Dedicated to volunteer service


Environmental VolunteeringPoints of Light's Programs division is dedicated to building and scaling training, education and signature programs to address critical needs and provide meaningful tools and resources to build stronger communities. Programs focus on the environment, education, economy, emergency preparedness and veterans and military families.

Examples include: national service programs, such as ServiceWorks, which is poised to help 25,000 low-income youth and young adults develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers; the Community Blueprint, which provides a framework for communities to support veterans and military members; economic opportunity programs like the Financial Opportunity Corps, which provides low- to moderate income families with financial education; emergency and disaster volunteer response programs; and recognition programs like The Daily Point of Light Award and The Extra Mile – Points of Light Volunteer Pathway, which celebrate the power of individuals to create meaningful change and inspire others to serve.

Our Programs division is committed to providing meaningful service opportunities through our National Days of Service events and our HandsOn Corps AmeriCorps program. We offer year-round training programs and signature events like the annual National Conference on Volunteering and Service. These programs work through our Action Networks and a broader set of partners.

Civic Engagement Highlights

  • 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: Points of Light and its affiliates mobilized more than 250,000 people to serve in honor of the MLK Day of Service, including Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Projects included creating 100,000 care packages for U.S. troops, helping clean up homes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and transforming veterans’ homes in Phoenix. Additionally, more than 40,000 people hosted and joined in America’s Sunday Suppers to engage in important community dialogue.
  • 2013 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance: To reflect on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Points of Light partnered with MyGoodDeed to support thousands of volunteers nationwide in service projects ranging from building MedEvac bags for wounded warriors returning home to disaster preparedness. HandsOn Network affiliates in across the country organized large scale events in communities of all sizes. (Read about some of the projects here.)

Community Impact Highlights

Neighboring is an asset and placed-based approach to volunteering that empowers residents to find innovative, sustainable solutions to local challenges. Over the last five years, our affiliate network has brought Neighboring to low income, immigrant, refugee, Native American, African American, kinship and Hispanic communities. Tens of thousands of resident volunteers have been engaged to create programs such as a community garden to provide fresh produce to low income community members, a neighborhood watch to tackle problems of drug abuse, a mobile volunteer tax assistance site on a Native American reservation to provide an avenue toward financial stability, and many more programs to meet the needs and talents of the community.

One example of the success of Neighboring due to community investment is in Bradenton, Fla. where Hands On Manatee saw a 67 percent increase in application for Florida Healthy Kids Insurance in targeted neighborhoods and a 32 percent call volume increase to 2-1-1 among residents of targeted neighborhoods as a result of volunteers being mobilized from within the community to increase awareness around available social services. A 2009 Points of Light study found Neighboring:

  • Helps create stronger communities and families
  • Provides more resources for children and youth
  • Creates role models for children
  • Changes the lines of accountability
  • Supplies local leaders
  • Helps to promote workforce participation
  • Improves relationships and connections between community members, creating mutually supportive exchanges

National Service – HandsOn Corps

HandsOn Network operates a set of three national service programs that leverage the power of citizens to make a meaningful impact on their communities. They include National Direct, which focuses on the multiplier effect of volunteer leaders, expanding the capacity of nonprofits to engage more citizens in mission-driven activities. The VISTA program, which focuses on the activation of citizens from low-income communities as change agents for their neighborhoods, bringing needed resources into communities and providing an empowering platform of information, support and resources for sustainable change. Our HandsOn Tech VISTA program, launched in August 2011, focuses specifically on increasing the efficient and effective use of technology to increase the impact of small nonprofits who serve under-resourced communities.