Brandeis at 75

Global Service Initiatives Directory of Opportunities

How will you repair the world?

In spring of 2023, we asked alumni and members of the Brandeis National Committee to share service organizations and causes that are meaningful to them.

As you consider how you will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Brandeis, we ask that you also consider how you will impact the community at large. How will you repair the world?

We have compiled this list to offer some ideas for the many ways that you can contribute to the community challenge of creating 75,000 acts of service.

Community Challenge Photos

This directory has been created based on information provided by the Brandeis community. To add an organization that you support and would like other Brandeisians to know about, please complete this form.

VolunteerMatch matches inspired people with inspiring causes. It's how volunteers and nonprofits connect to achieve remarkable outcomes. VolunteerMatch is the largest network in the nonprofit world, with the most volunteers, nonprofits and opportunities to make a difference. This volunteer database allows people interested in giving back a way to connect to opportunities based on their location, cause area, group size, and skills among other areas. Check out volunteer opportunities for you, your friends, and your family today!

ADL's Walk Against Hate is not just a walk - it's an opportunity to move as an individual, family or community toward a future without antisemitism, racism and all forms of bigotry.

Find a walk in your area

Submitted by Ron Fish ’91 P’26 and Lori Gans ’83

The world’s largest annual summit on antisemitism and hate will be held in Spring 2024 in New York. Sponsored by the ADL.

Submitted by Ron Fish ’91 P’26 and Lori Gans ’83

Sign up for the chance to save a life! The Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s mission is to cure blood cancer through cellular therapy. We believe every person battling blood cancer deserves a second chance at life — and we are determined to make it happen. We are singularly passionate about engaging the public to help us get everyone involved in curing blood cancer, whether as a donor, a volunteer or a financial supporter. It all begins with one remarkable person, one life-changing swab and one huge win — finding a match and a cure. Register through the Brandeis Donor Circle!

Submitted by Ethan Stone ’19

(San Francisco Bay Area)

Healthy Cities Tutoring (HCT) is a 25 year old non-profit organization providing tutoring to public school students with the help of our volunteer tutors. HCT serves K-8 students with academic needs across a wide spectrum with a special focus on under-privileged students. Many of these students come from families with languages spoken other than English and/or a migration background, and/or parents without high school degrees. HCT serves around 500 students and we are building back up to our 300+ volunteer base post-Covid, to be the largest regional provider in the Mid-Peninsula. Find out more information and how to volunteer.

Submitted by Daniel Guhr ’95

The Foundry is a self-sustaining center of creativity and collaboration in the Kendall Square neighborhood offering the Cambridge, MA community opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The Foundry building provides space and programs for the visual and performing arts, entrepreneurship, technology, and workforce education within its historic, industrial setting. The Foundry facilitates access for residents, especially underrepresented communities and adjacent neighborhoods, to the dynamic working and learning environment of Kendall Square. Volunteer opportunities range from one time to weekly commitment, and can include help with special events, way-finding / welcoming others into our space, or mentoring and skill building in our maker spaces. Additionally, you can support us by reserving space for a workshop or event, signing up for a maker space membership, or donating. For more information, please visit The Foundry's website.

Submitted by Jenna Schlags ’12

The WHN is a project of NECSI - New England Complex Systems Institute.

The World Health Network (WHN) is a global community devoted to protecting health and minimizing harm to individuals and society in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a people’s task force promoting safety and support for everyone. We are committed to ending the pandemic and promoting a healthier, more resilient world. We strive to make our recommendations accessible to all, and to foster a community to share ideas, challenge assumptions, and facilitate collaboration. We believe in the power of collective action. Our mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to take charge of their own health and safety, and to support those who have suffered and are suffering in the face of the pandemic. Our objective is to support the health and safety of all individuals, communities and nations, and provide solutions to the global pandemic.

Submitted by Naomi Bromberg Bar-Yam, ’79, PhD’97, P’07, P’12

The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition is dedicated to improving infant and maternal health and well-being through education, outreach, and advocacy to promote and support breastfeeding.

The Coalition seeks volunteers committed to working collaboratively and actively on its committees, which meet monthly to implement programmatic initiatives. These committees include Conference, DRIVE (Diversity, Representation, Inclusivity, Vision, Equity), NIPPs (Nurturing Information for Professional Practice), and Advocacy. For more information, contact support@massbreastfeeding.org.

The United States Breastfeeding Coalition (USBC) has Breastfeeding Coalitions in each US state, with a wide range of volunteer opportunities.

list of state coalitions

Submitted by Naomi Bar-Yam BA ’79, PhD ’97, P ’07 P ’12 PRWD

Founded in 2006 by Brandeis alumni Naomi Bromberg Bar-Yam, ’79, PhD’97, P’07, P’12 PRWD, Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast supports family and community health and provides equitable access to safe, lifesaving pasteurized donor human milk. The milk bank works with hospitals and families in eleven states in the northeast and provided 1.5 million meals to infants in 2022 alone. Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast is located down the street from Brandeis in Newton Upper Falls and the Brandeis connection continues today through board members Mark I. Rosen, former Associate Professor, Hornstein Program (board chair), alumna Tali Flomenhoft ’16, MA/MBA’19, and Naomi's continued association as the founding director.

We have a long-standing volunteer program (including our volunteers who donate breast milk) and our on-site opportunities include:

  • Laboratory (labeling, creating bin cards, creating sample bags for trays, etc.)
  • Administration (filing bills and invoices)
  • Donor screening (addressing envelopes, making fax packets, filing, etc.)
  • Client relations (creating a variety of packets)
  • Community relations (creating a variety of packets and stuffing envelopes)

For more information, contact us at volunteer@milkbankne.org or 617-340-6434

Submitted by Kate Kaplan

The King County Bar Association (KCBA) is committed to providing our members with opportunities to network, to learn, and to serve the public. The KCBA's Pro Bono Services program promotes social justice by establishing and managing volunteer-based, client-focused legal services programs and providing services on an equal and non-discriminatory basis for low income King County residents who would not otherwise receive legal assistance. However, there are also opportunities for undergraduate, law school or paralegal student and community members to volunteer in the Housing Justice Project and the Neighborhood Legal Clinics. 

Submitted by Michael Goldenkranz ’74

Household Goods, Inc. provides a full range of donated furniture and household items, free of charge, to help people in need make a home. Each year, Household Goods furnishes over 2,500 homes with 60,000 pieces of furniture and smaller household items. All this is made possible by hundreds of dedicated volunteers who contribute thousands of hours each year.

Volunteers do it all! Please spread the word that there are many volunteer opportunities at Household Goods.

  • Drive our trucks (must be over 25 with a clean driving record)
  • Help load and unload donated furniture and household items
  • Get donated furniture ready for clients, making sure it is stable, clean, and functional
  • Get linens and kitchen items ready for clients

New volunteers: get started by registering for a New Volunteer orientation. Please note that Tuesday evening orientations are held remote via zoom and Saturday morning orientations are in person at Household Goods. For any questions or help with registration, visit the Household Goods website.

Submitted by Judy Kronwasser ’68

Stray Pets in Need (SPIN) of Natick, MA is a place for animals to find a home. It provides shelter for animals in need of rescue; can provide foster opportunities; and supports the general wellbeing of animals. Volunteers can be a part of our organization by applying to be a direct care volunteer; applying to foster animals in their own homes; starting a donation collection drive; or supporting the needs of the home.

Submit a volunteer application

Submitted by Dev Singer ’11

The Cat Connection in Waltham, MA is an all-volunteer (with the exception of our Shelter Director) 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill organization whose primary mission is to rescue abandoned, abused, unwanted, stray, neglected, and injured cats, and to facilitate their adoption into responsible permanent homes. They also support our cat community by providing much-needed veterinary and behavior consulting services to caring cat owners who cannot afford to provide basic veterinary care to their beloved pets, including spay/neuter, vaccinations, and microchipping. The third aspect of their mission is to help control the feral cat population through our Trap Neuter-Return-Maintain (TNRM) program and through the trapping and socialization of feral kittens.

Submit a volunteer application

Submitted by Dev Singer ’11

There are many ways to get involved in the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through our powerful activist network. As stewards of our local beaches, we take care of them through regular cleanups. Not only is it more pleasant to spend time at a clean beach, but a clean beach means less trash makes it into the ocean. Plastics are the worst offenders because they break up into smaller and smaller pieces, becoming microplastics. Those microplastics are ingested by fish, zooplankton, and invertebrates, then make their way back up the food chain.

Each month SurfRider hosts a chapter meeting on the first Tuesday, three weekend beach cleanups, and a number of other activities. If you’d like to volunteer and help at an upcoming event or have any questions about how you can protect the ocean and beach for all to enjoy—check out our Beach Cleanup Calendar.

Submitted by Ariel Meave-Ohrt ’13

Before the pandemic, one in five neighbors was at risk of hunger. Now, we know the need is even greater. We address hunger head-on – from our food pantry network and home-delivered groceries to CalFresh (food stamp) enrollment. Every week, over 53,000 households count on us for food assistance. 60% of what we distribute to them is fresh fruit and vegetables. Volunteers are a core component of making this happen. From working at the pop up food pantries, to sorting and packing food in our three warehouses in San Francisco and Marin, to delivering groceries to our neighbors who are seniors, adults with disabilities, pregnant women, and families with children age 3 and younger to a longer term volunteer role on our shop floor, our volunteers make it possible to serve over 53,000 households.

Sign up for a volunteer shift

Submitted by Ariel Meave-Ohrt ’13

(East Bay Area, Northern CA)

CASA is a community-wide coalition dedicated to raising awareness, mobilizing community action, and facilitating the implementation of programs to achieve the goal of Alameda’s Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and to increase community sustainability and well-being. CASA is 100% volunteer run and has committees for Electrification, Transportation, Zero Waste, Climate Education, San Francisco Bay Hope Spot, CASA Youth, Green Schools, Resilience Hub or your project idea! We invite Brandeis’ in the area to join SF Hope Spot on the second Saturday of each month for coastal clean up around the Sea Plane Lagoon followed by “Blue Drinks” at The Rake.

Submitted by Ariel Meave-Ohrt ’13

Join the National Parks staff volunteering to help restore and protect Marin’s natural areas from the Marin Headlands to Bolinas Ridge. We’ll explore beautiful park sites while conducting invasive plant removal, winter planting, and seed collection. Habitat Restoration Team volunteers play a vital role in restoring sensitive resources and protecting endangered species across the ridges and valleys of the Marin Headlands, Tennessee Valley, Tam Valley, Homestead Valley, and Stinson-Bolinas Region. Opportunities available on Sundays, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; 2nd, 4th, & 5th Tuesdays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Locations vary throughout Marin County.

Submitted by Ariel Meave-Ohrt ’13

(South Bay area)

Also known as Pacifica State Beach, Linda Mar is a wide crescent-shaped beach favored as a local surfing spot, and one of the most loved and used beaches in Pacifica by residents and visitors alike. Located adjacent to Highway 1, it features a coastal trail stretching along the beachfront to enjoy from one end to the other, and is critical habitat for the threatened Western Snowy Plover. In addition to beach cleanups, it is the site of native habitat restoration events providing hands-on learning experiences for participants. Monthly clean ups scheduled for Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Not close to Linda Mar? Check out the list of beach clean ups available

Submitted by Ariel Meave-Ohrt ’13

(Greater New York area)

Research has proven that social isolation has devastating effects, but that the power of social connection can be transformative. Founded in 1976, DOROT is a nonprofit organization based in New York City addressing the challenges of an aging population. DOROT’s signature programs and services are designed to foster intergenerational, mutually beneficial connection to people of all ages and particularly to older adults. Administered by social workers and other professional staff with support from more than 6,000 volunteers in any given year, DOROT’s community of older adults feel valued, engaged and connected. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at DOROT. If you are interested in a one-time volunteer opportunity, check out DOROT’s holiday package delivery programs - Rosh Hashanah package delivery will take place this year on Sunday, September 10, 2023.

Submitted by Quinn Lockwood '11

(Toronto)

St. John the Compassionate Mission is dedicated to outreach and care for vulnerable individuals and families in Toronto, especially those living in poverty or on the margins – all are welcome! St. John the Compassionate Mission was founded in Toronto’s east end in 1986, providing meals and a wide range of programs to marginalized individuals, in a nurturing community setting.

The Mission is open to all. We encourage people living in the area – homeless or not, rich or poor – to see the Mission as a community space where people of different backgrounds and needs can feel welcome and needed.

Learn more about how you can help.

(Ana Lobo, MBA ’12)

(Toronto)

Fort York Food Bank's Food Program provides low-income individuals and families living in the community with a three-day supply of groceries and hot meals on multiple days every week. FYFB friends invest more than 12,000 hours of service each year to help people in need. Find out more about volunteer opportunities.

(Ana Lobo, MBA ’12)

(Toronto)

Dixon Hall began as a soup kitchen in 1929, and since then has been steadily increasing and strengthening a diverse range of integrated services for residents of East Downtown Toronto.

Dixon Hall is a multi-service agency, and serves more than 10,000 people annually, impacting the lives of the most vulnerable and the most at-risk members of our community. The organization and its volunteers work with at-risk youth, seniors, adults with physical and health disabilities, people who need housing, individuals searching for employment, those with mental health issues, and newly immigrated individuals and their families.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities and apply to be a community volunteer.

(Ana Lobo, MBA ’12)

(Toronto)

Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke is a community-based, feminist organization providing vital support to self-identified women and their dependents who are survivors of violence and poverty. Founded in 1978, the emergency shelter and outreach centre, established in 2006, offers a suite of services including group and individual counselling, parenting support and housing assistance.

Learn more about individual volunteer roles and corporate volunteer days, as well as in-kind donations and other ways to help.

(Ana Lobo, MBA ’12)

(Hawaii)

JCS of Hawaii is a non-profit organization guided by traditional Jewish values of tikkun olam (to repair the world) and gemilut chasidim (acts of loving-kindness). Our mission is to support and enhance Jewish life in Hawaii through communication, coordination and provision of appropriate social services to those in need. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, or is joining our community and looking for guidance, call us (808-258-7121) or send an email (admin@jcs-hi.org) and we’ll try to help. In light of the fires devastating parts of our islands, if you or a fellow member of the Jewish community is in need of support, pleasecall us (808-258-7121) or send an email (admin@jcs-hi.org). We are available for counseling, crisis intervention, and assistance in accessing emergency funds for those in extreme need. JCS of Hawaii is proud to be part of Hawaii’s safety net.

(Mimi Lind ’88)

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) represents nearly 400 independent Jewish communities, which raise and distribute more than $2 billion annually, including through planned giving and endowment programs to build flourishing Jewish communities domestically, in Israel, and around the world.

The Federation movement, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

In the fields of caregiving, aging, philanthropy, disability, foreign policy, homeland security and health care, we are thought leaders and advocates.

JFNA has started the Hawaii Wildfire Fund to support urgent humanitarian aid, including toiletries, first-aid kits, non-perishable foods, baby supplies and more, that will support those affected by the fires.

(New Jersey)

Jewish Family Service (JFS) is a not-for-profit, nonsectarian social service agency offering a continuum of services to preserve and strengthen the quality of individual and families of all faiths and backgrounds in our tri-county community. Volunteers are needed to deliver groceries and visit homebound seniors, act as a mentor for at-risk families, pack and distribute fresh produce to food insecure families, pro-bono skilled volunteering, and much more. Check out the volunteer page at JFSSHAW for more information and other ways to get involved.

(Steven Kraus ’76)

(Chicago, IL)

The Ark helps Chicagoland Jews facing adversity navigate toward self-reliance. Ark professionals, volunteers, and donors provide free, comprehensive services within a framework of Jewish values and laws.

The Ark provides supportive care and case management for over 4000 clients each year. Our goal is to help people achieve self-reliance in a supportive and confidential setting. Our clients are matched with a case manager to help them navigate the various types of support and services that we offer, such as medical, dental, financial counseling, employment services, or access to our food pantry. There are two food pantries - one in Wet Rogers Park, and the other is in Northbrook at The Ark Northwest. Our pantry provides food, household goods and personal care items - many of which are not covered by SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefits. We rely on the community to collect and donate to our pantry to help us offset the cost of maintaining an all-Kosher pantry. Approximately 60% of our clients utilize the food pantry via on-site pick-ups or home deliveries by volunteers. 

Submitted by Arla Silvestein ’88