Our History


Since 1964, the national award-wining Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) has advanced nonprofits and volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging inovation, and empowering individuals throughout the Bay Area.

CVNL knows that passion alone isn’t enough when it comes to creating strong nonprofits. CVNL works with aspiring and established leaders every day to help them build the skills and connections that can take their impact to the next level — offering comprehensive programs including, executive search, consulting, leadership training and recognition. CVNL has a rich history of promoting volunteerism — providing easy-to-access, meaningful opportunities to individuals, families, groups, and businesses. CVNL believes that with confident and prepared leaders, our nonprofits will be better equipped to create healthy, happy communities.

Since 1964, the national award-wining Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) has advanced nonprofits and volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging inovation, and empowering individuals throughout the Bay Area.

CVNL knows that passion alone isn’t enough when it comes to creating strong nonprofits. CVNL works with aspiring and established leaders every day to help them build the skills and connections that can take their impact to the next level — offering comprehensive programs including, executive search, consulting, leadership training and recognition. CVNL has a rich history of promoting volunteerism — providing easy-to-access, meaningful opportunities to individuals, families, groups, and businesses. CVNL believes that with confident and prepared leaders, our nonprofits will be better equipped to create healthy, happy communities.


1960’s

1964 – Volunteer Bureau of Marin County opens

1967– Became a United Way Agency

1968 – Began transportation program, transferred to Marin Senior Coordinating Council in 1991

1969 – Opened an office at the Department of Social Services and Probation Dept.


1970’s

1970 – Held 1st Marin Designer Showcase

1971 – First executive director roundtable

1972 – Formation of Auxiliary

1972 – Founded Youth Division, The Switching Yard which became Youth Conection

1972 – Published 1st county-wide guide to volunteer opportunities

1974 – Established West Marin Volunteer Bureau in Point Reyes Station

1977 – Published 1st Marin County Resource Directory

1978 – Started Senior Conection, a visiting program for isolated elders, moved to Family Service Agency

1979 – Developed San Anselmo Volunteer Effort


1980’s

1982 – Opened temporary Inverness office to aid flood victims

1983 – First Marin Human Race Changed name to Volunteer Center of Marin

1985 – Developed volunteer program for Bay Model Visitor Center Participated in the founding of Marin Community Foundation (MCF)

1986 – Began Senior Focus — 2 year program to develop retiree volunteerism Nominated1st appointee to MCF Board of Trustees as an appointing authority

1987 – First time Human Race raises $100,000 for agencies and schools West Marin emergency food pantry opened


1990’s

1991 – Launched Holiday Gifts of Love, a holiday gift & service opportunity to help those in need

1992 – Produced booklet on schooI-community partnerships, distributed by State Dept. of Education Joined management team of new Marin InterAgency Disaster Response Plan Deployed staff/volunteers to assist in disaster relief after Hurricane Andrew and Oakland Hills fire

1993 – Corporate Volunteer Council started to support corporate/business employee volunteer engagement

1994 – Deployed staff to help after Northridge earthquake

1995 – Directors of Volunteers in Agencies created to provide professional development for volunteer managers

1996 – C-MAP (California Management Assistance Partnership), a consortium of regional nonprofit support organizations providing training and technical assistance to nonprofits, are provided funding by James Irvine Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California Wellness, and California Endowment

1998 – C-MAP funding from California Endowment is instrumental in Marin Council of Agencies (MCA) ability to build core support trainings and educaflon

1999– Alliance talks begin between Volunteer Center and MCA


2000’s

2001 – Merger between the Volunteer Center and MCA, creating Marin Nexus Partner with Tamalpais Bank on Heart of Marin Study commissioned: “Fostering Leadership and Community in Marin’s Non-profit Sector”

2002 – Technical assistance provided to MCF Faiths Initiative grantees

2003 – Name changed to Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) Marin Designer Showcase (MDS) established Heart Tug Award to donate a percentage of proceeds; for 5 years over $100,000 was donated to 14 members including Meals of Marin, Marin Brain Injury Network, RotaCare Free Clinic, Casa Allegra, Marin Abused Women’s Services, Bridge the Gap, St. Vincent de Paul, Wildcare, Helen Vine Detox Center, and Ritter Center. Joined Marin County School to Career Partnership. BoardMatch Marin launches to connect agencies with board candidates. Community Action Team started to expand and enrich youth volunteerism

2004 – Masters of Marin/ProBono Marin established Opened the Nonprofit Library Resource Center

2005 – With MarinSpace, developed nonprofit resource center at 555 Northgate Drive Marin Leadership Institute established Participated in the establishment of Marin 2-1-1 Michael Lerner, founder of Commonweal, keynotes at Marin Nonprofit Conference

2006 – Honored with Excellence in Communications by Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network

2007 – Published 1st Marin Nonprofit Landscape Study National Council on Aging grant to engage 50+ Executive Search & Transition Services and Emerging Leaders Program launched

2008 – Accept Achievement in Inovation Award from California Association of Nonprofits for work in engaging older adults in high impact volunteering Nonprofit Sustainability Forum held

2009 – Designated a HandsOn Affiliate Flexible (FLEX) Volunteer Program launched


2010’s

2010 – Union Bank becomes presenting sponsor of Heart of Marin

2011 – Awarded George W. Romney Award for Excellence by Points of Light Institute Selected as lead for California Volunteers Service Enterprise Initiative

2013 – Marin Nonprofit Study: Resilience, Resourcefulness, and Recovery is commissioned

2014 – Designated HandsOn Affiliate for Napa and Sonoma Celebration of 50 years serving community! Deployed staff to help after American Canyon earthquake

2015 – Move to 65 Mitchell Service Enterprise expands to Napa County and San Quentin