BVU connects businesses and people to meaningful volunteer opportunities serving Northeast Ohio nonprofits.



Board CONNECT matches individuals to nonprofit boards, coupling the needs of nonprofits with the passions, skills, and commitment of community members.


Skill CONNECT connects skills-based volunteers or pro bono consultants to the unique needs of nonprofits making the perfect connection to generate the biggest impact.


Volunteer CONNECT provides community and corporate volunteers with direct service opportunities to make a difference where nonprofits need them most. 


In order to achieve our vision of a vibrant and inclusive community​ through business volunteerism, Business Volunteers Unlimited​ (BVU) will be a more informed and inclusive voice in Northeast​ Ohio with inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) as​ core values. BVU will commit to transparency and innovation in our​ decision-making and embrace feedback. Collectively, we will lead in​ a transformative way by welcoming and attracting diverse people,​ ideas, and partnerships for an equitable future. We will strive to​ embed IDEA into our culture, our strategic plan, and our work with​ businesses, nonprofits, volunteers, and the community.​



Strategic Planning: Benefits & Basic Steps

The Crucial Role of Strategic Panning: Steering through challenges and seizing opportunities What do most nonprofit leaders have in common? We can juggle. Not the easy tennis ball juggling.  We are juggling the increasing needs in our community & demands for our...

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Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) is a Northeast Ohio-based organization whose mission is to engage, connect, and strengthen businesses, nonprofits, and the community. BVU’s variety of services and events provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for business community engagement and nonprofit capacity-building.

We CONNECT through nonprofit board matching, skills-based volunteering, direct-service volunteer coordination, and business team projects.

We EDUCATE through events, seminars, and resources focused on community engagement, nonprofit capacity building, diversity and inclusion, and more.

We CONSULT nonprofits on board governance, strategic planning, and much more. We provide businesses with insight into corporate community engagement.


{Each speaker on their own would have been enough, however the story and information they told and the order in which they shared their expertise took the morning to another level.
Gil Rubanenko
Board Member, Allison Rose Foundation
{It was a lovely event. It gave me hope that I can be a good leader and that I'm not alone in the way I feel.
Micayla Fern
Finance Manager, Hahn Loeser
{Fantastic mix of corporate, education, and nonprofit focus, plus a great storyline that let the presentations build on each other. Kudos to BVU for inviting them to speak! Came on a whim because I know and trust the staff, stayed because the speakers and showflow were exceptional.
Tim Parsons
Senior Advisor, Idealist
{The speakers were engaging and motivating! I highly enjoyed myself and already bought 2 books that were recommended.
Darrell Gawlik
HR Director, Malley's Chocolates
{I cannot thank you enough for inviting me. I have been to probably hundreds of events over the years and this was the best one. My colleagues and I have attended multiple events together and we all felt the same way. I also heard that from others at our table. There isn’t a leader or team member who didn’t need today's event. I could go on and on. THANK YOU!
Rebecca Sabino
Account Executive, Medical Mutual
{It is not often that I attend events where all the speakers are as amazing as these three were. This was time well spent and helped rejuvenate me. The nonprofit environment right now is stressful, and this event gave me an opportunity to refocus on myself and becoming the best leader I can be.
Elaine Gimmel
Executive Director, EDEN
{I appreciated the subject matter expertise each speaker brought to their topics, and that everything was timely and we stayed on schedule which made for a jam-packed agenda, but nothing was rushed, skipped or missed due to poor time. Great event overall! Excellent job, BVU team!
Melanie Myers
Organization Development Specialist, Oswald Companies
{FANTASTIC and inspirational speakers. So relevant to our everyday. 5 out of 5 stars! We are so lucky to have BVU here in Cleveland.
Dawn Yorko
Business Director, Canopy Child Advocacy Center
{We got connected to the Cohen Cares team through BVU. The group supported grounds work, assembled picnic tables, reorganized admin spaces, made kits for homeless seniors and much more. This team’s efforts made for an impactful day of team building. We’re so happy to share our mission with these corporate volunteers and appreciate the effort and time the group put into our work.
Wendy Chaney
Operations Director, Fairhill Partners
{Business Volunteers Unlimited has been an incredible resource for our nonprofit organization. Through their team’s coordination, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center has welcomed several corporate volunteer groups to maintain outdoor areas and assist with special projects this summer. Thank you to BVU for connecting us with passionate individuals and helping the Center share our mission.
Morgan Paskert
Marketing and Development Coordinator, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center
{I would absolutely recommend the BVU board matching process to any nonprofit organization that is looking for board members. The process was very simple and the BVU staff were great to work with. The end result for VANTAGE Aging is that we have another committed and motivated board member who is already contributing to helping us further our mission. Thank you, BVU, for facilitating the connection!
Ted Watko
Chief Executive Officer, VANTAGE Aging
{I have been with my organization for 34 years and this was one of the best presentations on volunteers & board governance that I have ever attended. I appreciated the refreshing and concise approach and am looking forward to the next training!
Amy Dell
Program Officer, Licking County Foundation
{My sincerest thanks on behalf of the team for the opportunity to come out and work with at the Old Brooklyn Community Garden. It was great to be able to step away from the normal day-to-day work stuff, and spend some time bonding as a team and with the community. And in the process, we discovered an absolute gem of a place that very few of us even knew existed! Thank you to BVU for making the connection. We hope to get out and volunteer at the garden again in the near future.
Steve Comer
{Thank you for your ongoing support! It has made a huge difference to me as a new CEO. What you have provided has significantly shaped my relationship with my board and their ability to be intentional in their work. It’s a journey and we are travelling in a great direction. BVU is making a difference.
Kirsti Mouncey
President & CEO, Collaborative to End Human Trafficking
{BVU gave me the opportunity to be matched to an amazing nonprofit board early in my career. They gave me all the tools I needed for success, walked through the matching process with me step by step, and followed up to make sure it was successful. I recommend BVU to professionals in my network looking to get involved.
Marshall Scott
Marketing Professional
{Best strategic planning session we have ever done. BVU was spot on. They love their work and it shows. I was hesitant to do a strategic plan over Zoom, but they made the virtual format comfortable and efficient.
Tony Thomas
Executive Director, Welcome House, Inc.
{I thought the Homeless Stand Down was great and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it.  Kudos to BVU and your staff for the fantastic work on this event. It was a great way to give back to the community. I appreciate the opportunity to have been able to be there and see it for myself.
Marc Merklin
Partner, Brouse McDowell
{We are all facing so many difficulties in our society, business, and economy but gathering to volunteer with my team really helped remind us of what’s important. The day of service strengthened connections between staff members and left us all feeling inspired. It was amazing to meet and support passionate people who make the world a better place. We are still talking about it — lots of people are going to go back to the organizations and continue to volunteer.
Bill Priemer
President and CEO, Hyland
{BVU has typically organized a volunteer project for us every year, but 2021 was different. After nearly two years of the pandemic and remote work, we were anxious to do something in which all our partners could participate outdoors. BVU coordinated a Lake Shore clean-up project at Edgewater and Bonnie Park for our team. It was a delightful day of camaraderie and community. This afternoon of engagement with colleagues helped our team transition during our return to office. It reminded us that we are at our best when helping others – which is part of our client service commitment at Northern Trust.
Michael Cogan
President and CEO, Ohio, Northern Trust
{I am so happy we connected. [Our BVU-referred candidate] is terrific! We are moving to the next step of adding her to our board. She is a purr-fect fit for Friendship APL. Thank you for helping facilitate bringing us such amazing board candidates. A quarter of our board is made up of BVU alum including our current board president, our treasurer and chair of our operations committee. I cannot begin to thank you enough.
Gregory Willey
Executive Director, Friendship Animal Protective League
{Cleveland has a lot of nonprofits. There are people out there doing the good work, and they need support. Our business started with assistance from mentors and friends, and now is the time to give back. Volunteering connects us to amazing causes and can teach us so much.
Sue Stabe
Co Founder, Long & Short of It
{My experience with BVU has been beneficial and helpful in my professional experience as a Development/Philanthropy professional and as a volunteer. From the webinars to in-person events to the resources. I walk away each time feeling more empowered and with a wealth of knowledge.  
Shanette Buford Brazzell
Director of Annual Giving, YMCA of Greater Cleveland
{BVU is the great facilitator. If a company has an interest in using their skills to volunteer, BVU is the institution that knows the nonprofits doing the work.
Joe Faulhaber
Former President, Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland
{BVU set up a fantastic clean-up project at Huntington Beach in Bay Village, Ohio. Our team of 25 Hylanders were able to collect about 20lbs of litter. While giving back in general is a great thing, doing so in your community makes it that much better!
Joseph O'Brien
Sales Support Intern, Hyland Software
{Thank you and the team for being so great to work with yesterday. The impact you all made on those two homeowners and their yards was dramatic and I know they were most grateful. We too are very appreciative of your support and eagerness to volunteer with us in the community.
Ian Andrews
Executive Directory, LakewoodAlive
{For the past few years, we have been doing the best that we can, but I feel like someone has sent in the rescue team since partnering with BVU. Their nonprofit consultants helped us break down and prioritize our needs versus just running on the wheel.
Zulma Zabala
Former Chief Executive Officer, East End Neighborhood House
{We worked with BVU to establish a few advisory boards at Cleveland Metropolitan School District Schools… I found myself going to BVU in terms of helping us set up the structure and the framework for these boards. They’ve done it in the past, they continuously do it, and they bring a high-level of professionalism to the initiative.
Shana Marbury
General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Education and Workforce, Greater Cleveland Partnership
{We needed to focus much more specifically on how to deliver the mission and how to expand investment in the zoo. This is really where BVU came in. As we were discussing how to best align the board, we knew we had to get someone in from the outside to help walk us through a board development process.
Doug Piekarz
President & CEO, Akron Zoo
{I think nonprofit leaders should participate in this program because the courses give you context, clarification, insight, suggestions, resources, ideas, and tons of tools so you can maximize your role in your organization and plan a way forward.
Julia Wiesenberg
Executive Director, Buckeye Book
{[NLAP] was the single most valuable training I’ve received in my career, across both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. The content was highly relevant and practical, the caliber of the facilitators was excellent, and the benefit of participating in recurring sessions with other talented and thoughtful participants allowed us to effectively digest the information and apply it to ourselves and our organizations. I would highly recommend this course for anyone who is in a leadership role, or who desires to advance to leadership.
Laura Larson
Small Business Financial Exchange, Inc., Chief Operating Officer
{NLAP has been amazing. So many times you go to something like this and only take away 20% of it…I’ve been implementing many things they’ve shared since Day One.
Michelle Epps
Executive Director, Art Therapy Studio 2020
{Through NLAP, I gained a greater awareness of my leadership strengths and areas of development. I’ve learned the importance of asking the right questions rather than giving the answers.
Felicia Soto
Associate Director, Esperanza
{BVU makes it easy for small nonprofits, like RePlay for Kids, to reach volunteers. Their services of coordinating team events and connecting us to local business is invaluable and allows our small staff to focus on our mission of increasing the availability of adapted toys to kids in need.
Natalie Wardega
Director of Operations, RePlay for Kids
{Every year we do a Done-in-a-Day volunteer project called Fields for the Future. This is a project where our employees volunteer their time to renovate and beautify a baseball field in the City of Cleveland. BVU does a lot of behind-the-scenes work for us to set it up so that when we go out there that day, it’s really easy for people to engage and just get into the work and have a great day.
Rebecca Kodysh
Executive Director of Community Impact, Cleveland Guardians
{Community outreach has become a large focal point for our team here at OverDrive. Partnering with BVU was one of the best decisions we made this year for OverDrive, our team and the community. It has ignited our desire to give back and has helped us do it with success and impact.
Lori Ann Franklin
Chief Operating Officer, OverDrive, Inc
{I wouldn’t have been able to afford to hire the level of person we were matched with, who had the depth and breadth of knowledge and the ability to truly be an independent and functioning contributor.
Melanie Hogan
Executive director, LEAP
{We get someone of exceptional quality at an amount that we can afford. We can focus on projects that are high priority that we don’t have the professional resources to complete.
Jean Polster
President and CEO, Neighborhood Family Practice
{We had somebody who could dedicate their time and energy to an initiative that we just weren’t ready for from an internal standpoint.
Ron Soeder
President, Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland
{The event was great. I cannot stop talking about all of the information and tips I received from BVU’s Skill CONNECT. The opportunities you provide to nonprofit organizations through Skill CONNECT are invaluable. Thank you so much for the knowledge I have gained through BVU’s skilled-based volunteers.
Cynthia Carter-Harris, BSN, MBA, D.Min,
Executive Director, Cornerstone Pregnancy Services
{Programs like the Minority Pipeline Initiative are how we initiate change in our communities. Thanks for all that BVU does to keep our nonprofit community thriving.
Nicole Crews
Manager, Global Diversity and Engagement, Swagelok
{The board matching program has given our employees an opportunity to work with BVU's professionals to find the right place for them to give back in the community.
Karyn Sullivan
Board CONNECT Board Matching Alumni
{The first session, Neuroscience, Emotional Intelligence & Nonprofit Leadership, was so informative and in the modern landscape--so critical. Looking forward to session 2!
Laura Gambrell
Manager of Grants & Annual Giving, Achievement Centers for Children
{I can’t say enough how incredible the organizers of this event are for putting this together. They created such a welcoming atmosphere for the guests, who were able to stop at many different stations to receive backpacks, new shoes, clothes, undergarments, haircuts, and so much more. It was so uplifting to see the guests getting the care and attention they needed and deserved. I am so grateful to have been a part of it. I met so many new people, learned so many stories, and made new friends along the way. Thank you BVU for putting together this event, I can’t wait to participate again next year!
Shelby Lattimore
BHG Financial
{This was a life-changing experience for me. BVU coordinated such an amazing event. I was nervous, at first, to be a personal shopper, but within minutes it turned into one of the most satisfying days of my life.
Mary Juhasz
{I was a volunteer for this event for 5 hours. The leadership did a great job communicating our responsibilities and were quick to make adjustments and changes as needed. I was pleased and happy that the event had returned. I enjoyed being part of this worthwhile and needed event for my 4th year. Thank you for all you do!
Joanne Yarbough
{BVU did an amazing job coordinating all the wonderful volunteers for McGregor’s Carnival Day. The Medical Mutual team spent meaningful time with residents, helping to enhance their quality of life and improving their mental, physical, and psychological well-being.  The staff and residents at McGregor are happy to partner with BVU.
Lillian Zvosecz
Volunteer Coordinator, McGregor
{Thank you for hosting this event. The presenter offered a refreshing approach that anyone can understand. From evergreen content to new tech, I can't wait to implement some of the lessons learned at this training for Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
Allie Levin
Communications Specialist, Youth Opportunities Unlimited
{I’m writing to thank you — working with Judy [our skill CONNECT volunteer] has been such a gift for our organization. Literary Cleveland is stronger because of Judy’s smart mind and hard work. We are incredibly grateful to her and BVU for this program.
Brandi Larsen
Board President, Literary Cleveland
{BVU matched us with the perfect financial expert who catapulted our capacity, increased our Executive Director's skillset, and widened organizational bandwidth. We are stronger and more ready to equip youth and uplift Cleveland’s communities through our mission.
Doc Harril
Refresh Collective
{I was thinking small when at a recent “Ask the Expert” event, I was told to think and behave like IBM. This sentence, supported by tactical advice from an expert in finance and Quickbooks, made things become suddenly very clear to me. I was grateful to connect with someone who could told me to on my level about a very specific financial situation we were dealing with.
Kristi Horner
Founder & Executive Director, Courage to Caregivers
{I know the volunteer assignment through BVU was only to be a few months but I believe on June 30 I will have completed over 13 years at E Prep/Breakthrough. It has been a great experience. Who knows – I may want to try our new volunteer opportunities in the future.
Jeff Fast
Skill CONNECT Volunteer, Breakthrough Schools
{This is an awesome resource! Within a span of 60 minutes, [the skills-based volunteer] assessed my organization's situation, explained the options we could consider, helped me put an action plan in place, and answered ALL of my questions.
Lynn Foran
Executive Director, Reach Out and Read Greater Cleveland
{I didn’t know what I had to give until I did the first Skill CONNECT program. I’m always excited at the end of these “Ask the Expert” sessions. The nonprofits are so grateful and thankful. Nonprofit leaders are great at leading their organizations, so being able to help these professionals improve in areas where they don’t have expertise is so rewarding. When you work in a specific field every day, you almost forget that what you have IS a valuable asset to others without that skillset
Stephanie Smith
Strategic Communications and Engagement Manager, Bober Markey Fedorovich

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