I attended an event at Island Savings Credit Union that really got my attention. It was the release of Nanaimo’s first ever “Vital Signs” report. Vital Signs is an annual community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada. It provides a comprehensive, reader-friendly look at how our communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas.
Nanaimo Foundation is one of only 28 such organizations in Canada, out of 190 that exist, to participate in Vital Signs. The Nanaimo Foundation recently announced their new partnership with the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) and the City of Nanaimo in producing this report. Sponsored by Island Savings and supported by Vancouver Island University, this community check-up will identify Nanaimo’s strengths and highlight areas in need of attention.
“This project—tested by community foundations across the country—is an important tool that allows us to engage with the community in order to increase our understanding of Nanaimoʼs issues and trends and what our key priorities should be going forward,” said Tim Mawdsley, Director of Vital Signs with the Nanaimo Foundation.
Information in the report was gathered from a variety of sources, including surveys, roundtables, and census data. The results were compiled and are now presented in a reader-friendly, easy-to-use format to help increase understanding of how the community is doing and where it is heading. It tracks economic and environmental trends, health, arts & culture, socio-economic gaps, learning, safety, transportation, housing, multiculturalism, and a number of other factors that all contribute to quality of life issues. It also ranks Nanaimo in all these areas.
Signy Madden, Executive Director of UWCNVI, said “Partnering on Vital Signs is such a win/win for our donors and the community as a whole. United Way already tracks issues and invests in 33 effective programs in the Central Island this year, but we have wanted to combine our findings with others producing local data. Better data means more informed ways to tackle pressing social issues and to help galvanize community investment.”
The Vital Signs publication is part of a national initiative that was launched in 2006 by the Community Foundations of Canada. This is the first time the Vital Signs research was conducted in Nanaimo, and the report plays a key role in the Nanaimo Foundationʼs strategic plan to increase its community development contributions.
Vital Signs information is available through www.nanaimofoundation.com.
Kim Smythe, President and CEO
Posted October 14, 2014