Community Outreach and Volunteering

About Grand Canyon University’s Community Outreach Efforts

GCU lopes go local student fixing roof

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a private Christian university strongly committed to guiding students to become socially responsible, compassionate servant leaders by making an enduring impact on their local, national and global communities.

GCU offers students, staff and alumni an array of volunteer opportunities. Our community outreach and ministry programs provide training and guidance so you can use your unique talents to serve the Kingdom of God.

The time that I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity was one of my favorite memories of my time at GCU. A bunch of us students walked over to a neighborhood across the street and the people were so excited to see us, knowing we were going to help fix up their homes.

Johanna Gonzalez, Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics, Class of 2022

GCU’s Five-Point Plan

In 2015, GCU established an innovative five-point plan to help revitalize its West Phoenix neighborhood in partnership with private and public entities as well as the hands of our students. During your time at GCU, you can become part of the plan by volunteering your time and service for our campus neighbors.

Student pushing another student in wheelbarrow

I picked GCU because the light that the campus shines on the city of Phoenix is unlike any other university.

Jayce Candrea, Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Class of 2022
Button to play video: Day of Giving 2022 - CityServe

Learn about GCU CityServe and how your financial support through donations and sponsorships help transform communities throughout Arizona.

Button to play video: Day of Giving 2022 - L.O.P.E.S. Academy

When you donate to the L.O.P.E.S. Academy, you help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities flourish through their development of academic, social and job skills.

Serving Individuals and Families in Need

Has God called upon you to serve others who are vulnerable, at risk and in need of your compassion and support? GCU offers local and global community outreach programs to answer his call.

GCU has partnered with CityServe and its network of faith-based nonprofits, retailers, farmers and food suppliers to support families in need. Together, they have distributed over $10.1 million in household goods to nearly 27,000 local families as of August 2023.

This ministry is truly a full campus movement inclusive of all the colleges and various departments. GCU staff and students are encouraged to look for volunteer opportunities close to their heart.

The L.O.P.E.S. Academy is a postsecondary program specifically designed for the neurodiverse population who may not have realized a university experience or workforce possibilities. L.O.P.E.S. stands for Learning Opportunities for Participation and Engagement in School. The mission of the L.O.P.E.S. Academy is to provide an immersive Christian university experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities focused on finding personal purpose through academic, social and job skills development.

The L.O.P.E.S. Academy partners with Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences to provide a not-for-credit, non-degreed, two-year program that includes a semester-long internship with a goal of employment.

Through GCU’s Department of Spiritual Life, there are many opportunities for students to serve others and demonstrate the love of Christ. Ministries are student-led and happen throughout the week each school year to reach local and global communities.

Local Outreach Team

More than 19 different ministries serving local populations that include:

  • Children and youth in foster care and group homes
  • Homeless
  • Elderly
  • Those transitioning out of prison

GCU partners with Habitat for Humanity for routine service projects and hosts two annual events called Lopes Go Local, which assists neighbors with home repairs and landscaping projects.

Global Outreach Team

There are 12 ministry programs that strive to provide transformative experiences — both for the students and the people they serve. These programs serve refugee populations, bring awareness and advocacy efforts to students regarding global needs and crisis support, and can equip students to participate in short-term mission trips across the globe.

GCU’s student outreach collaborates with behavioral health partners in the area to provide innovative support programs that help foster human flourishing. The Changing Lives Outreach opportunities include:

  • K-12 social-emotional support at partnering schools
  • Community support with local businesses and organizations
  • Peer to peer support on GCU’s campus

Every October GCU’s Honors College supports more than 150 volunteers to plan, coordinate and execute a wide range of service projects and programs throughout the local community. The purpose is to canvas the community and show love and support for our neighbors, local nonprofits and for all those in need.


Volunteer hours contributed through Habitat for Humanity1

Supporting K-12 Education

Do you have a passion for education and a talent for teaching? Consider volunteering at local schools or at the GCU Learning Lounge, serving K-12 students.

Our GCU Learning Lounge has resources to help K-12 students with their toughest subjects by offering complimentary small-group or one-on-one tutoring.

K12 Educational Development supports public district and charter schools, Christian schools, homeschool groups and educational organizations through alliance programs. GCU and GCE staff are encouraged to participate in the Allocate to Elevate program that directs state tax dollars to schools. In addition, employees are able to use community service time to volunteer at alliance participant schools.

Lopes for Literacy is an outreach program and committee sponsored by GCU's College of Education that encourages children in neighboring schools to read and develop a passion for books.

The COE Lopes for Literacy committee maintains a YouTube channel featuring local and prominent authors and influential texts. Videos available to educators include author interviews, read aloud and tips for teaching standards using prominent literature. Lopes for Literacy also maintains a commitment to fostering a love for reading and literature in students of all ages by participating in local outreach, such as Family Reading Nights and book drives for local schools.


As of April 2022, the number of student visits to the Learning Lounge since 2013

Three GCU students help with Habitat for Humanity
Mother and daughter sitting on some stairs
GCU Tennis Youth Clinic

1 Service hours and repairs contributed by GCU and its partners between January 2015 and January 2023.