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Volunteers in Iowa Provide Vital Civic Support As Volunteering Among Americans Hits Five-Year High

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Adam Lounsbury

Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service

515.725.3099, adam.lounsbury@iowa.gov

 

Volunteers in Iowa Provide Vital Civic Support

As Volunteering Among Americans Hits Five-Year High

 

December 13, 2012 (Washington, DC) Volunteers in Iowa demonstrated their commitment to improving their communities in a variety of ways last year and helped Iowa once again earn one of the top three spots for state volunteer rankings according to the Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report released today.  More than 910,000 Iowa volunteers served more than 99 million total hours, which is valued at more than $2.1 billion.

 

“Involved citizens do so much to make our communities stronger,” said Governor Terry E. Branstad.  “People here in Iowa take pride in helping their neighbors and dedicating their time to address critical issues.  Our residents are committed to strengthening our state and our nation through service to others.  If this trend continues, Iowa will take over the number one spot by 2017 – three years earlier than we had originally predicted!”

 

The percentage of Iowans reporting involvement in volunteer activities increased from 37.9% to 38.4%; and the number of hours served grew from an average of 34.3 hours per resident to 41.9 hours.

 

“This report shows that we are more dedicated than ever to serving our communities,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.  “Increasing the volunteer rate and number of hours served per citizen are top goals of our new What’s Your 50? campaign, which challenges all Iowans to serve at least 50 hours per year.”

 

Two mid-size cities in Iowa have already exceeded the 50 hours per resident goal: Iowa City residents volunteer an average of 57.6 hours per year, while Davenport citizens spent 51.2 hours per person volunteering last year.  Cedar Rapids is closing in fast with people there reporting 48 hours of service each year.

 

The VCLA data is part of the most comprehensive study of volunteering and civic engagement across the country. The annual report is issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) as part of its efforts to expand the reach and impact of America’s volunteers, in partnership with the National Council on Citizenship, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

 

The report shows the national volunteer rate reaching its highest level since 2006.  More than 64 million Americans – or roughly one in four adults – volunteered approximately 8 billion hours, valued at $171 billion.  In addition, two out of three citizens nationally (65.1% or almost 144 million citizens) engaged in informal volunteering by doing favors for and helping out their neighbors, an increase of 9.5 percentage points from last year.

 

“Volunteering and civic engagement are the cornerstone of a strong nation,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, the agency that administers AmeriCorps and Senior Corps and leads the federal effort on volunteering. “We have a prime example of the importance of people working together in the Northeast, where volunteers have really stepped up to support recovery and relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy. People working together and talking to each other help solve problems and make their communities better places to live and work.”

 

The report also ranks all 50 states and the nation’s largest cities and metropolitan areas for their volunteering and civic engagement rates. It has become a useful tool for elected officials, civic leaders, and nonprofit executives who recognize the economic impact of an engaged community. These officials and leaders also use the report as a tool to develop strategies to mobilize more Americans in service to address local needs and problems. The complete report can be accessed at VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.

 

Volunteers can contribute as little or as much as their time allows—their ideas and talents are important to strengthening our communities and the nation. To learn how you can volunteer in your community, visit volunteeriowa.org.


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About the VCLA Report

The Volunteering and Civic Life In America report is a joint effort of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National Conference on Citizenship, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics to collect volunteering data annually through the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households, (approximately 100,000 adults) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Selected supplements collect data on the volunteering and civic activities of Americans age 16 and older for volunteering and 18 and older for the civic supplement. Volunteers are considered individuals who performed unpaid volunteer activities through or for an organization.  The report includes information for all 50 states, Washington, D.C., more than 50 major metropolitan areas, and more than 140 other cities.  For more information, visit VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.


About CNCS

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that engages more than four million Americans in service through its Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs. It also leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, please visit NationalService.gov.


About the ICVS (or Volunteer Iowa)

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and its partner agencies work with volunteerism on two main fronts.  The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need.  The second is helping to engage Iowans in their communities by facilitating service opportunities.  More information is available at volunteeriowa.org.

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