Thursday, March 23, 2023


A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.


The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Iowans Rank High on "Informal" Volunteering


Friday, February 3, 2023   

New data on volunteering in the United States from the independent government agency AmeriCorps shows the pandemic cut deeply into the amount of time people give to charitable causes, including in Iowa.

AmeriCorps works with the Census Bureau every other year to track volunteer efforts. Iowa still remains in the top half of states where residents pitch in to help others, according to the latest research, but Michelle Raymer, senior program officer for volunteer engagement and infrastructure at Volunteer Iowa, said the pandemic sent the overall number of volunteers down sharply, at a critical time.

"At the state level, we have annual data that has shown us volunteering dropped from about 52.9% before the pandemic (to) 41.8% now," she said, "and that was at the same time that nonprofits really have been stretched thin, due to all the increased needs created by the pandemic. And so, the drop is happening when the need has never been greater."

In addition to creating a statewide volunteer database, Raymer said, Iowa is increasing outreach efforts to encourage people to donate their time, as well as increasing training for nonprofit groups to recruit more volunteers.

While the number of volunteers dropped more than 10% in the state, Raymer said Iowans are still doing a lot of what the report calls "informal helping out" - shoveling snow from the neighbor's driveway, getting groceries for someone who's homebound, reading to kids or just spending time with somebody who needs company. She said Iowa remains in the top ten states in that category, and reminded people the benefits of volunteering go both ways.

"Volunteering is great for a lot of reasons," she said. "In addition to helping the community, when people volunteer, it helps their health and wellness and helps mental health, too. And challenges with mental health, now more than ever, Iowans themselves could benefit personally from volunteering. But really, creating that high-quality, effective volunteer opportunity isn't free. It takes investment."

The AmeriCorps report said more than 60-million Americans formally volunteered with organizations in 2020 and 2021, a number that more than doubled when counting those helping their neighbors or community without a group affiliation.

get more stories like this via email
In 2020, 35% of Idaho mothers had Medicaid at the time of their child's birth. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With concerning trends emerging for pregnant and postpartum women, frustration is growing that Idaho lawmakers could end the session without …

Health and Wellness

Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable. The Care 4 All …

Social Issues

A new study from the University of New Hampshire found New England's LGBTQ+ residents experience higher rates of food insufficiency, the measure of …

According to the Center for American Progress, nearly nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges use background checks to screen for applicants' criminal records. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A large percentage of Missourians who could to have their criminal records "expunged" have not done so, despite the effects expungement -- referred …

Social Issues

A person's work personnel file can be important to review, but some Washingtonians are finding them hard to obtain. A bill in Olympia would ensure …

The most recent Farm Bill covered areas such as agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit and research. (Adobe Stock)


The U.S. Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and Congress faces calls to avoid any delays so certain programs can keep helping farmers and consumers …

Social Issues

Youth advocates continue to sound the alarm over the impact flavored tobacco products have on teenagers, and hope Minnesota lawmakers take another …


As wildfire seasons in Colorado and across the American West become longer, less predictable and increasingly destructive, a new report aims to …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021