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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Find news you can use on a variety of topics; opportunities to raise money, changes in postage rates; statistics and facts that impact volunteer programs; and more.

~ March 2004 ~ Topics

Volunteers and Voting

The election of the next US President is heating up this month and in the months to come. Thousands of people volunteer each year for political candidates, not just the Presidential candidate volunteers. Here are some facts and figures on the USA voting public. If you are organizing a political campaign that uses volunteers, some of this information may be of assistance.

  • 77% of adults in the US are registered to vote
  • 111 million people voted in the US election of 2000; 55% of voting age population
  • 61% of women voted in 2000; 58% of men
  • 97% of registered voters in Wyoming turned out to vote in the 2000 election
  • In 1972, eighteen year olds got the vote for the first time; 50% of 18-24 year olds voted that year
  • In 2000, 36% of 18- 24 year olds voted
  • 67% of adults say they vote in presidential elections; 47% in statewide elections, and 39% in local elections
  • 91% of adults in Flint, MI are registered to vote; they are 18% more likely to be registered than all adults in the US
  • 40% of all young people whose parents vote in every election, reported voting in November 1998
  • 47% of people under 30 are informed about political candidates from late-night TV show hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Majority Vote Image

AmeriCorps Funding is Up

Congress passed, and the President signed, a spending bull that includes $441 million for the AmeriCorps national service programs. This is a 62% increase in support. It includes money for programs, beginning October 1, 2003.

This money allows for the enrollment of 75,000 members for this fiscal year. This is a dramatic reversal from last year’s allocation of 30,000 slots.

The previous year’s reduction in funds was due to poor accounting and mismanagement at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Congress insisted the Corporation mend its financial house. The Inspector General’s office has worked with the Corporation to remedy the problems.

Saving Cities Around the World

Fifty percent of the world’s population lives in cities, but around the world, most notably in the Western world, suburban areas are looking like their city cousins. They are more diverse demographically, places where businesses locate, and have greater economic opportunity. How can cities hang onto business and capital and suburbs do the same? Much of it is done with the help of volunteers. If you are active in neighborhood groups or work with economic development programs, here are some suggestions that can renew even the smallest city or jazz up the newest suburb.

Get citizens to participate.
Research from a variety of sources shows that cities are less crime ridden because private organizations engaged in economic and community development. In some cases these nonprofit organizations are helping control not just crime but the overall "health" of the neighborhood.

You’re Looking Good!

Many suburbs and cities have changed how they look with pedestrian malls and face lifts. Ownership of such activity works best when volunteers, who are also business owners are involved in the process of deciding how to implement physical changes. These "face-lifts" make core retail areas a destination for young and old. In addition, citizens need to discuss how more people mean more cars, more waste, and more need for landfill space. Looking good is important to success in renewal efforts.
Population. Population. Population.
Cities and suburban areas continue to grow rapidly. There is also greater diversity in the population. There are more elderly, single , and non-family households.
Bring People Together.
Formalized neighborhood associations can help bridge racial and economic gaps between people. Some cities, like Portland, OR, have robust neighborhood groups that sponsor everything from block parties to crime prevention initiatives. Volunteer involvement is essential to healthy suburban or urban living. There is even a growing interest in such things as co-housing or eco-villages. The challenge is that some minorities might feel isolated from the larger environment.
Harness Technology.
Computers may have more people working at home, lessening commuting, with its traffic jams and pollution. The other option computers provide is for volunteers and planners to create simulated communities before making "real" changes. Thus allowing time for citizen input and involvement in solutions to potential problems.

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