Atlanta to showcase its volunteer spirit as a city where everyone can serve

By Guest Columnist TRACY HOOVER, president of the Atlanta-based Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

In a matter of days, more than 4,000 leaders in volunteering and service from around the world will gather in Atlanta to share ideas, learn from each other and – as you might expect in Dr. King’s hometown – serve together.

At Points of Light and Hands On Atlanta, I’ve seen our city of volunteers in action: planting trees along the Atlanta BeltLine, tending community gardens in vacant lots, tutoring children in afterschool programs and serving meals to the homeless. Atlanta’s volunteers don’t wait for solutions – they create them. When they see problems in our community, they address them with their personal power, ingenuity and resolve.

Tracy Hoover_headshot

Tracy Hoover

I’m inspired by social entrepreneurs, who meet critical needs by harnessing the talent and energy of volunteers. I’m encouraged by Fortune 500 companies and neighborhood shops – whose employees donate skills-based services to local nonprofits.

I’m proud of what Atlantans have done – and I’m motivated by how much more we can do. (For information about Atlanta’s volunteering and civic engagement profile, please see information below).

Hosting the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service here in Atlanta – a city shaped by a legacy of service leaders – seems especially fitting. And it also holds great promise. Each time the global service movement comes together, something big happens.

Last year in Washington, DC, attendees packed 100,000 meals for the Capital Area Food Bank, and hundreds of volunteers turned out to beautify the National Mall for the Servapalooza Service Festival.

When service leaders gather here on June 16, they’ll hail from around the world and as close to home as Peachtree Street. At service projects, workshops, and networking events, there will be volunteers, CEOs, activists, educators, filmmakers, bloggers, executives, musicians, tech entrepreneurs, foundation presidents… and even a former President’s daughter. This diverse group, united in service, will make important connections, spark new ideas and find new solutions.

Please take advantage of this opportunity. Join us at our Conference on Volunteering and Service. Let’s use this moment to not only celebrate our city’s great legacy of service leaders, but to dedicate ourselves to the “greatness” they call us to.

The 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service convened by Points of Light will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center June 16-18. Registration is still open, and one-day rates are available at

Volunteering and Civic Engagement in Atlanta, GA

Here is the latest data available from Corporation for National & Community Service:

Trends and Highlights Overview in Atlanta, GA in 2012:

  • 26.3 percent of residents volunteer, ranking them 28th among the 51 largest MSAs.
  • 30.8 volunteer hours per resident.
  • 1.2 million volunteers.
  • 133.2 million hours of service.
  • $2.9 billion of service contributed.
  • 52.4 percent of residents donate to charity.
  • 9.7 percent of residents participate in public meetings.
  • 34.2 percent of residents over age 55 volunteer.

There is additional info available on voting, group participation, social connectedness, and other volunteering and civic life indicators.

Infographic on volunteering in Atlanta

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