UW Retirement Association

Opportunities to Make a Difference

Jean Eisele, Senior Lecturer, Education Program, UW Bothell

Are you looking for a way to re-engage with the UW community and its vision to “enhance the lives of people throughout our community, the state of Washington, the nation and the world”?  UW Encore is excited to share these vetted opportunities for you to make a difference. Explore the web sites of groups that interest you to find the activities and level of volunteer commitment that suit your goals.

Featured Opportunity

Harborview Medical Center Volunteer Activity: Acute Care Companions – Harborview Medical Center (HMC) is offering an opportunity to volunteer directly with patients as  ‘Acute Care Companions’. The largest number of people cared for at HMC are in acute care units, not the Emergency Department or intensive care. Acute care patients are medically stable but are still too ill to go home or even to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility. Often hospitalized for weeks and even months, many of these individuals become lonely, anxious and bored. Many don’t have family that can visit and they need companionship. Staff members do enjoy visiting, but there’s never enough time for them to meet this need.

Acute Care Companion volunteers will be specially trained and supervised.  They will spend an hour or so with each patient. They will do what so many UW retirees know so well already: how to lead the way during conversation with someone new to them. Volunteers wishing to be even more entertaining will be welcome (card games, taking a patient with a walk, doing magic tricks, knitting, etc).

To participate, please email HMC retiree Mike Maye, BSN  mmaye952@gmail.com He will arrange to meet with you for a tour of the unit and further describe the program.  People who wish to participate will need to complete the process to become an HMC volunteer.

UW Community

Husky Leadership Initiative: Help interested undergraduates reflect on and cultivate valuable leaderships competencies. Opportunities for UW retirees include volunteering at the spring celebration of service and leadership, becoming a program mentor for the Husky Leadership Certificate program, and being a table captain at U Lead We Lead. Learn more…

Any Hungry Husky UW Food Pantry: Help UW students in need of food assistance. Email the pantry or call 206-543-4972 to sign up to volunteer, or make a monetary donation HERE.

The Pipeline Project: Advance the Pipeline Project’s important work by tutoring and mentoring K-12 students in Seattle’s Title 1 schools. Learn more…

UW Impact: UW Impact is the UW Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy program. Contact your lawmakers at strategic times to champion investment in faculty compensation, in college access and affordability, and in general higher education/post-secondary support. Learn more…

Huskies@Work: Twice a year (March and November) the UW Alumni Association pairs students with alumni and retirees who have worked in fields the students would like to explore. Visit the webpage HERE.

Admissions Workshop Weekend: Help the UW’s Dream Project assist high school seniors, many of whom would be first generation college students, with their college applications at this event held in November.

International and English Language Programs: Serve as a guide to US/UW culture and practice conversational English with students from other countries. Learn more…

FIUTS (Foundation for International Understanding Through Students): Expand your cultural horizons and support cross-cultural understanding through FIUTS by hosting an international student for a homestay, or be a non-hosting “friendship connection.” Learn about all FIUTS opportunities HERE.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA): Participate in helping educationally disadvantaged students excel in math and science and graduate with math-based degrees. MESA partners with all segments of higher education as well as K-12 institutions. Volunteer roles range from curriculum review to event coordination to competition judge to teacher mentor. Learn more…

UW Botanic Gardens and UW Farm: Learn new skills while you contribute to plant conservation and education. See opportunities and sign up HERE. See the UW Farm calendar HERE.

UW Medical Center (UWMC): Serve others through various meaningful roles, including palliative care patient visitor, surgery/patient family liaison, fast-paced lobby ambassador and administrative duties. To learn more contact Cynnie Foss, Volunteer Program Manager, at (206) 598-4453 or fossc@uw.edu.


501 Commons Service Corps: Management consulting services and programs offered to Greater Seattle non-profits by 501 Commons are made possible by members of our Executive Service Corps who donate their time and professional skills. Membership in our service corps is open to professionals throughout the state of Washington. Service corps members serve as consultants, coaches, executive advisers, facilitators, and project managers. Learn more about the program and apply HERE.

Social Venture Partners (SVP): We connect and invest in people and organizations to co-create thriving, sustainable and just communities in the Puget Sound region. Learn about becoming an SVP Partner at HERE and about the many opportunities to assist non-profits HERE.

JV EnCorps: (See Featured Opportunity Above) Created to meet the needs of retired people or those moving into retirement who seek to remain vital and active through meaningful work benefiting society. Together we reflect on and support each others experiences of meaning and fulfillment through our community service. Learn more HERE.

Old Weather Ships’ Logs: Sail the high seas without leaving your chair. Transcribe ships’ logs from mid-18th to mid-19th century U.S. ships and provide invaluable old weather data to scientists and researchers.  You can get started at any time! Visit Old Weather or Old Weather Whaling.

JV EnCorps: Engage in a transformative 10-month experience of service and spiritual growth, committing to volunteer in the local community and to explore JVC Northwest’s core values: community, simple living, spirituality, and social and environmental justice. Learn more… 

Evergreen Health Hospice: Become part of the Evergreen Health Hospice Care team and provide assistance through companionship, respite care, life review, errands, or light housekeeping in the field, or animal-assisted therapy at the hospice center. Learn more…

Catholic Health Initiative’s Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care: Offer emotional support by building a caring relationship with patients in the last stage of life. Comprehensive training (online and in person) is provided for this opportunity for volunteers who can commit to up to four hours a week for one year, who can listen with empathy and without judgment, who have respect for all people regardless of creed, culture, gender or lifestyle, and who can maintain confidentiality. Learn more…

Opportunity Search Engines

Looking for other volunteer opportunities in the larger community? Use these search engines to find a comprehensive lists of chances to lend a hand.