“This is a major contribution to the literature on social participation and voluntary action. It is the first systematic ethnographic study I know that treats volunteers and the institutions they create.” —John Van Til, author of Growing Civil Society
"Students and faculty interested in the issue of homelessness will find the book instructive. . . Recommended." —Choice
Why do people volunteer, and what motivates them to stick with it? How do local organizations create community? How does voluntary participation foster moral development in volunteers to create a better citizenry? In this fascinating study of volunteers at the Partnership for the Homeless in New York City, Robert S. Ogilvie provides bold and engaging answers to these questions. He describes how volunteer programs such as the Partnership generate ethical development in and among participants and how the Partnership’s volunteers have made it such a continued success since the early 1980s. Ogilvie’s examination of voluntarism suggests that the American ethic is essential for sustaining community life and to the future well-being of a democratic society.