IVC’s Program & Structure
IVC’s three volunteers become the hands and heart, the eyes and ears of God here. They meet every one of us, especially those most vulnerable, with open hearts and minds. With them, Joseph’s House hums with kindness, sings with love.
Executive Director, Joseph’s House, Washington, DC
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) is a national non-profit service organization that provides men and women, most aged 50 or better, with opportunities to serve others—to address social injustice—and to transform lives. IVC was founded in 1995 when two Jesuit priests, Jim Conroy, SJ, and Charlie Costello, SJ, gathered a small group of retired men and women in DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia to explore ways to minister to those who were materially poor while also gaining spiritual growth through service. Now more than 500 corps members serve in 22 regions across the US.
Members of IVC’s service corps, who are recruited and supported by IVC’s dedicated regional staff, typically serve two days a week for 10 months a year, and many volunteers renew that commitment year after year. Volunteers spend their time in local Service Sites that are identified as IVC partner organizations. These community organizations work directly with people who are materially poor or in organizations that address the structures that affect people who are poor. Corps members tutor, advance literacy skills, help find jobs and housing, provide healthcare and companionship, and work to overcome poverty. They may also engage in counseling, administrative tasks, fund-raising, and more. Care is taken in matching a candidate’s talents to an organization’s needs, but often placed corps members discover and develop new skills when they choose to work at projects unrelated to their former job experience.
IVC’s corps members are guided through a reflection process based on The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. This process helps them discover the deeper meaning of the work they do and to see Christ more clearly as they labor among their brothers and sisters who are poor. Reflecting and praying in the Ignatian tradition—individually and communally—deepens the experience of service and is a unique feature of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and a key reason that corps members return to IVC year after year and become so committed to the program and their service site.
IVC is governed by a National Board, with members from across the US in regions where IVC operates. Members have experience in the fields of law, finance, foundations, fundraising, management, marketing, Ignatian Spirituality, the Society of Jesus, social services and IVC membership.
IVC is managed by a National Office staff. The national office works with the national board in service to the organization and supports the regions.
Regional Directors and Coordinators administer the local IVC program in their city. They recruit and place new volunteers, reflectors and agencies; plan and run monthly meetings and retreats; guide the spiritual reflection components of the program; and fundraise, coordinate events, publicize and liaison with the Province and other Jesuit organizations. Regions have Regional Councils to assist with the promotion, operation and fundraising activities.
Ignatian Volunteers make up the heart of IVC. They are active women and men, age 50 or better, who recognize God’s goodness in their lives and desire to give something back by helping those struggling with the barriers of poverty and who are willing to reflect on and share their volunteer experiences with other Ignatian Volunteers.
Spiritual Reflectors are men and women trained in Ignatian Spirituality who “reflect” with the volunteers on their service work as they seek God in all things.
Partner Agencies work with IVC to either directly serve the needs of the poor or address those structures which affect the poor and welcome Ignatian Volunteers as part-time staff. They support the IVC program with a modest annual fee. These partnerships help to ensure that IVC’s unique program of service and spirituality will continue to grow for years to come.
IVC is financially and spiritually supported by generous Individuals, Foundations, Jesuit Provinces, Jesuit Communities and Service Sites.