The New Volunteerism

December 13, 1996 • Volume 6, Issue 46
Is America poised for a surge in good works?
By Charles S. Clark


Feed the hungry, teach the illiterate, transport the elderly, staff the museums - the quintessentially American willingness to lend a hand is demonstrated annually by 93 million volunteers. Giving of oneself has long been a way to build civic-mindedness and learn about the world beyond one's back yard. But in the current climate of shrinking government, volunteerism is emerging as more than just a conscience-comforting avocation. Lawmakers are counting on a new burst of commitment to offset pending cuts in social service, education and community development programs. But what is the proper role for government in promoting volunteerism? Conservatives are wary of too much bureaucracy and a “politicized” agenda. Liberals see government as a necessary catalyst that plugs holes in the social safety net.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Peace Corps, National Service, and Volunteerism
Mar. 12, 2021  The Boy Scouts' Future
Jan. 11, 2013  Peace Corps Challenges
Jun. 30, 2006  National Service
Dec. 13, 1996  The New Volunteerism
Jun. 25, 1993  National Service
Jan. 25, 1991  Peace Corps' Challenges in the 1990s
Oct. 31, 1986  Blueprints for National Service
Jan. 25, 1985  International Relief Agencies
Dec. 12, 1980  Volunteerism in the Eighties
Jun. 15, 1979  Future of the Peace Corps
Apr. 03, 1963  Domestic Peace Corps
Nov. 28, 1962  Peace Corps Expansion
Jan. 04, 1961  Government Youth Corps
Charities and Philanthropy
Privatization of Government Functions