“Illinois has a strong tradition of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “Across our state, we see volunteers working in schools, helping the homeless, preparing for and responding to disasters, supporting faith-based organizations, protecting the environment, and supporting economic improvement. When communities volunteer, we see an increase in economic strength and education and a decrease in crime.”
The recently released 2013 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that 2.57 million Illinoisans demonstrated their commitment to improving their communities by volunteering. This ranks Illinois the top volunteering state out of the eight most populated.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issued the annual report in partnership with the National Council on Citizenship, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics. The complete report is available at www.VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.
According to CNCS, 62.6 million Americans (or 1 in 4 adults, 25.4 percent) volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion. Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Nearly eight in 10 (79.2 percent) volunteers donated to charity, compared to four in 10 (40.4 percent) non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (50.7 percent) donated at least $25 to charity in 2013.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bipartisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing traditional volunteer activities and supporting national service programs. The Commission’s mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State. The Commission is accomplishing this mission through the support of local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois’ AmeriCorps program.
To find a volunteer opportunity, nominate a volunteer for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards, or learn more about the Serve Illinois Commission and volunteerism in Illinois, visit www.Serve.Illinois.gov.