Neighboring is an asset- and empowerment-based approach that engages underserved and under resourced community members to find innovative, sustainable solutions to address local challenges.

Through the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Neighboring Initiative focuses on mobilizing the time, talent and resources of low-income and underserved residents to strengthen families and transform communities into thriving and vital places to live.

In other news...
HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, a new Neighboring grantee, is Neighboring in leaps and bounds in their community. They were recently featured in the local Winston-Salem Chronicle newspaper and Neighboring VISTA, Morgan Owen, contributed to a HandsOn Corps blog about her experience Neighboring.

Laura Rog, Director of Training & Technical Assistance at genOn, and featured blogger for Volunteer Maine, dedicated the December holiday blog to Neighboring. Read how Laura uses the Neighboring approach to list 3 ways to bring substance to service during the holidays.



The philosophy of working side by side is alive and well in cities, towns and rural communities everywhere. We call this philosophy “Neighboring”.

Neighboring is volunteering that taps the talents and resources of local residents to strengthen families and help struggling communities flourish into vibrant places to live. It is about the connections among residents that support positive individual and community behavior based on mutual respect and responsibility. Neighboring is most successful in communities that lack access to the resources needed to be self sufficient such as food, housing, employment, child care, health care and so forth.

Be a Partner in Neighboring!

Points of Light, in partnership with The Annie E. Casey Foundation, invite you to see Neighboring as a way to transform America's communities. We challenge you to develop programs that help community members help themselves. How do you do it?

  • Get to know the community and build trust.
  • Work with community members to identify their talents as well as their desire for change.
  • Acknowledge where Neighboring is already occurring and support, not hinder, existing efforts
  • Give people access to the tools and resources to help one other.

Many communities, especially those with few resources, struggle with unemployment, violence and drugs. Residents are looking for connections to vital resources that can improve their odds of overcoming these obstacles. But, they may not know how to tap into the talents of their own neighbors.

You can help us fuel the irrepressible American spirit of volunteerism to address some of the most serious challenges in our communities. With your guidance and support, there's no limit to what neighbors can achieve together. You can:

  • work with neighbors to identify common goals and foster mutual respect.
  • enable neighbors to develop a renewed sense of hope and take responsibility and ownership for struggling communities.
  • assist neighbors in creating supportive networks and opportunities necessary to bring them together.
  • support neighbors in building a better future for individual and families communities.
  • empower communities to create the change they seek.                       

Tools and Resources

Tools and Resources

HandsOn Network has embraced Neighboring as a grant making strategy to strengthen families since 1996. Through Neighboring, natural neighbor-to-neighbor helping that strengthens children, families, and communities is encouraged and supported. This helping does not replace the assistance provided by traditional volunteers. Instead, Neighboring underscores that help need not come from outside a community, but from within.


Neighboring Initiative

Neighboring Initiative (español)

Neighboring Brochure

Neighboring Toolkit

Neighboring Express Toolkit

GIS(Mapping) Tools

Rural Volunteers

Neighboring Evaluations:

Summative Evaluation Study- Executive Summary

Summative Evaluation Study- Full Report

2009 Neighboring Initiative Program Evaluation Report

For the full report, including discussion on method, contact

Impact of Neighboring:

Those who are passionate about Neighboring know the effect and impact it has on residents and their ability to create change. However, these resident volunteers also have a great impact on their communities. Repeatedly, we hear about studies that show those who have less time and money, in fact, give more. Read more here:

Those With Less Give More.

Them That's Not Shall Give-The Generosity of the Have-Nots.

What Happens When the World’s Poorest People Volunteer.

Does civic engagement help immunize a place against recession?

Millions Working to Solve Local Problems.

Contact Us

Contact Us

For generic inquires email us at


Neighboring Map

Neighboring is happening in communities across the country. Look here to find an organization near you!


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