After over 50 years of connecting Kalamazoo area residents with volunteer opportunities and supporting local nonprofits, Volunteer Kalamazoo is closing.
Volunteer Kalamazoo was established in 1965 when the Service Club of Kalamazoo (later the Junior League) identified the need to have a central location for people to call who were interested in volunteering. For the next 50 years, this service was the primary focus of Volunteer Kalamazoo which supported more than 300 area nonprofit businesses by, among other services, connecting them with volunteers. Programs offered include VolunTEENS, 9/11 Day of Service, Global Youth Service Day, MLK Day of Service, STAR Awards, nonprofit consulting, family volunteering and more.
Local volunteer centers like Volunteer Kalamazoo once served as a bridge between community members that wished to volunteer and the nonprofit organizations who required their support; however, the advances in internet usage and technology as well as, social awareness and activism, has greatly reduced the need for this service over the last several years. Volunteer Kalamazoo acknowledges that the current model of volunteerism has shifted toward individuals contacting nonprofits directly via the organization’s websites, social media outlets and other social activities like corporate employee volunteer programs. As a result of these changes, institutional funding for Volunteer Kalamazoo’s model has become increasingly difficult to secure and its mission more difficult for people to embrace with financial support.
In an effort to sustain Volunteer Kalamazoo’s core missions of building, promoting and connecting volunteerism in the Kalamazoo community, the Board of Directors has elected to dissolve the organization and will transfer Volunteer Kalamazoo’s assets and organizational responsibilities for programming to Gryphon Place, beginning August 1, 2016.
While Gryphon Place is best known for their services that provide conflict resolution and crisis management to the Kalamazoo community, they do this with the help of many volunteers who go through an extensive recruitment and training process. These volunteers are managed internally and therefore, Gryphon Place is in a unique position with an existing talent and capacity to manage (additional) volunteer programming. The Volunteer Kalamazoo Board of Directors is excited about the opportunity for Volunteer Kalamazoo’s mission to thrive and grow under the ownership of Gryphon Place –whose Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Maricela Alcala, demonstrated a sincere desire and enthusiasm to take on this unique challenge.
“Both Gryphon Place and Volunteer Kalamazoo adamantly agree that it would be too great of a community loss to discontinue these services,” says Alcala. “We are fully committed to building, promoting and connecting volunteerism in the Kalamazoo area, and feel fortunate to be able to offer these services in addition to the information and referral service that we currently provide. It’s a real asset that we didn’t want to see Kalamazoo lose.”
About Volunteer Kalamazoo
Volunteer Kalamazoo has been the center for volunteerism in Kalamazoo since 1965. Volunteer Kalamazoo built capacity for effective local volunteering, connected people with opportunities to volunteer and promoted volunteerism in the community. Volunteer Kalamazoo exponentially increased the amount of good that is being done in the community for over 300 nonprofits by leveraging the power of volunteers.
About Gryphon Place
Gryphon Place has been helping those in conflict & crisis since 1970, connecting with people & organizations to assist in resolving crises and meeting life’s challenges. Services provided include 2-1-1 Information & Referral, the 24/7 hour number to dial for local resources & services; Crisis Services, including the 24/7 HELPline 381-HELP for immediate emotional support & crisis intervention, and Critical Incident Stress Management debriefing teams responding after traumatic community events; Conflict Services including Dispute Resolution Services and mediation; and School Programs including The Gatekeeper Program suicide prevention education, and Peer Mediation & Restorative Justice.
Please submit inquiries to Lacee Lyons, COO of Gryphon Place at firstname.lastname@example.org. All media inquiries must be submitted in writing.