Serving the Community Through Graduate Education

What information do organizations with a focus on adult literacy need to work more effectively with volunteers? That question was at the core of a semester long collaborative project between the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas and the graduate “Managing Volunteers and Mobilizing the Community” course at The University of Texas at Austin. Thirteen graduate students in public affairs, social work, communications and business worked with 15 literacy organizations in central Texas to help these organizations structure their programs.

The Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, through a capacity building grant from the OneStar Foundation, contracted with the RGK Center and the Center’s volunteerism initiative to strengthen the volunteer management capacity of member organizations. The collaboration included a two-day Institute for Excellence in Volunteer Management in September of 2010. Attended by literacy-oriented organizations and the students in the Managing Volunteer Course, the organizations received a broad based introduction to effective volunteer management. 

Students from the course were paired with clusters of literacy organizations. The student ‘consultants’ met with the organizations to help them identify stepping stones in volunteer program management. The organizations assisted included El Buen Samaritano; Any Baby Can; Communities in Schools; Caritas; Manos de Christo; Austin Free-Net; Ventanilla de Salud; Austin Area Interreligious Ministries; Lifeworks, Englis @ Work; The Austin Academy; Austin Learning Academy: Financial Literacy Coalition; American Youthworks; and Goodwill Industries.

The organizations identified multiple needs including assistance with information about who is volunteering today; steps in the recruitment process; assistance with developing volunteer handbooks and policies and procedures; as well as help with evaluation.

The links below share some of the data and information compiled from multiple sources by the student consultants*:

Special thanks to the University of Texas graduate students:

  • Adriana Campos
  • Adrienne Hussey
  • Ana Portillo
  • Belinda Fleming
  • Dede Sigman
  • Gislaine Williams
  • Johnie Jones
  • Katie Newgren
  • Kara Noel
  • Lauren Burton
  • Marybeth Bennett
  • Tina Gutman
  • Ruth Judd
  • Vanesa Botero-Lowry


The course was lead by Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. Special thanks to LCCT’s Shannon Mann who served as liaison between the organizations. 


*Any omissions or errors are the sole responsibility of the student authors of these documents. If something is not cited, or cited incorrectly, please let us know at volunteer@rgkcenter.org