Manchin

By GAYLE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- It is always fun to have something, someone or some place to brag about in my monthly column. That is never hard to do!

This month, I want to recognize the West Virginia Business Volunteer Council (BVC) for its commitment to promote volunteerism across our state.

The National Points of Light Foundation (NPLF), a Washington D.C.-based organization that encourages people from all walks of life to volunteer, recognized West Virginia's outstanding volunteer efforts during its annual conference last month. Sam Cipoletti of Verizon accepted the NPLF's "Corporate Volunteer Council Fast-Start Award" for our state's BVC.

The council, which was formed in 2006 as an initiative of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, is a unique statewide effort to encourage our business community to become involved in the special needs and character of our state. With few volunteer centers and without the resources to expand, the state service commission for several years has had an online program to establish points of contact for volunteerism for our state called volunteerwv.org.

I joined with fellow state commissioner Sam Cipoletti and others to develop a list of business associations, utilities and labor organizations with a history of supporting public purposes. Our goal, from the very beginning, was to harness state resources and promote private sector involvement in community service. I'm delighted to say we met our goal!

Last April, during National Volunteer Week, the governor proclaimed the beginning of "The Year to Volunteer" and we launched the official campaign by forming the BVC.

This past January this council developed and administered a survey to business executives. About 56 managers representing 55 businesses completed the survey:

* 92 percent of respondents report their businesses are involved in volunteering.

* 83 percent of respondents report their company is "very" or "extremely" likely to want to learn more about volunteering.

* 79 percent of respondents said it is "very" or "extremely" likely their company would be interested in volunteering.

* 58 percent of respondents report they would like to learn more about BVC opportunities.

Not surprisingly, these survey findings suggest many West Virginia businesses have a great interest in growing their current volunteer efforts.

Our business and local volunteers support community economic development in West Virginia and help create a more vibrant economy. West Virginia is proud of its warm and friendly people and community spirit that contribute to our quality of life, and we know helping our neighbor is a huge part of who we are as West Virginians.

Congratulations to our newest Volunteer Hero, the Business Volunteer Council.

Manchin in West Virginia' First Lady.

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