The Program

Lutheran Volunteer Corps “Legacy” Program

LVC’s Legacy program was founded in 1979! LVC places adults over 21 years of age (“Volunteers”) in full-time service positions at social-justice organizations across the United States in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Omaha, St. Paul, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, DE — for one or two years.  Group housing is provided for Volunteers who live together and are encouraged to explore LVC’s core principles: living simply and sustainably in intentional community while serving the cause of peace with justice.  LVC places emphasis on the foundations of racism, oppression, and privilege in its social justice preparation curriculum; and Volunteers develop broad leadership skills while being placed with food justice, legal aid, environment, housing, immigration, education, health care, and other missions.  Many Volunteers for the service year are new college grads, though the program is open to adults in all phases of life.  A small stipend is provided.

Highlights of the Legacy (year-long) program include:

  • Year-long volunteer service in an LVC program city
  • Group housing provided by LVC
  • Modest stipend 
  • Health insurance, work-related transportation reimbursement
  • Exploration of simplicity, sustainability and faith perspectives while living in intentional community with other Volunteers
  • Placement in a volunteer position with a social justice partner organization
  • A year-long learning series on the foundations of privilege and oppression; including a NEW! monthly Zoom learning series exploring social justice contemporary issues in action, facilitated by experts, practitioners, and researchers
  • Vocational discernment 

NEW! LVC Flex Semesters

LVC is piloting a flexible program placing volunteers over 21 at any stage of life, in full-time, semester-long service positions at social-justice organizations in its program cities.  This program is for one semester August-December, January-May, or June-August; and depends on the availability of Placements, Volunteers, and local advisors enrolled in the flex program.  Volunteers serve in one of LVC’s program cities where they already reside, with housing provided only if available (like a commuter program, Volunteers provide their own housing). Volunteers commit to spending time together every week exploring the values of living in community, simply and sustainably, while volunteering full-time for social justice.  They participate in LVC’s orientation and learning activities, outside of daily volunteering.  A small stipend is provided.  Each city must have a minimum of four volunteers enrolled each semester to work together as a cohort.

Highlights of Flex Semesters include:

  • Semesters of 3-5 months
  • Volunteers serve where they live, in one of LVC’s program cities
  • Modest stipend
  • Health insurance, work-related transportation reimbursement
  • Housing is not guaranteed, and may have limited availability (Volunteers provide their own housing)
  • Exploration of simplicity, sustainability and faith perspectives while meeting weekly with a Volunteer cohort over the length of the program
  • Placement in a volunteer position with a social justice partner organization
  • A learning series on the foundations of privilege and oppression; including a NEW! monthly Zoom learning series exploring social justice contemporary issues in action, facilitated by experts, practitioners, and researchers
  • Vocational discernment 

(Note: LVC retains the right to modify program services from one year to the next based on budget, new ideas, and needed modifications.)

Both programs require the following:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Self-motivated, mature, stable
  • Can commit to the program year from August to July, or semester duration
  • Interest in social justice work
  • Wants to grow and engage with their housemates in intentional community (year), or peer group exploring LVC values (semester)
  • Wants to explore living simply/sustainability, spirituality, and social justice in practice (year) or in theory (semester)
  • Wants to expand anti-racism/oppression and social justice skillset by participating in self-guided and LVC-designed year-long learning experiences
  • Able to live in modest rental housing provided by LVC with a group of other Volunteers (year), or have own housing (semester)
  • Able to have positive, healthy social interactions with others to promote living and/or working together

Cost of the Program

While the cost of benefits provided to Volunteers in the program may average around $25,000 – $30,000 per year, Volunteers are selected to volunteer at little to no cost. In exchange for this grant of program services to the Volunteer, Volunteers must commit to participate and engage fully for the duration of the program chosen, whether a year or a semester volunteer experience. Volunteers sign a 3-Way Contract between the Volunteer, Placement, and LVC.

The cost of programming is shared by the nonprofit organizations that provide a position for volunteering (Placements cover 30-50%), and LVC which raises funds year-round (50-70%). Partner organizations can request a worksheet to determine their fees, which are based on the organization’s salaries and benefits line as reported in the most recent 990.

There is a cost to Volunteers if they leave the program early. Volunteers that leave the program early return part of this $25-30,000 grant amount to the Placement organization, since the Placement has committed to the Volunteer with its fees paid to LVC and volunteer position for the full year or semester. Additionally, the Placement has depended on the Volunteer fulfilling the position requirements and often can not easily replace the Volunteer. The amount is not the full $30,000, but a percentage of the cost, and depends on the length of time served.

Benefits

Volunteers

Along with leadership development, skill building, social justice experience to propel new careers, and vocational discernment that Volunteers gain; alumni often report the living out of LVC values around community, simple and sustainable living, and exploration of spirituality perspectives, as lessons that remain with them throughout their lives.

Nonprofit Partners/Placements

Nonprofit partners gain volunteers to advance their social justice missions, from 3 months in summer to a year, with the ability to renew the term with agreement of all parties. Nonprofits also gain access to some of LVC’s learning series activities to engage staff in discussions around social justice topics.

All parties help advance the movement around volunteering as a way to act out justice in the world in which we live.