Volunteer center matches companies, nonprofits

Hollie Rose
Hollie Rose

Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — On May 5, nearly 100 human-resources professionals from local companies seated at tables in the Greensboro Coliseum served as volunteer coaches offering career advice to roughly 200 people looking for jobs.

The event, the third Passport 2 Success fair sponsored by WFMY News 2 and organized by The Volunteer Center of Greensboro, is part of a growing series of programs the group’s Corporate Volunteer Council is offering to better connect local companies and nonprofits.

Formed in 1994, the Corporate Volunteer Council in the past two years has renamed and reorganized itself and the programs it offers to member companies.

With 19 member companies, the group holds monthly meetings that typically feature a nonprofit talking about its organization and opportunities for businesses to partner with it on events or by providing support in areas such as technology, marketing and strategic planning.

“We’re providing them with resources and peer-to-peer learning at meetings, to share information and find out best practices, and also help them connect to nonprofits in the community,” says Aaron Hunt, program director for the Volunteer Center.

After Family Service of the Piedmont said at the group’s March meeting that it was collecting books for children age five and younger, for example, council members collected boxes of books from fellow employees and gave them to the nonprofit.

The meetings, held the second Friday of the month from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., rotate between member companies and United Way of Greater Greensboro.

The council also coordinates workshops for local nonprofits.

A council member from Samet Corp. led two workshops on human resources, for example, and a representative from American Express led a workshop on event planning.

Encouraging corporate volunteerism is a key task of the council.

The Volunteer Center, for example, organizes The Human Race, an annual event to benefit local nonprofits.

This year’s event, held March 20, attracted 220 volunteers, including employees of council members, and was coordinated by a committee that included volunteers from Bank of America and VF Corp.

Hollie Rose, executive director of the Volunteer Center, says the council is reaching out to community organizations to let them know about its work connecting businesses and nonprofits.

Rose, for example, represents nonprofits twice a year at Experience Greensboro, a community-orientation program of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

The council also is developing a new program to help coordinate and even manage companies’ volunteer projects on a contractual basis.

With an annual budget of $251,000 and six employees, the Volunteer Center works with nearly 200 nonprofits.

The center receives 36 percent of its funding from United Way, and the remainder from donations, sponsorships, grants and fees for services such as summer camps and programs.

A program known as Volunteer Clear, for example, provides background screening for nonprofits’ employees and volunteers.

And the center, an affiliate of the Youth Volunteer Corps of America in Kansas City, Kan., operates six one-week service-learning camps and is part of an effort by the Guilford County Schools to include service learning as part of its new curriculum for character development.

Rose says the center can connect companies “to whatever their business’ passions are.”

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