Plenty of Do-Gooders Here

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A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service released today puts Minnesota and the Twin Cities in the top ranks of volunteerism.

For the third year in a row Utah was the top volunteer state with a volunteer rate of 43.9 percent, followed by Nebraska, Minnesota, Alaska and Montana. Minneapolis-St. Paul once again ranked number one among large cities at 39.3 percent, with Salt Lake City, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Austin rounding out the top five.

Some 61 million Americans volunteered in 2007, totaling 8.1 billion hours of service worth more than $158 billion.

Interestingly enough, this year's report included an analysis of the differences between volunteers and non-volunteers. Turns out, non-volunteers are lazy bums.

In a typical week, volunteers spend approximately 15 hours watching television, compared to 23 hours for non-volunteers. That eight-hour difference adds up to more than 400 hours over the course of a year.

"The research shows that volunteering isn’t as much about having the time to volunteer but creating volunteering opportunities that people want to make the time for," said Dr. Robert Grimm, the Corporation’s Director of Research and Policy. "If millions of Americans traded in one hour of TV a week to volunteer, they could make a profound difference in some of the big problems facing our nation and potentially accrue personal health benefits."


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