HandsOn Central Ohio traces its roots to the mid-1980s merger of two existing organizations: the Volunteer Action Center (VAC), a clearinghouse of activities to engage volunteers in central Ohio, and; CALL, Columbus’ first community information and referral provider. The result was a one-stop shop for information on both nonprofit and government program, and volunteerism. As the organization continued to grow to meet the spectrum of community needs, in 1995 CALLVAC launched a new brand identity and was renamed FIRSTLINK.
The agency’s volunteer programs continued to grow, and FIRSTLINK developed ties with national organizations, including the National Council of Volunteer Centers and the Points of Light Foundation (POLF). From there, the relationship grew with the HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the nation. In 2010, FIRSTLINK became the HandsOn Network affiliate in central Ohio.
Today, HandsOn Central Ohio inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to create meaningful change in their lives and in their community. The agency is the region’s premiere information, resource referral, and volunteer mobilization organization, serving greater Columbus for nearly 30 years. HandsOn Central Ohio serves more than 500,000 people across 29 Ohio counties each year by providing community insights, access to critical needs, and volunteer support to provide access to safe and warm housing; nutritious meals; improved academic, social, and emotional outcomes for young people; better public health; and stronger central Ohio neighborhoods.
HandsOn Central Ohio is a dynamic social enterprise organization with a rich history of service in our home community. We are proud of the partnerships we have that make central Ohio a great place to live, learn, and lead. We are even prouder of the work we do each day, with more than 1,000 program and service partners and nearly 10,000 volunteers, to sustain Columbus' success.
Serving as president of the HandsOn Central Ohio board of directors has provided me with the opportunity to witness firsthand the great need in our community for human services and volunteer engagement. Thanks to the dedication of our board, staff, volunteers, community partners, and supporters, HandsOn Central Ohio has created a coordinated pathway for individuals and organizations to obtain needed resources and provide valuable assistance. I am proud that HandsOn Central Ohio continues to engage citizens, connect communities and initiate change to improve the lives of the residents of central Ohio.