Volunteerism in the Eighties

Archive Report

Growing Citizen Involvement

Estimates of the Number of Volunteers

In Beverly Hills, a physician treats poor patients free of charge. In New York, a citizens' association cares for trees along the city's streets. In Cleveland, high school students help tutor elementary pupils. What makes these otherwise ordinary jobs noteworthy is that they are all done by volunteers. Acting individually or in groups, volunteers perform a myriad of social services in communities throughout the country. In a society whose latest commandment seems to be “me first,” the contributions of volunteers often are taken for granted. But according to John Gardner, former director of Common Cause and now head of the board of directors of Independent Sector, a coalition of charitable and philanthropic organizations, if volunteerism “were to ...

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