Volunteerism isn’t just good for the soul – it’s also good for business.
Need an example? According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Floridians contribute more than 340 million volunteer hours per year, resulting in an $8.2 billion economic impact statewide.
“I think you, as business leaders, will understand this inherently,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram during November’s Wake Up Naples. “An hour of volunteerism in the state of Florida equates to more than $20 an hour, if you had to pay market rate for the things that volunteers do.”
He continued: “That’s pretty serious and it’s money that doesn’t need to be paid. It can stay in the organization’s pocket and can help them do mission critical things that you don’t have to pay labor for.”
Ingram, the former CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, gave attendees an overview of Volunteer Florida and spoke about the role volunteerism plays throughout the state during the Nov. 20 Wake Up Naples at the Hilton Naples. Sponsored by United Way of Collier County, the event was a chance for community members to learn how they can get involved and make an impact in their communities.
Aside from the economic impact of volunteerism, Ingram said people who volunteer are “more likely to find employment, perform better in school and be civically engaged.”
“When I got the appointment to Volunteer Florida, it struck me that we have a limited number of hours and days on this Earth, a limited number of heartbeats and breaths,” said Ingram. “To take this limited precious resource you have and give it to another person or organization to help them is an incredibly powerful thing.”
Despite the overwhelmingly positive socioeconomic impact, Florida ranks 50th in the nation for volunteerism. Utah ranks No. 1 in the nation, followed by Minnesota, Oregon, Iowa and Alaska.
The Florida Chamber wants to change that. The state chamber has set a goal of ranking in the Top 12 for volunteerism by 2030 and is working with a variety of organizations – including Volunteer Florida and the Florida Nonprofit Alliance – to increase the rate of volunteerism throughout the state.
The Greater Naples Chamber and its Leadership Collier Foundation are committed to connecting Collier County residents, businesses and visitors to volunteer opportunities.
The foundation works with a variety of nonprofit partners – including United Way, the Community Foundation of Collier County and Greater Naples Leadership – to host the “Get Involved Collier! Volunteer Expo.” The annual volunteer expo is a chance for community members to connect with volunteer opportunities.
The foundation is also teaming up with United Way to host a “Day of Action” on Feb. 28. The day – planned for Leadership Collier class members, alumni and businesses – provides community members the opportunity to make a significant collective impact on a single day.
“I hope, with conversations like this, we’re able to start creating a culture of volunteerism in Florida and serve each other like never before,” said Ingram.
__Interested in volunteering? Visit Volunteer Collier, powered by United Way of Collier County, to connect with local volunteer opportunities.
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, has named high school senior Julien Zappulla as its first-ever student board member. The decision to add a student board member was rooted in the desire to hear the student perspective on issues, especially as the Foundation’s work with youth and talent development continues to grow.
“As the LCF continues to advance our work with talent development, having a student voice on our board of advisors has proven to be very valuable,” said Amanda Beights, vice president of LCF. “Julian is not only a graduate of our Youth Leadership Collier (YLC) program but has also been active in the Foundation’s work-based learning initiative. We look forward to continuing this model of student involvement with all of our work moving forward.”
Zappulla, a 2019 Youth Leadership Collier graduate, attends Seacrest Country Day School where he is the captain of the robotics team and a member of the varsity soccer team. Additionally, he sings in the Naples Philharmonic Chorus. Zappulla also spends time mentoring local robotics teams, refereeing robotics competitions and creating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I am passionate about both the Greater Naples Chamber and LCF because I have a drive to communicate and network with people, and YLC was truly a life changing experience for me,” said Zappulla. “As an LCF board member, I look forward to providing a student perspective in discussions at board meetings and other events.”
Zappulla plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where he hopes to receive a masters in robotic engineering and artificial intelligence. His primary goal through a career in engineering is to advance the intelligence, design, and useful capacity of machinery, emphasizing robotic systems and controls.
To view all members of the LCF advisory board, click here.