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News Release - November 17, 2016

News Release – Thursday, November 17, 2016

Illinois Ranks #1 in Volunteer Rate Among the Country’s Largest States – Chicago Top in Volunteering among Largest Metropolitan Areas

2.4 Million Illinoisans Give $7.3 Billion in Service

SPRINGFIELD – The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) is commending the state’s more than 2.4 million volunteers who made a difference through volunteerism last year. The Chicago metropolitan area also had the highest volunteerism rate among the four largest cities. Illinois volunteers served nearly 287 million total hours, which is valued at $7.3 billion (based on the value of volunteer time in Illinois

“Illinoisans volunteer hundreds of millions of hours to help their neighbors,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “These volunteers make our state a great place to live. They support our veterans, give comfort to the homeless, help educate our children, respond to disasters, and so much more.”

The recently released 2015 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that 2.4 million Illinoisans volunteered and helped to make Illinois the top volunteering state out of the five most populated states in the country.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issued the annual report in partnership with the National Council on Citizenship, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics. The complete report is available at

According to CNCS, 62.6 million Americans (or 1 in 4 adults, 24.9 percent) volunteered 7.8 billion hours last year. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $184 billion.

Additionally, volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Eighty percent of volunteers donated to charity, compared to 40 percent of non-volunteers. Volunteers are 27 percent more likely to find a job. This likelihood increases for rural volunteers (55 percent) and volunteers without a high school diploma (51 percent).

About Serve Illinois

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40 member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state. The Commission is accomplishing this mission through the support of local community-based efforts to enhance volunteer opportunities and the administration of Illinois' AmeriCorps program. For more information on Serve Illinois, or to find one of over 2,500 volunteer opportunities in the state, please visit