It’s National Volunteer Week (April 19-25), a recognition that debuted in the United States in 1974 by presidential proclamation and has continued to grow every year since. While the week itself may look a little different this year because of the pandemic, it’s still just as important to recognize volunteers for the outstanding and vital work they do.
We work with countless volunteers here at the Community Foundation, for those who serve on board and committees to the many who serve with our hundreds of local nonprofit partners. Thank you to all the volunteers in the Fox Valley Region who make our local communities a great place to live!
How valuable are volunteers in our area?
Nationally, the average value of a volunteer hour is $24.53 (according to the Corporation for National and Community Service), and we can use that average to see how volunteer hours in the Fox Valley stack up:
“For example, our RSVP 55+ Program (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) has 327 volunteers serving 70 nonprofits. These volunteers recorded 64,898 hours in 2019, which equals an astounding $1,592,422 in economic impact in our communities,” says Susan Vanden Heuvel, executive director of Volunteer Fox Cities.
Vanden Heuvel says another great example is the Give Back Bus:
“We’ve done 30 trips to 24 different nonprofits and worked on 32 projects. Each of our 955 volunteers who’ve taken the bus gives an average of about 2.5 hours of their time, which adds up to 2,388 hours or $58,566 in economic impact in our communities.”
One way we recognize local volunteerism is through our Celebrating Volunteers recognition gala. The annual dinner and awards ceremony was cancelled shortly after we announced this year’s winners due to the coronavirus. Although we couldn’t celebrate together this year, the Community Foundation, NBC 26, award sponsors and event planning committee members are honored to recognize their outstanding volunteer contributions in our community.
Each awardee recently received a beautiful floral arrangement (thank you, Flower Girl Design Studio and Community First Credit Union for sponsoring the cost!), along with a custom glass artwork award created for the event.
Each award sponsor will make a donation of $5,000 to the local nonprofit organization(s) each volunteer has chosen. (The Youth Scholarship sponsors give $1,000 plus a $1,500 scholarship to the awardee.)
When it’s safe for everyone to interact once again, NBC 26 will record an interview with each winner for a story that will air sometime in the future. For now, we are going to feature individual stories for each winner listed below, so stay tuned:
2020 Award Recipients:
Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award
Charitable Gift: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley
Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award
Sponsor: Mielke Family Foundation
Charitable Gift: Fox Valley Memory Project
Health Care Volunteer Award
Sponsor: Ascension St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and ThedaCare
Charitable Gift: Peaceful Purpose, Inc.
Mary Beth Nienhaus
Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award
Habitat for Humanity
Noon Lions Club
Loaves & Fishes of the Fox Valley
Thompson Center on Lourdes
Sacred Heart Parish in Appleton
Capital Credit Union & Pillars
Business Partnership of the Year Award
Charitable Gift: Pillars
Youth Scholarship Award
Sponsor: Community First Credit Union
Charitable Gift: Darboy Kiwanis