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Madison House
170 Rugby Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm


Madison House traces its roots to the founding in 1856 of the University of Virginia Young Men's Christian Association, the first collegiate YMCA in the United States. The YMCA focused on creating campus-based spiritual communities, which in turn devoted their time and energy to volunteer service. In 1968-69, in response to a changing University and declining membership, the YMCA's Board of Directors re-evaluated its purpose. Although the Board considered dissolving the corporation entirely, a group of undergraduate students saw the potential for a University-based organization built on the original collegiate Y principles of volunteer service, and they successfully advocated for their vision.

The YMCA was reincorporated as the Masters and Fellows of Madison Hall and emerged from the transition with a renewed sense of purpose. Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., then President of the University, invited the organization to serve as the Office of Community Service at the University of Virginia, which it has done ever since. At the same time Madison House remained an independent non-profit corporation responsive to the needs of the community, the University and the students.

In the spring of 1970 four volunteer community service programs attracted 150 volunteers, more than doubling in volunteer strength to 350 the following semester, and doubling again the next year. To sustain its rapid growth and independent status, the organization sold the YMCA property to the University in 1971. In 1975, funds from this sale were used to construct a smaller but more useful building and to begin an endowment to ensure the long-term stability of the corporation. With the creation of a new home for the Office of Volunteer Service, the corporation changed its name to Madison House.

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