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Serve Washington launches new volunteer awards program

OLYMPIA—Serve Washington is pleased to announce nominations are open for the Washington State Volunteer Service Awards.

The purpose of these awards is to honor the many acts of kindness that individuals, families, service groups and organizations perform in communities across the state of Washington. images of black students sitting at desk in classroom, woman wearing hard hat and goggles while holding dog and Asian woman putting her hand on shoulder of senior woman

Nominations are open to anyone who has performed any type of service—formal or informal—in the past year. We are seeking nominations that demonstrate all types of volunteerism: neighbors helping neighbors, giving time to hospitals, disaster preparedness efforts, supporting food banks, delivering meals, participation in national service and those who informally give their time, care, or assistance to meet challenges.

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Dec. 22, 2023. Submit your nomination.

“Serve Washington supports programs that bring diverse individuals and perspectives to serve our state,” said Amber Martin-Jahn, Serve Washington’s executive director. “Through these awards, we seek to recognize individuals and groups who reflect the diversity of our state for their contributions toward effectively addressing issues that face their communities.”

Awards will be given to one outstanding individual and one volunteer group or program in each of the following regions:

  • Peninsula/Coastal: Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Kitsap counties
  • South Puget Sound: Mason, Thurston, Pierce and Lewis counties
  • Southwest: Cowlitz, Skamania, Clark and Wahkiakum counties
  • South Central: Benton, Franklin, Kittitas, Klickitat, Walla Walla and Yakima counties
  • Southeast: Adams, Whitman, Garfield, Columbia and Asotin counties
  • Northeast: Ferry, Stevens, Pend Orielle, Lincoln, and Spokane counties
  • North Central: Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties
  • North Puget Sound: King and Snohomish counties
  • Northwest: Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties

These regions are set by the Nonprofit Association of Washington and 501 Commons, which are two of Serve Washington’s primary partners who support community-based volunteerism.

Help spread the word! Download and share our awards flyer [PDF]  

The awards replace the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards, which were held in Olympia for many years. Serve Washington redesigned the awards to make participation more equitable by removing barriers such as time and costs associated with travel while being more reflective of local communities’ preferences for recognition.

“We believe volunteerism promotes bonds across various races, cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences,” Martin-Jahn said. “We also believe national service, volunteerism and civic engagement are key to achieving equity, strengthening communities and improving lives. These beliefs led us to restructure our volunteer recognition awards with pro-equity and anti-racism in mind. We want to remove barriers for participation by engaging at the local level and celebrating the rich diversity of the people and communities of Washington. Together we can build a service culture where all experiences that make us human are honored.”

Under the governor’s Executive Order 16-08, Serve Washington is responsible for making service part of the lives of all Washingtonians. Volunteer recognition activities are part of this duty.

Visit our Washington State Volunteer Service Awards page for answers to frequently asked questions and to view our nomination form and guidelines.

If you have questions or need the nomination form and guidelines in an alternate format, please call (360) 902-0656 or email us.

Informational and Technical Assistance: Need help submitting a nomination? Serve Washington is hosting a virtual informational and technical assistance session for anyone with questions about the new awards, nomination form or process on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. via Zoom. There's no need to register. Click this link to join at the time of the webinar.