To the editor:
Volunteers across Minnesota deserve to be proud of the work they are doing, especially after a recent report showed just how much time and effort residents of our state donate.
Minnesota has the third-highest rate of volunteerism with a 39.7 percent volunteer rate (1.6 million volunteers), according to the Volunteering in America report released Monday by the Corporation for National and Community Service. That puts us behind only Utah and Nebraska among the 50 states and Washington D.C. For comparison’s sake, Nevada finished 51st – in last place – with a 17.7 percent volunteer rate.
Meantime, the Twin Cities finished first among America’s 50 largest cities with an average annual volunteer rate of 39.3 percent. Between 2005 and 2007, the nation had an average volunteer rate of 27.2 percent per year.
The report shows Minnesotans donate the most time to religious (35.7 percent) and educational (24.9 percent) causes.
The Midwest was the top region in the nation in terms of volunteers.
The survey conductors said high homeownership rates and strong education levels are conducive to high volunteering rates, while long commutes and high poverty rates bring down volunteerism. Minnesota fared better than the national average in each of those categories.
One interesting thing is how something called “voluntourism” has become more popular. The report indicates more than 3.7 million Americans volunteered more than 120 miles from their home last year. Hurricane Katrina reportedly was a big reason for the increase. At least 24 percent of Mississippi’s volunteers and 20 percent of Louisiana’s volunteers last year were out-of-state residents.
Also, 1,056,000 volunteers served overseas in 2007.
You can find more information from the report at: www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/index.cfm.
Meantime, veterans organizations, fraternal societies, service clubs, religious groups, youth groups, etc., appreciate your continued support. If you’d like to become active in volunteerism, it’s a good bet most of these groups would accept your offer with open arms.