Encouraging Community Service Where Our Employees and Customers Live and Work

Volunteers are the heart and soul of communities.


Effective volunteer engagement can lead to a nonprofit creating solutions within communities, broadening its efforts and growing its profile and supporter base. For community members, volunteering is a way to use and develop their skills and leadership, build social networks and gain a sense of purpose and connection.


We believe the most effective charitable organizations are those that have built volunteer engagement into their social impact model, so our partnerships focus on deep, long-term volunteer engagement rather than one-off volunteer events.


We also serve our communities by supporting immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts to help victims of natural disasters. Funding also goes to support preparedness programs that allow relief agencies to be better equipped in responding to emergencies as they occur.


Community Service Impact


In 2016, our community service grants helped engage over 6 million volunteers, resulting in more than $660 million in donated time talent . These volunteers:


  • Helped 440,000 young people
  • Built or restored 530 homes
  • Served 115 million meals
  • Rescued 72 million pounds of food that would otherwise go to waste


According to Taproot Foundation, services donated by business professionals are valued at $150 per hour compared to $ 23.07 for more traditional volunteering which is the estimated value of volunteer time, as per the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.


Grant Criteria:


The projects we support encourage community service and civic participation, and deliver measurable outcomes that have a lasting impact on communities through one or more of the following:


  • Building the capacity of nonprofits by assisting them in developing, engaging and retaining community members as volunteers.
  • Engaging community members and American Express employees in ongoing service. This may involve a variety of activities from promoting individual philanthropy, volunteerism or participation in local civic organizations.

Recent Grants


American Red Cross of Greater New York, New York, NY
Support for the expansion of the Ready When the Time Comes (RWTC) program that is designed to engage local community and business groups and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force that is called upon when disaster strikes.


Points of Light Foundation, Atlanta, GA

Support for volunteer activities organized by Points of Light's global network of volunteer centers. This program is designed to drive American Express employee volunteering in key company locations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.


Project Sunshine, Multiple Locations, U.S.

Support for the organization's efforts to engage volunteers to provide its free educational, recreational, and social programs to children facing medical challenges and their families. In key U.S. employee centers - Florida, Central Arizona, New York City and Utah - American Express volunteers assemble activity kits which are distributed to the pediatric patients at local hospitals.


Terrence Higgins Trust, London, UK

Support for the organization's efforts to recruit and engage diverse communities of volunteers who help deliver its wide range of health care and HIV services programming to over 100,000 community members each year.


United Way of New York City, New York, NY

Support for BoardServeNYC, a program that provides comprehensive board service training and placement services to committed New Yorkers seeking to contribute their skills, expertise, and access to resources to strengthen nonprofit organizations in New York City.

Click here for more information about other initiatives within this theme.

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