Latest Benjamin Center discussion brief touts strong volunteerism in Ulster County

The Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz has released its latest discussion brief, “The Who-What-Where-When-Why of Volunteerism in Ulster County,” documenting the breadth of volunteerism in our county.

[Click here to view and download “The Who-What-Where-When-Why of Volunteerism in Ulster County”]

Drawing from survey data collected at the national and local levels, and from interviews with 19 leaders in volunteer-reliant organizations, the authors demonstrate that volunteerism is alive and well in Ulster County.

“In an era of national withdrawal from volunteerism, Ulster County’s record of volunteer engagement is extraordinary,” said Benjamin Center Director Gerald Benjamin. “But we still must face the challenges of determining how to sustain our essential services into the future in the face of multiple competing demands on scarce social resources.”

The brief addresses concerns around Ulster County’s ability to provide and supplement volunteer services, and the cost to taxpayers of these kinds of maintenance efforts, by focusing on how to achieve an optimal division of responsibilities through volunteer engagement.

Even in an area of high volunteer engagement, it is reasonable to question how much is achievable – and even desirable – through volunteerism. The Benjamin Center brief weighs this question carefully and concludes that communities will need to work together strategically to set priorities, allocate resources and manage expectations for volunteer services.

The brief is authored by Sue Books, professor in School of Education, and kt Tobin, associate director of the Benjamin Center.

The Who-What-Where-When-Why of Volunteerism in Ulster County,” the 16th discussion brief to be released by the Benjamin Center since its inception, can be read and downloaded online.

About the Benjamin Center
The Benjamin Center (formerly CRREO) was established in 2007 to help SUNY New Paltz engage with communities, governments, not-for-profits and businesses across our region. The Benjamin Center conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific areas of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement.

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