Boston Cares was founded in 1991 by six young adults who were determined to find a way to make community service a part of their busy lives. Like many of their friends, they wanted to become meaningfully involved in their communities but didn’t know how to get started. Plus, they worried their unpredictable schedules would not allow for the level of commitment organizations might require.
They worked together to find non-profit organizations that could utilize the help of volunteers on a flexible basis, with the goal of creating a calendar of volunteer opportunities to send out to their friends. And so, starting with a calendar of only 2 service projects, Boston Cares was launched. Today, Boston Cares’ volunteer opportunities exceed 200 projects each month.
Boston Cares offers a wide array of programs and opportunities that make it easy for you to volunteer no matter how busy your schedule is. In 2009, more than 23,000 Boston Cares volunteers contributed 64,000 hours to 180 non-profits in the Greater Boston area. Projects include:
- planting community gardens,
- serving meals to the homeless,
- cleaning parks,
- painting community centers,
- tutoring children,
- caring for sheltered animals,
- ushering at cultural performances,
- and much, much more.
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush invoked the vision of a Thousand Points of Light, a constellation of change agents that make our communities and democracy work. That vision to promote and cultivate volunteer engagement gave birth to a federally authorized, independent nonprofit entity called the Points of Light Foundation.
At about the same time, volunteers were gathering in living rooms and taverns in places like Atlanta and New York to create new ways for people to volunteer. This grassroots, entrepreneurial movement became known as Hands On Network and for almost, two decades these two organizations worked independently, alternatively collaborating and competing, to engage volunteers.
The new organization, now called Points of Light Institute, is implementing a bold new strategy to create unprecedented scale and people-centered community impact through volunteerism and civic involvement.