Utah ranked first in nation for volunteerism for 9th year

Volunteer cleanup day at the Boilers, a local landmark that the nonprofit Boiling Springs Ecoseum & Desert Preserve seeks to restore and revive, Washington, Utah, July 12, 2014 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – For the 9th year running, Utah has been ranked first in the nation for volunteering by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced the 2014 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report ranked Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation for the 9th year running. The announcement was held in conjunction with release of the CNCS report.

“The VCLA report reaffirms that we have wonderful people who call Utah home and that care about their neighbors,” Herbert said. “Utahns proactively looking for opportunities to serve their community and help others save cost to government and to taxpayers. Their volunteer efforts pay significant dividends on many levels.”

Research from the VCLA 2014 report ranks Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation with 45.3 percent of adults volunteering. The report is part of the most comprehensive study of volunteering and civic engagement across the country. The data is gathered annually through the Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Infographic breaking down volunteer statistics for Utah in 2013 | Graphic courtesy of the Corporation for National and Community Service, St. George News
Click on photo to enlarge | Infographic breaking down volunteer statistics for Utah in 2013. | Graphic courtesy of the Corporation for National and Community Service, St. George News

Data was collected on the volunteering and civic activities of Americans age 16 and older.

This year’s report is based on data collected in 2013.

According to the profile of Utah on the CNCS website, the top three volunteer activities Utahns engaged in were: tutoring and teaching at 41.6 percent; mentoring youth at 29,6 percent; and general labor and the collection/distribution of food tied at 20.5 percent.

As for informal volunteering – that is, neighbors helping neighbors – Utahns averaged 77.9 percent over the national average of 62.54 percent.

Though perhaps of little surprise to Utah residents, a majority of the volunteering through an organization, 66.2 percent, is done through a religious entity. Volunteering through education and social services organizations came in a distant second and third at 14.2 and 8.8 percent respectively.

Utah citizens are extremely generous and consistently demonstrate their commitment to impacting the lives of individuals in their communities,” said LaDawn Stoddard, executive director for the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

The total economic value of volunteer service in Utah was $3.5 billion based on the independent sector annual estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, which was $22.65 in 2013. More than 900,000 volunteers served approximately 154.9 million total hours.

Nationally, over 62 million adult Americans volunteered through organizations in 2013, According to a CNCS news release. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion, based on the independent sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) also engaged in informal volunteering in their communities, helping neighbors with such tasks as watching a neighbor’s children, helping with shopping, or house sitting.

Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our nation stronger,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“Whether tutoring students or connecting veterans to services or responding to natural disasters, Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve lives and strengthen communities,” Spencer said. “As they serve others, volunteers help themselves by learning new skills, increasing job prospects, and even improving their health.”

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  • Joe Smith December 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    It’s all the hours of church callings that your bishop assigned you to do. The thing is, is it really volunteering?, because if you say NO to the bishop when assigned the calling the bishop will treat you like garbage from then on and the whole ward will shun you. When asked to do your church calling you are expected to do it with a smile. How else are you supposed to get to the celestial heaven? If you say NO and don’t pay the Lord’s 10% you go to one of the lower levels of heaven which is essentially the mormon version of Satan’s Hell.

    • Pheo December 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Not to mention the fact that the “volunteering” and “charity” are more about giving to the organization than to people in need. Teaching your primary class does nothing for the people who are really in need. It gives you a false sense of having done your part while people are out there suffering.

      I think that people that give their time and money to country clubs should claim that as charity. It is almost the same thing.

    • Koolaid December 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Ya know, I heard someone say he was going to ask his bishop to find ‘volunteers’ for a project. Feel the pressure?

    • MickeyD December 18, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      @Joe and Pheo, time spent in Church callings does not count in this survey. Time spent cleaning up a flooded neighborhood, or time spent searching for a lost child, or other acts of neighbor helping neighbor do count however, even of the “project” was sponsored by a church. With your snarky comments I’m guessing you never get off your own backsides and do anything but complain about a local bishop or mormon neighbor. Utah is not a 100% LDS State, so the statistic reported include the volunteer hours of lots of other people too. Maybe you’d be better off living in Cuba away from these good people. I think you’ll have your chances to go soon. I might even pay your way.

      • Joe Smith December 18, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        Yes, church callings do count. That’s why Utah tops the survey, so you are wrong. As for snarky, you must not have spent much time around the local mormons because they are the very definition of snarky, fact. ” If you have problems with our official state-sanctioned church I suggest you leave”, Isn’t that what worthy members usually say?

  • St. George Senior December 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Wonder what the ranking for Utah would be if the coerced Mormon volunteering was removed from the talley.

  • Pastor Uganda Uptom December 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Man there are some stupid people in America. I was baptized as a Christian and came to America because I thought my people in my country where uneducated with a long list of mental disorders. But after reading the first comment i can see they are just as stupid here. First off if your worried about what a bishop personally thinks of you your a failure already. If you don’t want to take on the responsibility that’s between you and God. If your going to do your calling as most raise their children your already al failure. For your study guide look up the scriptures in Corinthians it will explain to you about the Heavens if you don’t understand it you may want to take to some that can help you so you don’t fail at this too. And to top it all off the Mormon version of Satans hell is the same place explained to you in the Bible, it’s where God isn’t. For example take yourself for instance by the comments you’ve made God doesn’t dwell in your heart therefore Satan does and your all ready in Hell. You are a failure to God until you have a change of heart good luck my friend.

    • Joe Smith December 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      I’m not sure what you’re rambling on about, but if you don’t like it here I suggest you leave–back to Uganda or wherever…

  • Maggie December 19, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Pastor Uganda
    I am not Mormon but this is where the folks come who are anti Mormon. My fav thing to do is to come to see how they will take a subjuect,any subject at all and twist it someway to beat up on Mormons. They are sad but funny. They work so hard to tear down everybody and everything around them, not to be helpful in anyway is their purpose in life. Not much critical thinking going on in those heads. The scary part is some of them create life and vote. Not sure they have feet either as they refuse to just walk away from living from an area they obviously do not like .

    • Herd December 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Maybe people are tired of mormons lying to them?

  • Koolaid December 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I say BS! First, I doubt people in other states don’t feel the need to boast or be recognized for their volunteer work as do people in Utah. Maybe people in Utah have a “Look at me! Look at me! Selfies!” mentality while people elsewhere just step up and help out as needed. If Utah enjoys such a high rate of volunteerism, then why is it necessary for church bishops to pressure adults into boy scout positions by telling them its a calling?

  • Sigmund December 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

    There’s also another new survey out that says Southern Utah people lead the nation in attacking others in comment sections of online news sites. Further research is necessary to discover why this takes place and what motivates people to participate in this activity. Instead of the usual informative or humorous comments found across the nation, this area thrives on attacking individuals, their activities or personal beliefs. It is still not known what physiological benefits or rewards comes from this activity.

    • Koolaid December 23, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Because Southern Utah people think Obama is going to take their guns they feel the need to attack others

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