2021 Grants Challenge

Students Helping Others: UCLA Volunteer Day 2021 & One Bus/One Cause

The UCLA Volunteer Center connects students to the LA community through volunteer opportunities. Annually, we connect thousands of students to service through our two largest programs: One Bus/One Cause & Volunteer Day. Both programs introduce the UCLA Community to service opportunities and the need for volunteers in LA. Receiving this grant would provide opportunities to students in hopes of creating lifelong volunteers to enrich the LA community. Note: as COVID restrictions shift, we are prepared to host in-person, online or hybrid programs.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

According to the Corporation for National Community Service and LA2050, in 2018, 24.1% of LA-area residents volunteered at least once annually. The LA region is now ranked 46th for its volunteer rate out of 50 major metropolitan areas in the nation. The UCLA Volunteer Center expects more and we strive to engage the UCLA community in the Los Angeles neighborhoods. The UCLA Volunteer Center supports LA2050’s target of having 65% of residents in the region volunteer formally at least once annually. Through our annual UCLA Volunteer Day and bi-monthly One Bus/One Cause events; we continue to introduce UCLA students to service work in LA to become lifelong volunteers. We know that COVID is a real concern, yet that has not slowed our commitment to service. We have adapted our service projects to an online format for the past 1.5 years. In Fall 2021, we are prepared to continue service in a COVID safe model, whether that is online, in-person or hybrid.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The UCLA Volunteer Center coordinates service projects throughout Greater LA to inspire the UCLA family to give their time and talent. UCLA provides two large-scale projects to give back to the community: UCLA Volunteer Day & One Bus/One Cause. The UCLA Volunteer Day was founded in 2009 as the nation’s largest service project for new university students. Volunteer Day has become a cornerstone of the UCLA experience. The annual day of service is when UCLA students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents & community members come together to provide service at sites in LA County. The project, which began with 4,000 volunteers & 8 service sites, has now grown to more than 7,000 volunteers at 200+ sites. Thousands of service hours are completed on this day with an impact on hundreds of organizations in LA. The UCLA One Bus/One Cause Project sends a bus filled with 50 UCLA staff, faculty, students, alumni & community volunteers into LA to address a specific need. This program occurs bi-monthly to address an organization's needs in a small impactful way. With two projects a month, our One Bus/One Cause Project records hundreds of service hours to worthy non-profit organizations. Note: From March 2020 until today, we transitioned all service programs into a virtual format to comply with COVID protocols. In Fall 2021, we are prepared for a virtual, in-person or hybrid format.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 6,000

Indirect Impact: 260,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

“I had such a good time and really felt that I was contributing my time to a good cause;” “I liked that different service groups volunteered together-it added a sense of community because people knew each other already.” These testimonials are from UCLA students who participated in Volunteer Center programs. Through our projects, we offer LA County a group of eager and committed volunteers that work to create a community of growth and civic engagement. Our success is shown through our volunteer metrics; we have worked with 646 non-profit sites, 62,062 student volunteers, 49,142 first-time student volunteers and completed 346,092 service hours. If we secure funding, our goal is to increase our volunteer numbers by 10%. With 40,000+ enrolled students, a workplace of 42,000+ employees, we have the people power and connections to help push LA to lead the nation in voting and volunteering rates.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The UCLA Volunteer Center has served as a model for the planning, implementation and management of large-scale community projects. Since the Center’s inception, we have been collecting metrics for our two largest programs: One Bus/One Cause and Volunteer Day. Below are some highlighted metrics: Volunteer Day/One Bus/One Cause 119 Student Volunteers 62,062 First-Time Student Volunteers 49,142 Student Leads 5,140 Alumni Volunteers 389 Community Volunteers 528 Faculty/Staff Volunteers 4,422 Buses 1,243 Volunteer Sites 646 Community Partners 626 Service Hours Served 346,092 Letters Written to Operation Gratitude 18,298 Value of Service $8,845,269.33 We are proud to have supported LA2050 past grantees through service: City of LA Department of Parks and Recreation & Las Fotos Project. Our volunteer numbers have been lower due to COVID protocols, yet we are committed to providing service in a virtual, in-person or hybrid format for the next academic year, pending UCLA & LADPH COVID decisions

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​


Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

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