedented challenges caused by overlapping emergencies,” said Elaine Tokolahi, Director of Volunteer Services, Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership.


Led by California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, California Volunteers, Office of the Governor empowers Californians to take action to improve their communities. #CaliforniansForAll is a California Volunteers service initiative launched in response to COVID-19 to establish a volunteer corps to support the state’s response to emergencies and disasters.