Dear Partners and Friends, 

I hope you and your families are doing well. Over the past few months, the team at Volunteer Florida has continued “getting things done” for Florida. I invite you to keep reading to learn more about what our organization has been doing and what we have been doing these past two quarters. #ServeFLOn August 12, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed me as CEO of Volunteer Florida. I most recently served as General Counsel at the Agency for Health Care Administration.“Josie has served the state for many years, and I know that she will continue to serve to the best of her ability in this new role,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Josie will be a great asset to the Volunteer Florida team.”


Volunteer Florida serves together in quarterly volunteer activities. In February, we volunteered at the Second Harvest of the Big Bend where staff sorted goods in their warehouse for future distribution for our neighbors facing hunger and food insecurities.


On February 22, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis honored Black History Month with a reception at the Governor’s Mansion. At the event, the Governor and First Lady announced the winners of the student and educator contests.

“Florida goes the extra mile to recognize the immense and historical contributions of African Americans in our great state, said Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo. “We are proud to offer this opportunity each year to recognize outstanding students and educators in Florida for their unique efforts and talents.”Award recipients are as follows:Student Art ContestIsabella Miranda, Everglades K-8 Center, Miami-DadeKe’Mari Cannon, Golfview Elementary Magnet School, Brevard CountyCamren Curtis Carrington, Harbordale Elementary, Broward CountyZaylan Hill, Golfview Elementary Magnet School, Brevard CountyStudent Essay ContestTaige Leathers, Richard Lewis Brown Gifted and Academically Talented Academy, Duval CountyKatherine Valdes Torres, Mike Davis Elementary, Collier CountyAdrian Arias, South Creek Middle School, Orange CountyAdriana Singleton, Oak View Middle School, Alachua CountyElyanah Gibson, Florida Virtual School, Lee CountyChanel Victorin, Strawberry Crest High School, Hillsborough CountyExcellence in Education Award WinnersBrandi Grant, Castle Hill Elementary School, Broward CountyLinda Long, Grand Ridge School, Jackson CountyCleon Edwards, Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership, Duval CountyLisa Herron, Cypress Bay High School, Broward County

Volunteer Florida is proud to facilitate Florida’s Black History Month contests and awards each year on behalf of the Governor and First Lady, in collaboration with our sponsors and partners.



Volunteer Florida hosted an Emergency Management Convening in Orlando, FL, February 28- March 1, 2023, bringing together county, state, federal, nonprofit, and private partners to showcase their collaboration and partnership. 100+ individuals representing more than 50+ organizations participated, identifying challenges, opportunities, and ways in which they innovated and leveraged opportunities to respond and recover after disasters in Florida. Congratulations to the USF Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which received the Excellence in Volunteerism Award at the Emergency Management ESF-15 Convening!


After sorting through literal truckloads of donations, Volunteer Florida’s eighth Annual “Suits for Session” service project on April 4th and 5th collected 3,305 pounds of professional attire for Florida job-seekers statewide. The 4,506 items of professional clothing and accessories were donated to Bridges of Orlando, CareerSource Tampa Bay, FDOE Division of Blind Services, and FSU ProfessioNOLE Clothing Closet– organizations dedicated to supporting job-seekers in Florida striving to enter or re-enter the workforce.


Volunteer Florida held Spring AmeriCorps Program Director training, “Putting the Pieces Together,” in Jacksonville on April 11-13, 2023. The seventy-five AmeriCorps program and finance staff attendees from across Florida engaged in learning and team-building activities as well as a hands-on service project. Participants increased their knowledge of program and member management through sessions including community engagement, member retention, and succession planning.


On March 30th, Volunteer Florida’s Champion of Service Award was bestowed to Mr. Daniel West,  Founder and Executive Director of Restoration Bridge International, Inc. (RBI). From humble beginnings in a church closet with canned goods in 1980 to incorporate as a public charity in 2005, RBI gave away over $11.6 million worth of donated food in 2019. What began serving 200 families in Palm Beach County weekly has since expanded to serving 37,100 adults and children monthly. As a result of Mr. West’s service to the community, 2,808,552 adults and children’s lives have been positively impacted by having their basic need of food provision met.


In celebration of National Volunteer Month in April, Volunteer Florida recognized 30 outstanding volunteers every day in April on our social media channels. Our team received nominations from nonprofits and governmental entities statewide and were honored to highlight 30 of their stories for all of Volunteer Florida’s audiences to read, share and emulate. Governor Ron DeSantis recognized April as National Volunteer Month by delivering a Proclamation. Thank you to those who serve daily to improve our great state and to Governor Ron DeSantis for his recognition! Click here to download the Proclamation.


PHOTO: CEO Tamayo provides remarks at Mayor Dyer’s Volunteer and National Service Appreciation Luncheon in Orlando

PHOTO: VF’s Vice Chair Commissioner, Sherry Wheelock attended Mayor Dyer’s Volunteer and National Service Appreciation Luncheon in OrlandoPHOTO: CEO Tamayo tours Peacemakers Family Center, an AmeriCorps GranteePHOTO: Florida Disaster Fund check presentation from Talk of the Town Restaurant Group pictured with CEO TamayoPHOTO: CEO Tamayo visiting Public Allies, an AmeriCorps GranteePHOTO: Florida Disaster Fund check presentation from the owners of Guppy’s on the Beach Restaurant pictured with CEO Tamayo 

Thank you for your continued support of Volunteer Florida and our mission to #ServeFL. If there is anything we can do for you, or your organization, please reach out to me or my team.

Yours in Service,

Josefina Tamayo Chief Executive OfficerVolunteer Florida