Apr 17, 2023 - Things to Do

How Miamians can give back for National Volunteer Week

Miami Foundation employees celebrate a fundraiser.

See how fun volunteering is? Photo: Gregory Clark/Miami Foundation

When was the last time you volunteered? If you need a push, start now, during National Volunteer Week — and with Earth Day around the corner.

Why it matters: Miami ranked near the bottom of large U.S. metro areas for volunteerism and civic engagement in a recent Americorps survey.

  • Community service not only makes a difference in other people's lives, but volunteering can improve your mental health, provide a sense of purpose and build support systems through social interaction, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What's happening: There are dozens of beach-cleanup events happening in Miami-Dade and Broward counties this week. (Find one near you and sign up!)

What they're saying: Lindsey Linzer, vice president of community investments at the Miami Foundation, tells Axios it's "surprising and disappointing" to see Miami in the news for its apparent lack of civic engagement. But she said Miamians show up for their community when presented the opportunity.

  • Donations to the foundation’s annual Give Miami Day fundraiser increased 76% between 2020 and 2022.
  • Last year, more than 1,000 organizations raised $32 million in one week, and over 2,000 volunteers pledged 53,281 hours.
  • "We have donors and corporate partners reaching out to us weekly asking for ways to get civically engaged in Miami," she said. "We are seeing newcomers to Miami eager to get involved and give back. And we've seen steady and even increased donations throughout what has been a very challenging economic period."

How to help: Linzer gave tips on small ways residents can help stay engaged in their communities.

  1. Shop local. Buy from small businesses instead of larger companies.
  2. Subscribe to your local newspaper (or become an Axios Miami member!)
  3. Stay informed and vote in local elections.
  4. Get to know your neighbors: "The best way to build strong community bonds is by developing relationships and creating understanding across lines of difference,” Linzer said.

What's next: Next month, the annual 10 Days of Connection program will bring people of diverse backgrounds together to get to know each other at free events in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The bottom line: "Giving back to the community can show up in so many different ways — there is no right or wrong way,” Linzer said.


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