Paying it Forward: Volunteerism Thrives in Greater Cleveland

Photo courtesy of Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

By Cameron Aloway, Marketing & Communications Intern

Did you know that Greater Clevelanders have one of the highest volunteer rates in the country? It’s amazing that so many of our neighbors give back to our community – and you can too!

In 2018, the Corporation for National and Community Service or AmeriCorps, which gathers data surrounding civic engagement, ranked the city of Cleveland 29th nationally with a volunteer rate of 30%. From 2016 to 2018, the city experienced a slight increase, with over 14 million residents becoming more engaged with volunteering.

Analyzing the city’s ranking, the organization reported that residents contributed over 48 million hours of volunteer service to the community. Over 55% of Cleveland residents donated $25 or more to local charities, with 29% regularly participating in local volunteer groups and organizations.  

The analysis also shows that appointed board members at various organizations in the community reflect and represent the area’s ethnic and gender diversity. Despite rankings showing racial segregation in Cleveland neighborhoods, out of the 262 board members in local committees, 46% identified as white and 44% identified as Black – which is close to the overall racial composition of the city.

Photo courtesy of Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

Presently, there are a slew of opportunities for community members to connect with volunteer initiatives. Prominent organizations that seek engaged residents include:

  • Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) – comprised of business leaders in Greater Cleveland, BVU engages, connects and strengthens business and nonprofits to help address and solve community issues affecting the lives of residents.
  • Greater Cleveland Volunteers – Established in 1972, Greater Cleveland Volunteers engages the community with local nonprofit organizations addressing short-term and ongoing needs. Greater Cleveland Volunteers presently manages various programs including AARP Foundation Experience Corps, Chat Pals, and RSVP.

Both nonprofits aim to connect Greater Cleveland residents with opportunities to serve and give back to the community. Both organizations are also involved in the Cleveland Foundation’s Encore Cleveland initiative, which helps to connect Greater Clevelanders who are retired or nearing retirement from their primary careers to opportunities to give back to their community through paid and volunteer roles at local nonprofit organizations. 

Help serve the needs of your community as an engaged in volunteer on an issue you care about!