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Happy Anniversary, MAVA!

Karmit Bulman
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, the state agency that MAVA’s founders had perceived as our chief ally and resource.

In 20 short years, MAVA has become the State, National and Global leader for volunteer engagement leadership. We have become more than a professional association.  Each year we grow stronger, and our work becomes more relevant to the members and the public we serve. Our Research studies have included such topics as volunteerism in immigrant communities, rural volunteerism, short-term volunteerism, City volunteerism, jobseeker volunteers, older volunteers, job equity for volunteer engagement professionals, trends in volunteerism and so many more topics.

Race equity in volunteerism has emerged as an area where MAVA’s expertise has been called upon. MAVA has published studies, articles, reports and blog posts; we have trained thousands of people on dismantling inequities in volunteerism, and we are called upon for assessment and consultation on race equity in volunteerism.

Service enterprise, Americorps VISTA programming and numerous advanced trainings and consultations have contributed to the strength and capacity of hundreds of nonprofits and government entities.

And MAVA’s volunteer engagement and dismantling inequities conferences draw participants from all over the world and result in increased knowledge and volunteer action in many communities.

From an all-volunteer organization to the 8-person staff organization, we are today; from no funding to a diverse array of funders; from a professional association to a broader capacity-building organization, MAVA’s growth has been impressive. Our new name says it all; congratulations MAVA for the expansive work you have done in advancing volunteerism and transforming lives.  Happy Anniversary!