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Join us in celebrating our 10-year anniversary!

Ten years ago the University of San Diego’s Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research identified several barriers to volunteering. How do I find ways to volunteer? Where are the volunteer opportunities near me? What can I do that will fit with my schedule? I want to help, but how do I start? Do I have to make a big commitment? 

This report validated an assumption already being looked at by the early HandsOn San Diego team. Today these barriers are no longer. We make it easy to volunteer… when you can volunteer… how you want to volunteer…and support the causes you care about. And no commitment is necessary. Volunteer once a week, once a month, or once in a while. HandsOn meets you on your terms to do the most good!

The Early Years

HandsOn San Diego was founded in 2013 when a group of volunteers led by Jaci Sander saw this need for a place to easily find and sign up for volunteer opportunities. The volunteers researched community organizations involved in volunteerism throughout San Diego County at the time and confirmed there was no effort to bring volunteer opportunities with a variety of nonprofit organizations into a singular space. In our first full year (2014) we recruited over 1,000 volunteers to serve 24 nonprofit organizations.

Celebrating 5 years!

Five years into HandsOn’s history we were starting to find our groove. We had two full-time staff supporting our growing pool of volunteers and nonprofit partners. Just before reaching that milestone we were activated by 2-1-1 San Diego to manage the volunteers at their call center providing evacuation information to individuals affected by the Lilac Fire. Soon after we hosted nearly 300 Ben & Jerry’s franchise owners and employees for beautification and placemaking projects that transformed an entire city block in City Heights.

The Pandemic! We Powered On!

Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began, we partnered with the United Way of San Diego County to launch the San Diego COVID-19 Volunteer Hub, a resource site to help connect volunteers to in-person opportunities filling essential needs, virtual opportunities, donation needs, and more. Despite many organizations reducing their services at that time, we mobilized 3,270 volunteers to provide essential services such as distributing PPE and delivering meals.

HandsOn at Ten

Today we have thousands of volunteers in the community making our neighborhoods better for everyone. This year alone about 7,000 volunteers have given over 21,000 hours of service improving well over 100 nonprofit organizations, parks and schools. From beach cleanups and food distributions, to hygiene kits and pillows for those challenged for housing, to the Festival of Books and the Community Climate Action Day, we have feet on the street and hands making a difference!

The Next 10 Years

What to expect in the future? More opportunities for friends and neighbors to give back to our San Diego communities. More nonprofit organizations to support and more impact in all corners of our diverse county. As San Diego grows so will HandsOn! Your gift today can make that happen. We need your support, not only your time but your investment in the future. Give today to honor our 10 years, or to applaud our 120,000 hours! Or sponsor a member who wants to volunteer but whose circumstances makes it difficult to become a member. Your generosity will mean everything to them and us!

What a difference 10 years makes!

Volunteers in Action

Hours Served

Schools, Parks and
Nonprofits Served

Volunteer Leaders Trained

Projects Completed

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