RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When it comes to volunteering, Richmond residents rank number 4 in the country, according to the Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that engages millions of Americans in volunteer service each year.
This year’s report found that 33.5 percent of Richmond veterans volunteered in 2015. The state as a whole ranked number 17.
In total, more than 1.9 million Virginia volunteers gave 273 million hours of service worth an estimated $6.1 billion. In addition, 59 percent of residents participated in “informal volunteering,” which includes activities like helping sick neighbors shop for groceries or watching each other’s children and more than half – 55 percent — of all residents donated $25 or more to charity. The state also ranks fifth in volunteer service by Veterans.
“The people of Virginia should be proud of their long record of service to their neighbors and community,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Service is a core American value that unites communities and brings Americans together from all walks of life to solve some of our most pressing challenges. Volunteers enrich our communities and keep our nation strong. As citizens, there are so many ways we can make a difference and make our country stronger for those who are in need, during the upcoming holiday season and throughout the entire year.”
The Volunteering and Civic Life in America report found that 62.6 million adults (24.9 percent) volunteered through an organization in 2015. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.8 billion hours last year, worth an estimated $184 billion.
Over the past 14 years, Americans volunteered 113 billion hours, worth an estimated $2.3 trillion.
The Volunteering and Civic Life in America research also showed that volunteers are more likely than non-volunteers to talk to neighbors, attend community meetings, participate in civic organizations, discuss politics or local issues with family and friends, do favors for neighbors, and fix things in the neighborhood.
A growing body of research indicates that communities with higher levels of this type of civic engagement, also known as social capital, have been linked to lower crime rates, improved health outcomes for aging adults, lower rates of mental illness, improved academic outcomes for children, improved employment outcomes for job seekers, and greater community resilience following a disaster.