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April 16, 2007

State above national average in volunteerism
Illinoisans contribute millions of hours to improving their communities

SPRINGFIELD – According to a federal report released today, 2.75 million Illinois volunteers dedicated 311.1 million hours of service in 2006.  Illinois ranked 29th among other states with a three-year average volunteer rate of 29 percent, higher than the national volunteer rate of 26.7 percent.  Participation with education or youth-service organizations more than doubled from a rate of 13.5 percent in 1989 to 28.4 percent in 2006.

April 15-21, 2007, is Volunteer Week in Illinois, and April 20-22, is National and Global Youth Service Days in Illinois.  Volunteers across the state are participating in community service projects this weekend.

“Volunteers have been an invaluable resource in times of disaster and they dedicate their time and efforts to make our state a better place to live every day of the year,” said Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams. Ph.D.  “I encourage everyone to help build a stronger community through volunteer service, especially during Volunteer Week in Illinois.” 

IDHS administers the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (ICVCS) which, in turn, oversees the AmeriCorps volunteer efforts in the state.

Based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life report was released today by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service.

The report presents an overview of formal volunteering at both the national and regional levels, as well as state rankings on volunteering indicators such as volunteering rate, volunteering intensity, and volunteering among seniors and students.  A new Civic Life Index to measure civic participation such as volunteering, voting, neighborhood engagement, and nonprofit infrastructure was added to this year’s report.

Illinois Trends & Highlights include:
• Illinois’ volunteer rate increased by 7.6 percentage points between 1974 and 2006 and 9.4 percentage points between 1989 and 2006.
• In addition to the 2.75 million Illinois volunteers in 2006, almost 232,000 people participated informally by working with their neighbors to improve the community.
• Overall, 32.2 percent of people in Illinois engaged in civic life by volunteering, working with their neighbors, or attending public meetings.

Financial Impact of Volunteering in Illinois:
In 2006, residents of Illinois contributed 311,149,626 hours of volunteer service totaling $5,840,278,480.00 of service to the State.  This figure is based on the group Independent Sector’s annual estimation of the dollar value of a volunteer hour, which is a national average, currently $18.77.

Corporation for National & Community Service’s Support of Illinois Volunteerism Efforts:
More than 65,000 people of all ages and backgrounds are helping to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and increase civic engagement through 191 national service projects across Illinois. Serving with national and local nonprofits, schools, faith-based organizations and other groups, these citizens tutor and mentor children, coordinate after-school programs, build homes, conduct neighborhood patrols, restore the environment, respond to disasters, build nonprofit capacity and recruit and manage volunteers. This year, the Corporation for National and Community Service will commit more than $25,400,000 to support Illinois communities through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.

For more information about volunteerism and national service activities in Illinois, please visit www.illinois.gov/volunteer or contact the State Commission at 1-800-592-9896.  Interested parties may also contact the Corporation’s Illinois Program Office at 312-353-3622.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service (www.cns.gov)

For more than a decade, the Corporation for National and Community Service – through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs – has mobilized a new generation of engaged citizens.

This year, more than 1.6 million individuals of all ages and backgrounds will serve through those programs to help thousands of national and community nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, schools, and local agencies meet local needs in education, the environment, public safety, homeland security, and other critical areas.  National and community service programs work closely with traditional volunteer organizations to broaden, deepen, and strengthen the ability of America’s volunteers to contribute not only to their communities, but also to our nation.


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