MAVA was founded in 2001 in response to a vision that leaders of volunteers could greatly impact Minnesota’s volunteer community through one strong statewide alliance capable of creating visibility and credibility, and of impacting volunteers' ability to have a meaningful impact. Several associations and networks of leaders merged to form the organization known as MAVA today. Until 2001, Minnesota had somewhere between fifteen and forty associations for volunteer managers. The formation of MAVA allowed those professionals to speak with a common, unified voice, and to connect with one another for education, leadership, and networking.
MAVA came to fruition with a kickoff ceremony of approximately 200 volunteer managers from around Minnesota on November 14, 2001. On November 15, the Association’s executive director began serving. MAVA has faced many hurdles this first year, perhaps the most challenging one being the closing of the Minnesota Office of Citizenship and Volunteer Service,