Quote of the Day about Volunteer Work

Rick Cohen commenting in the article Solving Problems Through Service: CAP Event Looks at State of Volunteering:

At a meeting of the Center for American Progress (CAP), one of the speakers said that “70 percent of nonprofits are completely volunteer-run.  That statistic is amazing, but the nation has to ensure that it doesn’t confuse the value that unpaid (or low-paid stipended) volunteers bring with the necessity of creating good career paths with livable salaries in the nonprofit sector.”

Cohen also mentioned that the speakers acknowledged that most volunteers are middle-class suburbanites who can afford to work for free. But when they said it was important to make volunteering more accessible to people in low-income areas, it struck him, he said, as “missing the almost constant mutual aid that occurs in low-income communities that doesn’t get classified as ‘volunteering’ (just like the constant flow of charitable donations as remittances that don’t get counted as charitable giving in minority neighborhoods). Moreover,” he added, “it would be so much better to see low-income people’s employment and income prospects raised so that they don’t have to fear the trade-off between time spent volunteering and time spent earning an income.”

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