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Dedicated to Creating the Choice of Independent Living Through Volunteer Caregiving


A History of Volunteer Caregiving

Officially established in 2007, the National Volunteer Caregiving Network (NVCN) received its 501(c) (3) IRS designation in 2008. Originally designated as the Faith in Action National Network until 2011, when the name was changed in order to advance its enduring mission to support sustainable volunteer caregiving programs.

In the mid-1980’s, interfaith volunteer caregiving programs began with seed grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 1985, The Foundation established 25 pilot programs to determine if diverse congregations could work together to serve the needs of those with long-term chronic illness, disability or who were aging. The success of that initial effort gave birth to the Faith in Action movement. For the next two decades, the National Program Office of Faith in Action provided technical assistance and mentoring for existing programs and communities that wanted to start volunteer caregiving programs.

In late 2004, recognizing that the National Program Office would be completing their work, a group of stakeholders began to discuss the possibility of creating a national membership organization for Faith in Action programs that would continue the support and technical assistance that the National Program Office had provided.  In pursuit of these goals, NVCN sponsors national conferences, distributes a monthly e-newsletter, holds educational webinars, and maintains a discussion group and a website that is inclusive of all volunteer caregiving programs. In keeping with the NVCN vision, in 2012 six new volunteer caregiving programs were launched in California.*

NVCN continues to examine strategies for engaging with later life in new ways. NVCN provides opportunities to showcase these strategies and to assist local program development in executing these strategies. NVCN is responsive to communities who desire to bring a volunteer caregiving program to their area.

NVCN supports existing volunteer caregiving programs through the development of supporting materials, telephone mentoring, and networking opportunities. Additionally, in support of individuals with long-term chronic illness, disability or those who are aging, NVCN staff looks for opportunities to assist individuals orcommunities who desire to begin a volunteer caregiving program. Local programs assist widows, the home-bound, and elders who need help with small things, like changing a light-bulb or flipping a mattress – these folks make up the fabric of our communities and are the ones who need us the most.

* Supported by The SCAN Foundation