Is there something special about the Twin Cities? Yep. You betcha. It’s the volunteers

Ranked the Top Metro Area for Volunteering, the Twin Cities is the Perfect Place to Host Social Sector Leaders Who Are Accelerating People-Powered Change

Jun 5, 2019

In two weeks, the 2019 Points of Light Conference will kick-off in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our state is known for our 10,000 lakes, snowy and cold winters and his royal purpleness, Prince. But in the past few years, we’ve also hosted a Super Bowl, a men’s basketball Final Four, and countless events and national conferences.

Visitors to our region are often surprised by the fantastic food scene, bountiful cultural and natural attractions, and the giant Mall of America (with no sales tax on clothing or shoes!). But, just as often, are met with the feeling of being warmly welcomed by the volunteers who work at the events they’ve come to Minneapolis/St. Paul to attend.

Year after year, the Twin Cities is ranked the No. 1 metro area for volunteering. People here value service to others, stewardship of our community and participation in our common good. We are typically shy about bragging about our state, but one area we love telling people about is our willingness to spend time helping each other out. It’s no surprise HandsOn Twin Cities is the oldest volunteer center in the nation. And this year, we’re celebrating 100 years of supporting service and volunteerism.

We are home to a high number of Fortune 500 headquarters, an amazing tech and med-tech startup scene, and small businesses galore. We have a spirit of innovation and industry that comes from our fantastic education system, and a cornerstone of our corporate and educational culture is service. It is hard to understate the commitment of our business sector to volunteerism and civic participation.

When you land at MSP International Airport, we invite you to experience the lakes, the theaters, the restaurants and some meaningful professional development at the Points of Light Conference, which HandsOn Twin Cities is excited to co-host this year. But we also invite you to get to know what makes the Twin Cities such a fertile place for volunteerism. Talk to the conference volunteers and find out how many different organizations they serve with. Ask the people at your hotel how their company supports volunteer time off. Keep your eyes peeled when you go by any park, field or playground, and we bet you will see people volunteering.

So, we uncharacteristically boast about our No. 1 ranking in volunteerism. Is there something special about the Twin Cities? Yep. You betcha. It’s the volunteers.

Tracy Nielsen is executive director of HandsOn Twin Cities, a member of the Points of Light Global Network. She co-authored this blog with Andy Goldman-Gray, who serves as chairman of the HandsOn Twin Cities board of directors.

Co-hosted with HandsOn Twin Cities, the 2019 Points of Light Conference will offer unique opportunities for networking and exploring the Twin Cities and its rich history of volunteerism. View the agenda, featured speakers, special events, and register today at

Tracy Nielsen