Communities across Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world are taking a closer look at local health and well-being through their participation in Vital Signs – a global program designed to measure community vitality.
Thirty-four communities in Canada, 17 in the United Kingdom and others in Ireland, Brazil, United States, Bermuda, Australia and New Zealand, are all involved in this year’s Vital Signs program by gathering data, hosting conversations and publishing reports on significant social and economic trends to tell the story of how their communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas.
The community reports, many of which are being released as part of Vital Signs week from October 2-8, are used by communities around the globe to inspire civic engagement and provide focus for public dialogue.
“The power of Vital Signs is the know-how it gives us to create change in our communities,” says Cindy Lindsay, Director of Member Services with Community Foundations of Canada and international lead for its Vital Signs program. “In the age of data-driven decision making, more and more communities globally are using Vital Signs year-round to deepen their understanding of quality of life in their community and identify opportunities deeper engagement, grantmaking and collective action.”
Since it was first started by Toronto Foundation in 2001, the Vital Signs program has taken off globally with a total of more than 85 communities in nine countries around the world participating in Vital Signs over the years by producing a report or acting on the findings of previous reports.
Vital Signs is growing in popularity in the UK with a record number of communities participating this year. The program is helping to identify areas of growing concern affecting both Canada and the UK, such as child poverty, job creation and income inequality.
Because of their wide reach and understanding of local priorities, community foundations are well positioned to create opportunities for donor and philanthropic engagement. “Philanthropy can play a major role in addressing many of our current challenges,” says Fabian French, Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations. “As community foundations, we make an enormous difference in local areas. But crucially, as our UK Vital Signs reports show, the need is growing – and so must we.”
Community foundations in Canada and the UK are part of a global network that includes more than 1,800 community foundations in over 50 countries internationally.
Director of Communications
Community Foundations of Canada
Email: dvenn at communityfoundations.ca
Head of External Affairs
UK Community Foundations
Email: kramchandani at ukcommunityfoundations.org
SOURCE: Community Foundations of Canada
Photo Credit: Bart Gamber, author of Milton Keynes Vital Signs