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Engaging Citizens

Building the capacity of our nonprofit partners to better serve communities by engaging citizens in service.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of communities. The ability to effectively engage volunteers can make a tremendous difference in nonprofit organizations’ ability to fulfill their mission, expand their work, amplify their profile and grow their base of supporters.

For community members, volunteering is a way to develop skills, practice leadership, build social networks and enjoy a sense of purpose and connection.

We partner with nonprofit organizations to build volunteerism into their business model, focusing on long-term engagement rather than one-off events, with a specific focus on organizations led by people of color and underrepresented groups. One significant way we do this is through Serve2Gether, which brings American Express colleagues into communities, whether it’s through hands-on or virtual volunteering.


When a natural disaster occurs, it’s all hands-on deck: we assist with both immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts. But we also support preparedness programs that can better equip relief agencies to respond to emergencies as they occur. From 2008 to 2020, American Express has helped the victims of 41 disasters in 34 countries by aiding leading disaster relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, CDC Foundation, Doctors without Borders, Feeding America, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the United Nations World Food Programme.


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

  • Building the capacity of nonprofits, particularly those organizations that are led by people of color and underrepresented groups, by assisting them in developing, engaging and retaining community members as volunteers.
  • Engaging community members and American Express colleagues in ongoing service. This may involve a variety of activities from promoting individual philanthropy, volunteerism or participation in local civic organizations.


American National Red Cross, Washington, DC

Support for the organization’s disaster volunteer recruitment to train and engage volunteers who respond to emergencies in the Red Cross regions that serve South Florida, New York, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. Volunteers take part in ongoing training, which equips them to respond to emergencies of all sizes, quickly. Through ongoing training, disaster volunteers are ready to help those who suffer loss due to an emergency such as home fires that occur daily and large-scale disaster responses

Feeding America, Chicago, IL
Support for Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund, which is helping food banks across the country as they support communities impacted by the pandemic. The Fund enables food banks to secure the resources they need to serve the most vulnerable members of the community.

Ocean Conservancy, Washington, DC
Support for the organization’s mission of making the ocean plastic-free via the Trash Free Seas® program, expanding the impact and volunteer participation of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the largest global volunteer effort for ocean health.

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 colleague volunteering in key company locations in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

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.

National Cares Mentoring Movement Inc., New York, NY

Support to increase the organization’s capacity to deliver training, new resources and support affiliate leaders, as they prepare to launch Community Wellness and Wealth-Building Circles in their local communities. Project support includes training, providing materials, enhancing curriculum and providing individualized technical assistance.