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The Community Indicators Consortium (CIC)’s mission is to advance and support the development, availability, and effective use of community indicators for making measurable and sustainable improvements in quality of community life. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s mission is to support children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. This course is the result of a collaboration between these two organizations, and stems from their overlapping missions. With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CIC set out to provide a comprehensive resource, based on literature search, interviews, and personal experience, on how to start, implement, and sustain a community indicators project that will help create those favorable conditions for a community, and its families and children, to thrive. CIC’s focus throughout this course is on a meaningful participatory co-creation process that leads to scientifically and logically sound measures that reflect a community’s priorities and amplify its voices and therefore can be used to move the needle on community conditions.

This  course goes beyond just talking about data. Data matter, but they are just one element of the comprehensive approach needed if indicators are to be used to improve community conditions.

More than ever, in these times of distrust of science and of institutions, we need to convene, unite, and ultimately ignite an interest in knowledge and a desire for change. We need practitioners who understand all the facets of this endeavor and can effectively sustain the effort. We hope that with this course, more and more communities will equip themselves with information and be empowered to drive change and lead their communities toward a positive future.


Course Content

Chapters Status

Taking the course


1 - Introduction to Community Indicators


2 - Community Indicators Project Development


3 - Criteria for Indicator Selection


4 - Indicator Design and Selection


5 - Data Acquisition and Sourcing


6 - Data Literacy


7 - Reporting


8 - Data to action


9 - Partnership and Collaboration


10 - Communications


11 - Community Engagement


12 - Practical Strategies for Community Engagement