Why is this important?

Volunteering is one of the ways that anyone can be an activist and engage in the community. Hospitals, schools, synagogues, UJA, as well as many other types of institutions, agencies and organizations could not survive without volunteers. JAVA* organizations serve both the Jewish community in Toronto, and the general community in Toronto who utilizes their services.

What are the trends?

Twelve Jewish organizations participate in JAVA; eight agencies reported data for 2015 and six of these reported data for both 2014 and 2015. For the six agencies reporting data about volunteers in 2015, about 2,705 volunteers performed 278,699 hours of service, or an average of about 100 hours per year per volunteer. For the six agencies reporting data for both 2014 and 2015, the number of volunteers stayed about the same – 2,742 in 2014 and 2,705 in 2015. The number of volunteer hours decreased from 292,048 to 278,699.

What’s new?

While this is only the beginning of the effort to measure the extent of volunteering within the Jewish community and the general Toronto community that Jewish-affiliated institutions serve, it is the first time that any community-wide data has been compiled.

How are we doing?

The six JAVA organizations reporting two years of data, recorded a 5% decrease in the number of volunteer hours. It is, however, noteworthy and commendable that JAVA volunteers spent almost 300,000 hours overall in both 2014 and 2015 serving the needs of both the Jewish community and the general Toronto community in a broad number of areas. As community needs increase and as Baby Boomers retire, there will be significant opportunities to engage this age cohort in volunteer activities.

* JAVA (The Jewish Association of Volunteer Agencies) is an informal network of volunteer coordinators working in Jewish communal organizations in the GTA.