From Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy
Development. Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and Rankings, Washington, DC 2007. [link to summary] In Minneapolis St. Paul, 40% of the residents have volunteered in some way over the last three years. That’s pretty cool.
Volunteerism and charity are two things that Christianity has to offer the world. Like almost every Christian virtue, they are not exclusively Christian. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stress this component of faithfulness. I’m very proud of the volunteer work Chalice Christian performs. I’m also proud of the fact that we provide an opportunity for non-Christians to participate. Helping out someone else is a real high.
The study summary is pretty interesting. It provides information about factors that correlate to higher rates of volunteerism. For example, there is generally more volunteerism where there is more home ownership. (You can judge for yourself, but that correlation seemed relatively weak.) There is also more volunteerism is places with a more educated population.
In the continuing effort to divide the country, the reports I heard on the way in to work were that the coasts were less volunteer inclined that the Midwest. I guess that’s true, although Portland and Seattle are in the top ten. There is a pretty interest line down the middle of the country of volunteer leaders.
BTW: The much tougher matters are justice and equality. In Charity you keep the control. When you stand for justice and equality, if you are a person in power, you are necessarily surrendering control. That’s pretty hard.