Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest began in 1956, under the auspices of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. A few committed volunteers helped build and teach in the new Copper Valley School in Copper Valley, Alaska, a boarding school for Native Alaskan and European-descent Alaskan students. The first volunteers were recruited and supported by the Jesuits of the Oregon Province and the Sisters of St. Anne.
The Jesuit Volunteer program expanded out of Alaska in the 1960s to work with Native American communities throughout the Northwest, as well as serving in inner city placements in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the U.S. and other countries around the world.
Beginning in 1974, JVC Northwest inspired the opening of five domestic regions of JVC in the Midwest, East, Southwest, and South, and one international region (JVI), each an independent non-profit office. JVC Northwest has been the catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the U.S. Peace Corps. In JVC Northwest’s 55+ year history, over 6,000 persons have served in our program.
In 2006, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent and locally based to better serve local and regional communities in the Northwest when the East, Midwest, South, and Southwest regions of Jesuit Volunteer Corps, along with Jesuit Volunteers International, made a decision to form one centralized structure based in Baltimore, Maryland. We continue to collaborate with Jesuit Volunteer Corps, united in the shared foundational values of Jesuit Volunteers. JVC Northwest is committed to providing well-supported volunteers to address the most urgent needs in the Northwest.
In 2010, JVC Northwest received a three-year National Direct AmeriCorps award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, allowing us to expand into communities where the need is greatest. These three-year grants were renewed again in 2013 and 2016. Most of our Jesuit Volunteers are AmeriCorps Members, receiving a $5,750 education award at the completion of their service.
Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JVE)
In January 2012, the Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (“encore”) program launched in Portland, OR. As an ecumenical program of JVC Northwest, JV EnCorps facilitates transformative opportunities for service, community and spiritual formation for older adults committed to social and ecological justice. The initial development of the program was made possible with a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
In Fall 2013, the JV EnCorps program in Portland engaged 18 JV EnCorps members serving 16 nonprofit agencies for a total of 5, 000 hours of volunteer service.
As of Fall 2016, JV EnCorps programs has also launched in Bend, OR, Spokane, WA, and Seattle, WA.
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