Support Center

Program Overview

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2017 11:15AM EDT

Program History & Impact

President George W. Bush established the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) in the wake of the September 11th attacks to recognize the central role volunteers had played in responding to the attacks and in furthering America’s prosperity. In his Executive Order Establishing the USA Freedom Corps (January 30, 2002), President Bush set the benchmark now recognized through PVSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award: “[T]his Administration encourages all Americans to serve their country for the equivalent of at least 2 years (4,000 hours) over their lifetimes.”
When President Barack Obama took office in 2008, he provided a new letter and signature for the award; we now seek to partner with President Donald Trump to continue this program. PVSA has enjoyed strong support through both Republican and Democrat administrations, and huge variety of non-partisan military, corporate, faith-based, and community organizations depend on PVSA as the foundation of their strategies to encourage greater levels of service and to provide meaningful thanks.
Program Impact, 2004-2016
  • Americans recognized: 1,780,343
  • Volunteer hours certified: 928,404,243

Program Operations

Partnering with participating organizations to honor volunteers
  • PVSA vets prospective organization partners to ensure groups are U.S.-based entities that receive or facilitate volunteer service; approved participating organizations certify service hour completion.
  • PVSA encourages participating organizations to implement best practices:
    • Tracking volunteer hours to articulate volunteers’ value to organization
    • Providing meaningful recognition to foster further commitment
    • Holding up most invested volunteers as role models to encourage others to serve
  • Organizations pay nominal award costs($3.00-$10.50), demonstrating investment in top volunteers


Corporations participate to encourage skills-based volunteering and community invesment
  • Leadership Organizations include Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Cit, SunTrust, and AT&T
Service members and national security employees particulary value Presidential recognition
  • PVSA helps build community and raise morale on domestic and overseas military stations
  • TSA has used PVSA to expand participation in its federal flight deck officer program
Recognition is essential for encouraging youth service and inculcating giving back as a value
  • We partner with Prudential Spirit of the Community Awards, HOBY Youth Leadership, Junior Achievement, Lion’s Heart, and hundreds of Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops
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