Service & Volunteering

Generations United supports intergenerational service and volunteering by promoting policies that expand the number and diversity of volunteers in quality intergenerational programs and the number of creative intergenerational program opportunities, including those that reach out to Baby Boomers. 

Intergenerational service opportunities are programs in which generations join together to help one another through innovative intergenerational approaches.  A wide range of policies provide opportunities and support for intergenerational service initiatives, including the Serve America Act and the Older Americans Act.

Serve America Act

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 is the largest expansion of national service since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  The bill, signed into law in 2009, reauthorizes, modernizes, and strengthens national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  The bill not only strengthens existing service programs, but expands opportunities for intergenerational service in America.  The Serve America Act comes at a time of rising interest in service from both young and old.

Highlights from the Serve America Act:

  • The new Summer of Service and Semester of Service programs for community and school-based service learning, part of Learn and Serve America, gives prioritized funding for programs that utilize older adult volunteers.
  • The AmeriCorps program became more older-adult friendly, requiring that ten percent of AmeriCorps positions be targeted to people age 55 and older and/or to multigenerational service opportunities.
  • To increase participation in the Foster Grandparents Program, the minimum age for volunteers was lowered from 60 to 55 years, and the stipend eligibility for Senior Corps programs was raised from 125 percent up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • The new Encore Fellowship Program establishes one year placements for people age 55 and older in management or leadership positions to work with nonprofits and government in areas of “national need,” such as education, health, energy, the environment, and poverty.
  • The new Silver Scholarship Grant Program provides $1,000 higher education scholarships to individuals age 55 or older who complete at least 350 hours of service in a year in an area of national need.  The grant may be transferred to a child, grandchild or foster child.

Intergenerational service and volunteering allows the opportunity to create communities that value the contributions of all generations and balance the responsibility and fulfillment of giving back to the community.


Download our Serve America Act Fact Sheet (PDF)
Visit United We Serve to find volunteer opportunities near you