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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.
Volunteering in America increases This week, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) released its 2009 Volunteering in America research report. As our own Kristin Ivie stated in a blog post earlier this week, "The findings are consistent with much of what we've seen here at the Case Foundation, both anecdotally and through our programs of the past few years." According to an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the report also states that "while the number of people involved in organized volunteerism stayed relatively constant, there was a big jump in participation in less-formal ways of serving." USA Today also covered the report, highlighting the growth in the number of volunteers (by nearly one million people) in spite of a difficult economy, noting that:
Two forms of volunteerism jumped sharply: the number of people who worked with neighbors to solve a local problem rose 31% from 2007 to 2008, and the number of people who attended community meetings rose 17% last year.
Several outlets, including the NonProfit Times, covered the report's finding that the largest increase in volunteers came from young adults in the 16-24 year old age group. As the Washington Post reports:
The number of 16- to 24-year-old volunteers rose 5 percent, from 7.8 million to 8.2 million. The number of applications to AmeriCorps, which puts people to work full time in nonprofit groups for a year, increased 217 percent over the past eight months.
The Associated Press also covered this story, as did the Christian Science Monitor, which reported that according to the study, "more than one-third of America’s volunteer force served through a religious group." Several local papers also covered the regional results of the study.
Internet & American Life Project - mobile internet may be bridging digital divide This week, the Internet and American Life Project of the Pew Research Center released the results of its latest survey, showing a sharp increase in mobile internet usage. According to the Project's press release, "56% of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player." The New York Times reported on the apparent closing of the digital divide the survey demonstrates, noting that "while accessing the Internet via a mobile phone was increasing, the swell was reflected most sharply among African-Americans." The Times also states that:
The report found that nearly half of all African-Americans and English-speaking Hispanics (the study did not include a Spanish-language option) were using mobile phones or other hand-held devices to surf the Web and send e-mail messages. By comparison, just 28 percent of white Americans reported ever going online using a mobile device.
Allison Fine also discussed the report in a blog post on the digital divide and social change, noting that:
There is a very interesting tension in the field of social change that becomes apparent when you see the difference between the fact that young people of color are naturally closing the digital divide and the fact that nonprofit organizations that serve them aren’t.
BusinessWeek's Tech Beat blog also covered the report, noting that "While white Americans are still much more likely to go online using a computer, wireless connectivity clearly helps narrow the digital divide. On an average day, 61% of whites go online when mobile access is included, while 54% of African Americans do the same." InternetNews.com also covered this story.
Gordon Brown talks social media and social change at TED Global At last week's TED Global Conference, UK prime minister Gordon Brown made waves during his surprise appearance and speech, which focused on the power of technology to influence global policy. According to an article in PC World, the Prime Minister argued that "foreign policies could be formed by listening to the opinions of people 'who are blogging and communicating with people around the world,'" leveraging social media technologies. BBC News also covered the story, noting that Brown's speech referenced "recent events in Iran and Burma and how the global community - using blogs and technologies such as Twitter - was able to bring events to widespread attention." The Guardian's digital content blog also featured a thorough summary of the speech, highlighting:
Global communications can organize people virtually around the world, Brown said, pointing to monks blogging in Burma, voters taking camera phone images of polling stations in Zimbabwe to prevent electoral fraud, and the use of Twitter and YouTube to get information from the post-election protests in Iran.
Personal Democracy Forum also reported on the speech and has posted a video.
Separate from the prime minister's speech, Tim Leberecht, vice president of marketing and communications for frog design has a great post on CNET on the varying viewpoints at TED Global around the social potential of the web. He notes:
This outlook was somewhat more somber than I expected at a TED conference, perhaps – as some attendees suspected – due to the cultural differences between Long Beach and Oxford. There was definitely a palpable sense of enlightened skepticism at the conference, a distinctly European tone that serves as welcome counterweight to the Californian brand of optimism that TED is often associated with...