Community indicators are key to helping a community understand its aspirations, disparities, and trends, and coalesce around a shared vision and roadmap for change. When the community is engaged in identifying and tracking measures that matter to them, indicators insure that the community and its stakeholders come together to reach consensus about shared values and create a large base of individuals, organizations, and institutions committed to a common agenda.
This shared agenda is necessary to inform and sustain measurable improvements in community conditions. It is often said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Clearly established metrics allow a community to quantify progress and adjust the process to produce the desired outcome. It also allows for approaches that look beyond a simple solution in a familiar field for problems that are often complex and multidisciplinary. It is a tool for community participation and empowerment and allows for more effective approaches to addressing problems.
Many community-based organizations do not have the resources, exposure, or wherewithal, to work collaboratively with the community they serve to understand the breadth of the problem they are trying to solve. Quite often, they are driven by a passion for their mission, but operate on a small budget and limited staffing. Funders or sponsors who are also passionate about the cause or mission prefer to support work on the ground rather than planning and tracking activities. Even when they clearly understand the need for building their work on a solid data basis, CBOs are often faced with reinventing the wheel and spend too much time on the technical aspect of developing the indicators because comprehensive and accessible training on how to go through the different steps to engage the community and to track and report on progress is not easily accessible. The time spent on this is time not spent on provide actual, evidence based services and initiatives.
CIC will develop a training that will allow organizations to move quickly and efficiently from the wishing stage to the implementation of a sustainable community indicators project, without missing crucial steps of community engagement and participation and collaboration, and with access to effective technology that will support the link to the community and their efforts to go from data to action.
Work will start on July 1 and will continue through 2017. The training will be available in mid-2018.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.
For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.