On behalf of the Cedar Valley United Way Board of Directors and the Community Assessment Committee, I present our 2013 Community Assessment (see links below). Special thanks to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa for their financial contribution in this endeavor.
Strategic Marketing Services (SMS) gathered the information in this needs assessment, which will be used to determine the investments made in the next five years. Data gathered in our 2008 assessment showed a community that was struggling and in need of investments in the areas of educational attainment and readiness, income supports, healthy options and protection from violence. Since that time Cedar Valley United Way has created financial partnerships, developed leadership relationships and provided volunteer resources.
This year, SMS tested the 2008 data and conducted interviews and focus groups with people from across the community. The very good news is the investments United Way made are seeing positive results and improvements in the above areas.
Reading the assessment you will see these key conclusions for the Cedar Valley:
- Come together as a community
- Accept that poverty is a local issue
- Realize the current ways of dealing with poverty often perpetuate it
- Involve those living in poverty to find solutions
- Understand the difference between public relations, media hype and reality
- Be honest with ourselves
- Wholeheartedly embrace and support education for all ages
- Businesses accept more responsibility for training to meet their needs
- Redefine what a good paying job is
The CVUW Board of Directors will continue to expend resources in the areas of education, income and health. In addition, we will now begin funding a community assessment response to address root causes. We seek to solve community issues rather than provide a band aid. These funded requests will likely involve several community partners and, like all funded programs, must be able to document a desired outcome and measurement.
Our goals are to shorten the lines of people and families needing assistance, to allow them to enjoy a proud and prosperous life.
Sheila M. Baird
Cedar Valley United Way President