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 Glennallen, 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.
In the 1960s JVC Northwest expanded to other communities in and outside of Alaska. Jesuit Volunteers (JVs) began living in and serving with Native American communities throughout the Northwest, as well as in rural and urban social service and health placements across the country and around the world.
JVC Northwest has been a catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the establishment of the Peace Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps. In JVC Northwest’s 66 year history, over 8,000 persons have served in our program.
In 2012, JV Northwest began the JV EnCorps program to provide Northwest communities with the service and gifts of older adults. JV EnCorps members contribute part-time service and gather together monthly for reflection and formation on the Ignatian values of community, spirituality, simple living and social and ecological justice.
With the advent our JV and JV EnCorps programs, JVC Northwest brings intergenerational opportunities for service, contributing to more just and equitable communities in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the past 20 years, our organization has grappled with our evolving understanding of equity and justice, and how it relates to parts of our history. Visit our equity page to read our Acknowledgment of History and Equity Timeline.
Beginning in 1974, JVC Northwest inspired the opening of five domestic regions of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in the Midwest, East, Southwest, and South, and one international region (JVI). In 2006, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent when the five other regions of JVC formed one centralized structure based in Baltimore, MD. Since 2007, JVC Northwest has remained locally based to best serve the most pressing community needs in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Although we are separate organizations, JVC Northwest and JVC continue to collaborate, united in the shared foundational values of Jesuit Volunteers.