This work demonstrates the power of indicators and evidence to drive positive community change. Winning projects use data to analyze, communicate community conditions, engage citizens and policy makers and catalyze action for making measurable and sustainable improvements in quality of community life.

Communities can be geographical, but can also be topical or demographic communities of shared interest. Projects can be hosted by non-profit organizations, local government entities, foundations or academic institutions. The community may be large or small, but the impact of the use of indicators must be significant.


Austin Area Sustainability Indicators Project started in 1999 and has released nine reports. Indicator selection is varied and includes a section and research on community resilience — something few community indicators have, and which shows innovation –, climate and equity. The project has buy-in from foundations, local government, and academia. It demonstrates continued engagement with the data and analysis in academia and local news. A2SI undertakes primary data collection through their own community survey and they source their indicators from the biennial community survey and “passive data” from 311 calls. The data is used by local foundations to inform programs and by government to improve decision-making and policy design. In this way, they Collect, Connect, and Catalyze.

Dr Patrick Bixler, an assistant professor at the University of Texas in Austin and project lead accepted the CIC community Impact award on behalf of Austin Area Sustainability Indicators Project.



CRITERIA: Similar to the community impact award, the Legacy project award these projects use data to analyze, communicate community conditions, engage citizens and policy makers and catalyze action for making measurable and sustainable improvements in quality of community life. The community legacy award recognizes project that have had an on-going impact in their community for a minimum of 10 years.

In 2018, Sustainable Calgary celebrated 20 years of citizen-engaged research and action! While the indicators are less front and centre than what you would see in a typical CIS, they are the foundation of SC’s work- this is apparent. Their indicator work informs their citizen participation to address key policy issues in the city and advocacy work for local governance. They are calling to improve social equity, protect ecological integrity, create an inclusive and resilient economy, and act decisively on climate change. While they do not disaggregate data in their reports, they pioneered “representation in leadership positions in Calgary” as a proxy to understand how Calgary applied its commitment to diversity and gender equality.

Noel Keough, the president and co-founder of Sustainable Calgary accepted the legacy project award on behalf of his team of staff, volunteers and board members. Congratulations Noel.




Leader that has demonstrated extraordinary contribution to the indicators field with cutting-edge approaches to translating data into action for the purpose of improving their community conditions and well-being.


Sondra Samuels is the President & CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) in Minneapolis; a collaborative of over 40 partner nonprofits and schools. Along with parents, students, partners, and staff, Sondra is leading a revolutionary culture shift in North Minneapolis focused on ending multi-generational poverty through education and family stability. Ms. Samuels is a 21-year resident of North Minneapolis and a national leader committed to results-based leadership and accountability. She, her staff, and their partners work tirelessly to ensure the integration of effective cradle-to-career solutions across the NAZ collaborative — to scale and sustain results across the community and to achieve the systems and policy changes needed for low-income families and children of color to truly share in the prosperity of the Twin Cities Region. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal Promise Neighborhood and has become a nationally recognized model for community and systems change. The NAZ Collaborative is working to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school, college, and career-ready. NAZ has scaled up in support of over 1,000 parents and 2,300 students as they turn the social service model on its head and lead the creation of a college-bound culture throughout the community.

Congratulations Sondra and thank you for your commitment to the field of community indicators and to your community.



CRITERIA:  Leader who have developed or used tools or methods that translate data into action to make significant, long-term impact on the indicators field and the improvement of community conditions and well-being.


Dr. Smale developed and implemented the CIW Community Wellbeing Survey in communities in several provinces in Canada; two (Wood Buffalo and Waterloo Region) have now completed second surveys to start building trends over time. He is highly respected both internationally and nationally for his work on national, provincial, regional, and community wellbeing indicators. In 2018, he was honoured by Scotland’s First Minister, who invited him to give the keynote address at an international conference to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Scotland’s National Performance Framework. In 2013 he gave the keynote address at the ‘Wellbeing in Ireland’ Conference. Within Canada, he has played an influential role as a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Social Conditions and the Steering Committee of Research Data Canada and three regional governments in Canada are now using the CIW Community Wellbeing Survey to track changes in social and community sustainability, or for strategic planning. Most recently, Unicef Canada has engaged the CIW to develop a child and youth wellbeing survey. It is currently being tested in Bryan’s local community in Waterloo Region and will someday be available for use by any community across Canada.

We would like to congratulate Bryan and thank him for his years of service and dedication to the field of community indicators

2020 CIC Impact Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony was held during the 2020 Virtual Impact Summit on August 7, 2020 and features acceptance speeches from the four winners, offering inspiring thoughts as to what made them impactful.