Grand Rapids' Volunteer Rate Ranked in Top Ten

The city of Grand Rapids has one of the best volunteer rates in Michigan and ranked ninth among 75 mid-size cities in the recent Volunteering in America report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Grand Rapids' residents volunteer at a rate of 37.6 percent, well above the national average of 26.8 percent.

The annual Volunteering in America report is produced through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and provides a comprehensive collection of information on volunteering and civic engagement with detailed data for all 50 states and nearly 200 cities. Current data was obtained during 2009.

The city of Grand Rapids has a long commitment to service, rising in the mid-size city volunteer rate ranks from 12th in 2008, 10th in 2009, and now ninth in 2010. Residents, on average, contribute 36.3 hours of service each year. The city has furthered its commitment by signing on to Cities of Service, a bi-partisan coalition of mayors of large and small cities from across the country who have responded to the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act's call to action by working together to find new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteerism to solve our nation's most pressing challenges.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell signed the city up as one of four Michigan cities participating in this coalition. Other cities include Detroit, Flint, and Muskegon.

"I'm so proud of Grand Rapids' recent ranking on the Volunteering in America report," said Mayor Heartwell. "The service commitment of our citizens is having widespread impact on our schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, individuals, and others. Hopefully, through our Cities of Service commitment we will continue to move our ranking upward."

Michigan's overall volunteer rate on the recent report is 28.7 percent, up slightly from the 28.2 percent reported last year. More than 2.2 million citizens volunteered in 2009, contributing more than 279 million hours of service. Their contributions carry an economic value of more than $5.4 billion.

"The value of volunteers in Michigan is priceless," said Paula Kaiser VanDam, executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission - the state's lead agency on service and volunteerism. "Everyday they are tackling critical community issues and helping to guide our state towards the path to recovery."

For the complete Volunteering in America report, visit www.VolunteeringInAmerica.gov.

BACKGROUND:
The Michigan Community Service Commission builds a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism. In 2009-10, the MCSC is granting more than $8.5 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities. The MCSC is funding 19 AmeriCorps programs and 20 Learn and Serve programs. The Governor's Service Awards and Mentor Michigan are also premier programs of the MCSC. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Human Services, whose mission is to assist children, families, and vulnerable adults to be safe, stable, and self-supporting. The Corporation for National and Community Service grants the federal funding the MCSC administers.