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About the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement

MAVA advances the power of volunteerism to deepen community impact through uplifting community voice, building connections, providing education, and promoting advocacy.

Strengthening Service 2022

The Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) envisions a world in which everyone has an equitable opportunity to positively impact their community through volunteerism.

As a state and global leader in meeting pressing community needs through effective and equitable engagement of volunteers, MAVA has embedded equity into internal structures and works with other organizations to dismantle structural racism in volunteer systems.


Also a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit, and one-of-its-kind organization, MAVA propels organizations and volunteer engagement professionals to maximum mission capacity through multiple services and programs. These include:

  • Innovative consulting, training, and conferences in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and best practice training in volunteer engagement
  • An AmeriCorps VISTA program focused on volunteer engagement capacity building
  • Certification of service enterprise organizations demonstrating solid leveraging of volunteer resources
  • Research resulting in cutting-edge curriculum in topics that advance organizational effectiveness in solving pressing community problems
  • Connection, networking, and advocacy for volunteer engagement professionals.
  • Funding for volunteer engagement capacity-building
To learn more about how MAVA will accomplish this work, read our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan.


Prior to MAVA’s launch in 2001, dozens of small, separate networks of volunteer managers existed throughout Minnesota. Volunteer administrators understood as early as 1990 that there was no common voice for volunteer administration in Minnesota and that the myriad of small networks severely strained financial resources and leadership potential.
In 1997, this void was further recognized when President Clinton convened the Presidents' Summit for America's Future and planners could not identify a central stateside professional association for volunteer administration in Minnesota. This spurred leaders in Minnesota's volunteer community to once again renew their vision to consolidate networks into one strong association. They saw that a single alliance would advance the profession of volunteer administration by enhancing visibility and credibility. In 1998, Volunteer Leadership 2000 invited more than 40 small networks to develop the new statewide alliance that would be known as the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration.
Launched on November 14, 2001, MAVA now combines the resources and knowledge of many of these separate groups. With the closing of the Minnesota Office of Citizenship and Volunteer Services during Governor Jesse Ventura's administration in 2002 and severe cuts to social programs in subsequent years, Minnesota's volunteer programs are under increasingly severe strain. The resources and education provided by MAVA are now more vital than ever.


"All the partners in the volunteer community have a role to play a very special role. My travels throughout this country bring me to one conclusion about this new alliance and it is this: Minnesota has an excellent opportunity to again lead the way and to exhibit the power that comes from a volunteer leadership community unified around issues and challenges in the field. One not limited by definitions and roles which do not fit year 2000 and beyond-thinking. Through this kind of collaboration, 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals MUCH MORE than 3. This is energizing ... exciting ... earthshaking ... groundbreaking for the field!!! It is what true leadership, lived out in a contemporary world, requires us to make happen. "   

- Mike NewmanPast President

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