UVA Community in Action

UVA Employee Volunteer Center


The University of Virginia is committed to partnering with organizations in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable community. Efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 are causing disruption and stress not only for employees across UVA, but also for community members and neighbors across Central Virginia. Charlottesville is seeing a growing need for volunteer assistance in the community. At the same time, the University is fielding a growing number of inquiries related to volunteer efforts, offers to help, and offers of donations of supplies.

Our Purpose

The UVA Employee Volunteer Center coordinates the University’s involvement in this important work. Staffed by representatives from the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach, the Office of Community Partnerships at UVA Health, UVA Human Resources, the Equity Center, and the Office of Economic Development, this Center:

  • Directs UVA employees wishing to volunteer towards critical needs and long-term recovery needs
  • Provides volunteer guidelines for personal health and safety
  • Connects volunteers who have specific expertise to those in need of that expertise, where possible
  • Fields offers for donation of supplies and connects them with agencies with known needs

Public Service Leave for UVA Employees

The University provides paid Public Service Leave to employees to perform community service work for eligible organizations. Consistent with using any type of leave, employees must seek approval from their managers in advance. Information about paid Public Service Leave is available on the UVA HR website.

Go HERE to Learn More

Community Volunteer Opportunities

The Volunteer Center asks University employees to consider the volunteer needs identified on these community-generated platforms:

  • SupportCville: SupportCville is continuously updated with volunteer opportunities from community organizations in the greater Charlottesville area that are working to support those impacted by COVID-19.
  • United Way of Greater Charlottesville: Our local United Way features volunteer opportunities with area nonprofits.
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Mailing List: The regional EOC coordinates efforts among Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign up for the EOC mailing list to receive updates every Wednesday on critical volunteer needs.

  • Critical Areas

    These organizations working in critical areas of need are accepting volunteers:

  • Material Donations

    • EquipCville is accepting donations of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, safety glasses, and other medical supplies. Click here to learn how you may contribute.
    • Cville Craft Aid is accepting donations of sewn masks on behalf of community organizations. Click here to learn more.
    • Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) is collecting donations of sewn face masks and mask-making supplies (fabric, elastic, buttons, yarn, etc.) for their clients, volunteers, and staff to use when their physical locations reopen. Please email Winter Broadhurst for more information.
    • Shelter for Help in Emergency provides emergency services to victims of domestic violence and their children including a 24-hour hotline (434.293.8509), emergency shelter, legal advocacy, and counseling.  All services are confidential and free. The Shelter is accepting donations of the following ONLY: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing spray, paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, dish detergent, and high-efficiency (HE) laundry pods. Click here to learn more.
  • Blood Donation

    Visit the American Red Cross Find-a-Drive website to learn about upcoming blood drives in your area.

  • Sharing Your Skills

    The community’s long-term recovery will be a complex process. Local nonprofits, small businesses, and community organizations may need support in areas such as grant writing, tech systems, marketing, accounting, language translation, and communications.

    If you are interested in learning how you may be able to volunteer your professional skills to help in such a capacity, please contact the Volunteer Center at volunteercenter@virginia.edu.

    Current skill-specific volunteer needs:

    • Bilingual Volunteers Needed for Translation and Interpretation: Many area organizations are working to provide resources and services to non-English speakers through helplines, documents, and websites.  If you are fluent in Spanish, Arabic, Nepali, Swahili, Dari/Farsi, Burmese/Karen/Karenni, or another language, please contact the Volunteer Center to be connected to community organizations in need of your skills: volunteercenter@virginia.edu.

Community-University Initiatives

  • Community Initiatives in the News

    UVA students, faculty and staff are deeply committed to the communities the University calls home. This commitment to being a good neighbor includes an array of efforts. Examples include: UVA Health research into a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Financial assistance for affected University employees and furloughed contract workers. Partnerships with local nonprofits and businesses that help address community food insecurity. Read some of the stories reflecting these and other efforts and partnerships here.

    Community Initiatives in the News
  • To Be a Good Neighbor

    The Equity Center at the University of Virginia and community leaders created the document To Be a Good Neighbor outlining ideas and proposals to guide the University to become a good partner in the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Equity Center website to learn more and read the entire proposal.

    Equity Center Website
  • Project Rebound

    Project Rebound is a local economic recovery initiative to address the COVID-19 economic crisis. Project Rebound will engage local business leaders to share insights, identify challenges and build actionable strategies to restore the local economy. Visit the Project Rebound website to learn how you can get involved.

    Project Rebound Website
  • Charlottesville Area Community Foundation

    UVA contributed $1 million to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Emergency Response Fund to support their efforts in supplying grants to individuals and families in need. And in addition to providing financial support, the University is offering information about newly expanded eligibility for state unemployment benefits.

    Charlottesville Area Community Foundation Website

Volunteer Tips

Volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic may encounter distressing situations that are new to them or are unexpected. The pandemic is inflicting trauma on many in our community and intensifying existing need. 

  • UVA Faculty & Employee Assistance Program (FEAP)

    FEAP provides UVA, UVAHS, and UPG employees individual consultations and short-term, focused counseling for a variety of personal issues and common concerns.

    FEAP Website
  • Maxine Platzer Lynn Women's Center

    Counseling and wellness services at the Women’s Center are offered for both men and women individually, as well as for couples.

    Maxine Platzer Lynn Women's Center Website
  • Contemplative Sciences Center

    The Contemplative Sciences Center has expanded their calendar of mindfulness and wellness offerings, including yoga and meditation. Events are virtual and open to the public.

    Contemplative Sciences Center Website
  • Choosing a Volunteer Position

    • Safety and health considerations are important to consider, particularly during this pandemic. See CDC guidelines for in-person activities. If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work virtually.
    • Find the volunteer activity that fits your schedule. Organizations need different levels of commitment for different types of volunteer activities. Serving as a mentor, for example, will require a regular, intensive commitment, while volunteering for a fundraiser may be a short-term commitment.
    • Consider what you have to offer. Do you enjoy outdoor work, or have a knack for teaching? You may also want to think about your specific personality and how your organizational skills or communication style might fit with different organizations or activities. Finally, consider the community’s most pressing needs in a time of crisis, while also considering whether your skills may be particularly useful support for long-term recovery work.
    • Research the organization. What communities do they serve and what issues are they working on? Look for a group that deals with causes or issues which you feel strongly about.
  • Contacting a Community Organization

    • Many agencies are overwhelmed due to the pandemic. Use the volunteer forms, links, and contact information you find. Avoid clogging lines of communication with unsolicited emails and phone calls.
    • Bear in mind that response times may be slow; and when you are contacted, you may be asked to act fast.
  • While Volunteering

    • Be on time. If you have agreed to be somewhere at a designated time, show up on or before that time. Being late shows a lack of respect for others and can cause unnecessary stress for those who count on you.
    • Dress appropriately. The place where you volunteer probably has some sort of dress code. Whether you are doing physical work or performing office tasks, wear something that suits the occasion. If the organization you’re volunteering for has a T-shirt or name tag, wear it.
    • Follow the rules. Chances are, someone has given you a list of rules, either in writing or verbally. Do your very best to follow them because they've been established for a reason. Periodically go over your job description. If you don't have a written one, ask your supervisor how you're doing and if you're meeting expectations.
    • Promote a respectful community. Make efforts to understand and honor the local culture. Adopt a learning mindset. Be sensitive to the fact that you may be interacting with people who are themselves in the middle of a crisis.
    • Communicate. If you see something that the volunteer coordinators need to know about, let them know as soon as possible. Or if you have a better idea for a way to get the work done more efficiently, it will benefit the cause to share your thoughts respectfully.
    • Be discreet. While volunteering, you may see or hear private information that no one else needs to know. Keep it to yourself.
    • Be flexible. You may be actively doing your assigned job when you notice something else that needs to be done. Don't hesitate to do whatever it is, unless it's against the policy of your organization.
    • Bring joy to those you serve. Bring your best positive attitude to the organization you are serving, and uplift the clients who are suffering, or the staff who are overwhelmed and needing your volunteer assistance.
  • After Your Volunteer Shift

    • Has the community organization asked you to record hours? To complete any post-shift report or follow up?
    • Track your hours if you’re requesting UVA Public Service Leave.
    • Reflect on your volunteer experience—What went well? What can you do to improve so that your next shift is more productive, more peaceful?

Contact the Volunteer Center

The UVA Employee Volunteer Center is a combined effort of several University offices including the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach, the Office of Community Partnerships at UVA Health, UVA Human Resources, the Equity Center, and the Office of Economic Development.

Reach us Monday - Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at volunteercenter@virginia.edu or 434.243.4234.

Contact Us

Your Relationship with the Community Organization

When you are offering to perform or are performing volunteer services for a community organization, you are not acting within the course and scope of your employment with the University. You are responsible for the terms and conditions under which you will render volunteer services. 

  • Information about potential risks associated with performing volunteer services in the current environment

    In connection with this program, the University has not endorsed or approved volunteer opportunities or organizations. The participating organizations are independent and are not part of or affiliated with the University. Accordingly, the University does not control, supervise, or direct their activities or personnel and the University is not responsible for their operations, facilities, or property. The University therefore does not warrant or make any promises or representations regarding the conditions, safety, security, personnel, or characteristics of any organization or the location, facilities, or property in which you may be performing volunteer services.  You must exercise your own judgment when evaluating a prospective organization and volunteer opportunity.  The University is not responsible for resolving any problem or dispute of any nature between you and the organization for which you may choose to provide volunteer services.

    The University also is not liable for the independent organization’s contracts, torts, acts or omissions, or those of any person associated with or acting on behalf of the organization or any person being served by the organization.  Importantly, when you are performing volunteer services you are not within the course and scope of your University employment and you are not covered by the University’s or Commonwealth of Virginia’s insurance or risk management plans.

    Performing volunteer activities in the midst of a global pandemic subjects you to risks associated with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and numerous associated serious diseases, medical conditions, and complications up to and including death.  You understand and voluntarily assume all risks associated with providing volunteer services in these conditions, and you agree to waive, release, hold harmless, and not to sue the University, its employees and agents, for any and all loss, liability, damage, claim, expense, cost, injury, or death caused by or associated in any way with your performance of volunteer services.