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A group of adult volunteers in CVC "Find Your Mission" tshirts pose with a river and skyline in the background

 About Us 
 

Cambridge Volunteers 

Cambridge Volunteers Executive Director, Laurie Rothstein, and another volunteer help guide a wheelchair user along a riverside path

DCR Universal Access Recreation Programs MA

Mission

Cambridge Volunteers, formerly Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse, strengthens civic life by championing local volunteer engagement and supporting an effective and inclusive volunteer corps for all agencies serving residents of Cambridge, MA.

Passion

We believe in community as an active verb. We build community, one relationship at a time. Volunteerism offers an opportunity for people to build trust into these relationships across diverse social realities, a two-way process that can change both participants.  Working together we can unlock the transformative potential of civic engagement.

Vision

We envision a Cambridge – and a world – whose community members respect each other and expect the best for each other, and are willing to use something valuable and irreplaceable (especially, their time) for their community’s and our only environment’s sakes.

History

Cambridge Volunteers was founded in 1994 as Cambridge Senior Volunteer Clearinghouse by retired school principal and dedicated community volunteer Robert S. Hurlbut and adult education researcher Dr. Beverly Cassara, under the fiscal sponsorship of the Cambridge Community Foundation. At this time, the organization provided individualized information and guidance to local retirees, and published a Yellow Pages of local nonprofit agencies that relied on volunteers.

 

In 2017, we diversified and intensified volunteer outreach, dropping the word “Senior” from our name and expanding our services to all demographics. We also moved our information online with a continuously updated “Needed Now” list, and hosted free Find Your Mission workshops that attracted more than 250 individuals annually.

In 2020, during the COVID pandemic and national racial reckoning, we expanded our Board, and made explicit our commitment to equity in volunteering and to more intentionally soliciting and incorporating community voice into our strategic and operations planning. In 2022, we became a project of Sponsor, Inc. dba Mission Earth.

 

In 2023, with thousands of newsletter subscribers and website users, a year-round schedule of diverse events, and a rapidly expanding "Needed Now" list of volunteer opportunities, we launched the current website with its Find Your Mission database. We also refreshed our logo and colors, and updated our name to “Cambridge Volunteers.” 

 

The rest, as they say, will be history!

What We Do

  • Build civic engagement through the volunteer sector 

  • Support nonprofit priorities in volunteer recruitment and preparation

  • Ensure that information about volunteer opportunities is freely available through our robust online database and public meetings

  • Guide individuals and groups toward transformative volunteer matches

  • Champion an equitable, inclusive volunteer sector through workshops for program volunteers and board members

  • Serve as a knowledge-sharing hub for agencies that rely on volunteers

  • Consult with businesses that want to engage beneficially with their host community

​Our work evolves to meet the needs of our community and the agencies that serve it.

Our Impact

Our Impact

  • Thousands of local residents and employees are introduced to Cambridge’s rich volunteering landscape annually

  • Estimated 350+ critical volunteer openings filled citywide annually

  • General public has easy access to a searchable, continuously updated, local database of volunteer opportunities. Our guarantee: we provide 100% human-sourced information.

  • Agencies citywide can afford high quality and consistent, uniquely specialized DEI training for their volunteers

  • Residents have a supportive space to consider first-time nonprofit leadership roles

  • Nonprofit Directors and Volunteer Managers share challenges and best practices in a rapidly changing volunteer recruitment/retention environment

  • Businesses advised by Cambridge Volunteers put the community first when fulfilling their civic engagement agendas

RACIAL RECKONING & SOCIAL JUSTICE

We're re-examining volunteering through an equity lens and offering workshops to support volunteers through challenging issues of power, race, and privilege. We work to change what the word "volunteer" denotes: a participant.

Who Uses Our Services? 

First-time volunteers. Seasoned volunteers. Individuals. Groups. People who know Cambridge like the back of their hand. People who just moved here. People with lots of time. People with little bits of time.

Small agencies. Large agencies. Private nonprofits. Public programs. Agencies looking for 50 people to pack groceries once, or one administrative assistant to stay at least forever.

Two adult volunteers in face masks hold boxes of supplies

Cambridge Volunteers

Several adult volunteers gather around a stack of cardboard boxes in a Food For Free facility

Food For Free

A group of Community Art Center volunteers wearing face masks and all black pose for a portrait

Community Art Center

Looking for inspiration?

Meet volunteer Leslie Cohen who shares her experience volunteering with Read to a Child.

Partnerships

We are proud that every agency represented in our database is our partner. We communicate year-round and work intensively to find the individuals or groups they need to successfully support and deliver services to our shared community. A diverse subset of our partners form our Advisory Council. They help shape our programs, policies, and goals.

Advisory Council members:

In 2023 we formed a special partnership with Cambridge School Volunteers and Tutoring Plus to design Showing Up Right for Youth (SUR4Y), a DEI workshop for volunteers serving youth. Funded with a $10,000 matching challenge grant from Massachusetts Service Alliance, SUR4Y was shaped around direct input from youth and volunteers. All SUR workshops are crafted and delivered by local DEI and antiracism facilitators, Canopy Equity Coaching.

Our longtime partner, Cambridge Center for Adult Education has, since 2018, hosted and helped build new audiences for our in-person and remote community workshops and volunteer fairs at no cost to us.

Since 2022 we are proud to be fiscally sponsored by Sponsor, Inc. dba Mission Earth, which specializes in supporting small organizations with administrative services normally reserved for larger agencies.

Our special relationship with Cambridge Community Foundation goes back to our founding by its past Director. CCF was our fiscal sponsor from 1994 - 2022. In 2021 they made a 5-year, $100,000 commitment to our programs.
 

Supporters

We are indebted to each and every supporter – individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations – whose generous gifts ensure that our core services remain free and easily accessible for the public. We strongly believe that money should never be a barrier to volunteering. You will never see a paywall on our website.

WHO WE ARE

Staff

Maddie Ball, Operations Manager

Laurie Rothstein, Executive Director

Board of Directors

Kavish Gandhi

Katinka Hakuta

Electra Hui

Bob Hurlbut, Co-Founder

Vania Loredo

Ben Precourt

Our board of directors steers strategy, builds connections, and works on special projects.  Learn more.

For board-related inquiries, please email Co-Chair Kavish Gandhi at kmbrgandhi@gmail.com.

Join Us!

We welcome new volunteers, partners and supporters. Please join us in our mission to encourage, support, and sustain transformative civic engagement.

Volunteer With Us!

We welcome volunteers to help with administration, communications, database management, and various projects. Join our multi-talented team as a Committee member or project-based helper. 

Cambridge Volunteers' board of directors meets regularly, works on special projects, and steers agency strategy. If you’re interested in volunteering with us at the program or board level, contact laurie@cambridgevolunteers.org.

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We’d love to hear from you.

Connect With Us!

To become a partner agency, to sponsor our work, or for help finding or promoting a volunteer opportunity, please contact us.

617-864-6688

Cambridge Volunteers

c/o Mission Earth (our fiscal sponsor)

1257 Worcester Road, Suite #312

Framingham, MA 01710

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Stay in the Loop.

Join our email list to receive monthly volunteer updates, news, and occasional, targeted messages about urgent openings.

Visit our archive to check out past newsletters!

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