Volunteer Hubs: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Monica Ritchie
Executive Director
Volunteer Mississippi

When we begin to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of 2021, our first thoughts are overshadowed by the myriad of challenges caused by a world struggling with an ongoing pandemic. But upon further review, although we have had to alter our way of life and the way we do business, COVID-19 was also the catalyst that strengthened our resolve to deepen friendships and create new and better ways to serve the people of Mississippi.

In 2021, Volunteer Mississippi’s mission to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities was more important than ever. Despite social distancing challenges, our AmeriCorps programs found innovative ways to continue serving schools and programs promoting healthy lifestyles. Our Mississippi Hub Network safely guided volunteer efforts to food pantries and other assistance programs helping families affected by the pandemic

We found renewed strength in our partnerships with the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits &  Philanthropy,  Community Foundations, United Ways, and AmeriCorps host organizations. Their unwavering  support helped us build nonprofit capacity and expand outreach to new sectors and outlying counties.

In addition to tightening our financial belt, we improved processes to support current programs better while encouraging new program growth that uplifts women and girls, bolsters workforce development, promotes environmental stewardship, and increases college access for students in the Delta.

There is much to look forward to and be grateful for in 2022. With the support of our partners, the MS Hub Network is positioned to serve more volunteers and nonprofits than ever before. With new funding from the CARES Act, Volunteer Mississippi will create new AmeriCorps program services to help alleviate health inequities in our state. So, we begin 2022 with a solid foundation, committed partnerships, exciting opportunities to create positive change, and a deep appreciation for the dedicated citizens that serve every day with compassion for their neighbors and determination to create vibrant, healthy communities.

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