MS volunteer services could see big funding cuts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS volunteer services could see big funding cuts

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The National Conference on Citizenship ranked the entire country on civic engagement and Mississippi tops the list. The National Conference on Citizenship ranked the entire country on civic engagement and Mississippi tops the list.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As state volunteer leaders shine a light on AmeriCorps week and the connection of volunteer service to a thriving economy, it came with some good news Tuesday morning. The National Conference on Citizenship ranked the entire country on civic engagement and Mississippi tops the list.

"Number four in the nation. I'm talking number four on a good list," said David Mallery, executive director of Volunteer Mississippi.

Mallery says that ranking comes from the nature of Mississippians and a dedication to service.

"The most important pieces of what Mississippi really is the caring hearts and giving hands of people who care about others," said Mallery.

As the rankings are released, so are budget cuts from the federal level thanks to what's known as sequestration. Mallery says initial estimates from federal parent agencies put cuts to volunteer services in Mississippi as high as 50 percent. That's money used as matching funds to local money. While he does expect some setbacks in selected services, Mallery says he hopes federal lawmakers can work out a solution that won't harm crucial efforts.

 "When you can take a few dollars to organize volunteers and then magnify that 10, 15 or 20 times to the value that it provides within a community, that's a good return on investment," said Mallery.

Last year more than 77,000 volunteers were part of Volunteer Mississippi and provided an estimated financial value of more than $5 million in service. Thanks to state lawmakers like Sen. Hillman Frazier, Mallery says state support remains strong. Frazier says it all comes down to understanding what volunteer service can do.

"We can rise to meet our state's challenges not as isolated individuals but as committed neighbors building a better future for all Mississippians," said Frazier, a democrat from Jackson.

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