Michelle Raymer, senior program officer for Volunteer Iowa, says the grant is from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps.
“This money will help support local communities in identifying how they can engage their greatest resources, their human capital, their people, to help meet any local challenges,” Raymer says. “We intend to work with a network of local volunteer centers who can provide training to nonprofits, how best to engage with volunteers and build their capacity.”
The grant will also enable the agency to work with cities across Iowa, helping them find ways to engage and recruit citizens as volunteers. Raymer says, “We intend to work with schools to identify how youth can be involved as volunteers, as our newest generation of volunteers, how to get them involved in a variety of ways.” She notes, Iowa has long ranked among the nation’s top states for volunteerism.
“I think it’s just a tribute to Iowans’ willingness to give back to their communities and to help their neighbors,” Raymer says. “We always are consistently pretty high and right now are fourth.”
A 2018 federal survey found more than 40% of Iowans volunteer to donate their time, well above the national average of around 30%. It also found Iowans donated more than 75-million hours of their time with an economic impact of nearly $2 billion.