Maybe you have some extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re just in the giving spirit. All we know is that there are more than enough great causes in Louisville to give your time to. Whether you’re an animal lover, an artsy type, a natural mentor, or a health care enthusiast — there’s a nearby volunteer opportunity for you. Here are 20+ ways to get involved in Derby City.
If you’re an animal lover
- GRRAND: Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs | Help dogs in need get back on their paws when you sign up to take them for walks or give them a ride to vet appointments. Volunteers must be 18+ and can join one of 15 volunteer animal care teams.
- Louisville Animal Care Society | Turn your passion for animals into service by fostering or cuddling with shelter animals, exercising them, or assisting with administrative tasks + community engagement. Volunteers must be 16+ and agree to a minimum time commitment of two hours.
- Kentucky Humane Society | Help out at one of the Humane Society’s locations — like Purrfect Day Cat Cafe + Willow Hope Farm in Simpsonville, KY — or assist with fundraising and community events. You can also tell KHS about your special skills if you have a unique contribution opportunity not listed on its volunteer portal.
- Louisville Zoo | Walk on the wild side when you volunteer at the zoo. Applications for teen volunteers reopen Jan. 1, 2023 + adults should keep up with the zoo’s website and social media channels for updated opportunities.
If you have a passion for disabled community members
- Down Syndrome of Louisville | Dedicate your time on a weekly, monthly, or seasonal basis by joining in activities like the Boogie Down Dance Crew, helping out with social activities, or providing translation services. You can also volunteer virtually by writing thank you cards + assisting with database updates.
- Harbor House of Louisville | Support local adults with disabilities by working directly with participants as an instructional volunteer or become an ambassador for the organization + assist with special events like the Ken-Ducky Derby.
- Visually Impaired Preschool Services | Serve young children with vision loss by helping out with seasonal parties, creating welcome bags for new VIPS families, doing yard work, or making specific items for the children as requested by their teachers.
If you’re passionate about supporting local community groups
- Change Today, Change Tomorrow | Download the When I Work app to be notified of volunteer opportunities like food distribution, drives + fundraisers.
- Louisville Urban League | This civil rights-focused organization has two main volunteer tracts: organizational + operational — which means you can serve on one of its committees or aid staff and clients in the League’s programs as a mentor or workshop facilitator. Pro tip: check the League website often for pop-up volunteer opportunities.
- Asia Institute - Crane House | Support Asian heritage and culture in Kentucky as a volunteer for special events — like the Asian New Year Celebration — administer educational programs for adults and children, or serve as an office assistant. There’s also the opportunity to volunteer as a lion dancer.
For the outdoorsy types
- Louisville Grows | Help Louisville Grows in its mission to plant 5,000 trees by 2025 when you donate or volunteer individually, or with a group.
- TreesLouisville | This environmental nonprofit looks to maintain 45% of Derby City ‘s overall tree canopy, and you can help by becoming a Canopy Corp Volunteer to plant trees on based on your schedule.
- Louisville Nature Center | Assist with trail and plant maintenance across the 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature preserve, help maintain the nature center’s grounds in Joe Creason Park, or serve as an educational assistant providing enriching experiences for students
If you want to help your neighbors in need
- Dare to Care | Fight hunger in the community when you volunteer at one of Dare to Care’s 300 food pantries or kitchens. You can also assist shoppers at the Mobile Market, sort food in a warehouse + distribute meals.
- Metro United Way | Improve access to equitable education, economic opportunity + health in Metro United Way’s seven-county service radius when you donate your time as a tutor, landscaper, or supply drive organizer.
- Feed Louisville | Help make the 500 meals produced in Feed Louisville’s headquarters Mon.-Fri. — with the option to cook during regular hours or join the night kitchen team — or help distribute meals + perform outreach.
- The Table | Work a shift as a server or cook at this pay-what-you-can restaurant in the Portland neighborhood.
Natural-born teachers + mentors
- Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana | Be a positive role model in students’ lives when you lead a class in person or virtually.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana | Change a child’s life through mentorship when you sign up to become a Big. You’ll be paired with a Match Support Specialist to provide additional resources for your Little.
- Family Scholar House | Help break the cycle of poverty through education by hosting a donation drive — with priority for diapers, pantry essentials + winter wear — or write notes of encouragement and prepare materials for children’s activities.
If you live + breathe LOU
- Conrad-Caldwell House Museum | Get up close and personal with this Richardsonian Romanesque castle in Old Louisville when you sign up to volunteer as a tour guide, assist with building maintenance, or help out during special events.
- Brightside, Inc. | Keep Louisville beautiful when you volunteer for community-wide cleaning + tree planting events.
- Actors Theatre of Louisville | Apply to be a volunteer usher during the many performances at this downtown theater.
If you’re interested in health care
- Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana - Louisville | Take to the kitchen as you prepare meals alongside a professional chef for families whose children are undergoing medical care. You can also volunteer from home by hosting wish list drives or preparing goodie bags.
If you want to be there for abuse victims
- Maryhurst | Help children and families around Derby City by helping with donation drives and other events throughout the year.
- Center for Women and Families | Train to become a legal, children, or hospital advocate to help women and children with life after trauma + get involved in community outreach.