|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Volunteer Florida named 2020 as the year of the volunteer and highlighted the incredible efforts made by all Floridians to help their neighbors in need. The agency also recognized their achievements over the past year.
“I am grateful for the Governor, First Lady, our Commission and Foundation, stakeholders and partners for allowing me to serve Florida in this new role,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon. “Over the past year, our staff, AmeriCorps members and volunteers have stepped up to serve Florida’s communities. I look forward to continuing this great work in the new year.”
Volunteer Florida kicked off 2020 by hosting the fifth annual Suits for Session service project with Uber. In total, Volunteer Florida collected 4,796 items that were donated by state agencies, legislative leaders and individuals across the state. Collected items were donated to organizations that support job-seekers in Florida who are striving to enter or re-enter the workforce.
The 2020 Legislative Session, which ended in March, proved to be very successful one for Florida’s volunteers. With the support of Senator Manny Diaz and Representative Randy Maggard, Volunteer Florida was able to pass the Disaster Volunteer Leave for State Employees Act which was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in June.
In spring, Volunteer Florida, along with the rest of the country, began responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer Florida staff immediately deployed to the State Emergency Operations Center to manage ESF 15: Volunteers and Donations. Volunteer Florida’s AmeriCorps and Volunteer Generation Fund programs immediately shifted their service model to serve Floridians in need. Programs were able to serve thousands of meals to families in need, as well as provide services like tutoring and mentoring online.
Throughout the summer, Volunteer Florida continued to find new and unique ways to support Florida’s communities. Volunteer Florida’s Volunteer Services Department held a series of webinars for organizations and volunteers. This ultimately led to the planning of a three-day Virtual Volunteer Leadership Convening in the fall which featured speakers like First Lady DeSantis and Points of Light CEO Natalye Paquin. Volunteer Florida also promoted Volunteer Connect, Florida’s official volunteer opportunities platform, as a way for Floridians to starting serving their communities in-person and virtually.
During this challenging year, Volunteer Florida’s commitment to serving Florida’s communities never changed. In August, Volunteer Florida welcomed 1,497 AmeriCorps members who are serving in 36 programs in 32 counties during the 2020-2021 program year. In October, Volunteer Florida’s Volunteer Generation Fund program welcomed 24 Florida nonprofits who will spend the next year recruiting skills-based volunteers to serve Florida communities. The Volunteer Florida Foundation also provided funding to nine organizations supporting long-term recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma and 10 organizations supporting long-term recovery efforts for Hurricane Michael.
As Volunteer Florida looks towards a new year, the theme of volunteerism and service will continue. To learn more about the agency, please visit www.volunteerflorida.org or sign-up for our newsletter here.
About Volunteer Florida
In 1994, Volunteer Florida was established in Florida Statutes to manage national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, and advocate for volunteerism throughout the Sunshine State. Since then, Volunteer Florida has evolved to serve as the state’s lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters, including managing the Florida Disaster Fund. After 25+ years, Volunteer Florida remains committed to promoting volunteerism in Florida, and launched the state’s official volunteer opportunities platform, Volunteer Connect, in fall 2019. Through our work, Volunteer Florida delivers high-impact volunteer programs and opportunities that engage Floridians, transform communities and make the state a better place to live.