Despite difficult economic times, the number of Americans volunteering in their communities jumped by 1.6 million last year, the largest increase in six years, according to a report recently released by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Corporation's annual Volunteering in America report found that 63.4 million Americans volunteered through a formal organization last year, giving more than 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth an estimated $169 billion.
Americans have responded to tough economic times by volunteering in big numbers,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. “What we're seeing is the depth of the American spirit and generosity at its best. People are turning toward problems, working with their neighbors to find solutions to real problems, from homelessness to the dropout crisis.”
Previous research would suggest that volunteering should drop during an economic downturn, because volunteer rates are higher among job-holders and homeowners. Instead, volunteering increased at the fastest rate in six years, and the volunteer rate went up among all race and ethnic groups.
The Volunteering in America research is produced by the Corporation as part of its efforts to expand the reach and impact of America's volunteers. The research is the most comprehensive data on volunteering ever assembled, and it includes a volunteer data profile for all states, including the District of Columbia, and hundreds of cities, including data on volunteer rates, rankings, area-specific trends, and analysis.
To view California’s volunteer information, please visit VolunteeringinAmerica.gov.
The report is a tool used by elected officials and nonprofit leaders to develop strategies to mobilize more Americans in service to address local needs and problems. The complete report can be accessed at VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.
Adapted from California Volunteers.org
Photo Courtesy of Beach Flats Community Center Literacy Program