In a recent study provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, it indicated that there was an increase from 59.8 million Americans volunteering in 2002 to 65.4 million in 2005.
While there are more interesting statistics in the study, which I recommend viewing, I find it ironic that as more Americans are volunteering or want to volunteer, the government has chosen to decrease funding for programs that enable such opportunities.
Recently, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies recommended its funding levels for various domestic programs including those under the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism and administers volunteer programs.
The subcommittee's recommendations included significant cuts to the CNCS programs such as Learn and Serve America and AmeriCorps. Learn and Serve America was cut from $37.1 million to $34.2 million, an 8% cut from this fiscal year, but a 20% reduction from its traditional level of $43 million. While AmeriCorps grants were cut $46.7 million (18%) from this year's level of $264.8 million to $218.1 million - an additional cut from the President's requested $258.9 million.
While the demand for these programs continue to increase, their ability to provide services is greatly diminished with the decrease in funding. There is still a possibility that these programs will not see these funding cuts. But then, that would be ironic.