Cedar Valley Data News Archives

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Just over three years ago, a small team of volunteers began to think about better ways to capture and use data for Cedar Valley United Way's decision-making processes. Whether we're investigating community needs, setting education, health and income goals, or measuring the impact of United Way's efforts, we work more efficiently with complete, accurate and reliable data.

The Data Team quickly discovered that other organizations face similar challenges. Like every other community, the Cedar Valley is overwhelmed with information overload. Every organization feels to busy collecting and reporting data, but the huge databases that result don't seem to answer the questions we all have. The Data Team also looked at communities that use data well. Sharing data and data resources seems to be a community's first big step. We can all save ourselves duplicated effort, and our organizations' multiple perspectives create a bigger "community brain" that allows the entire community to do a better job of analyzing, understanding, and using the massive amounts of data we collect. 

The Data Team began this quarterly newsletter to keep our community informed about data sources, data trends, and data analysis resources so that we can all make better decisions. The CVUW team is not a provider of data, but we recognize that collectively, we can all use it more effectively. We hope this newsletter can become a platform to share sources, insights, resources, and mysteries. Together, we can become better users of data to create the best community we can.

 

 

Data Team Quarterly Update

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Cedar Valley Data News

-- February, 2020--

Data News is Here!

Just over two years ago, a small team of volunteers began to think about better ways to capture and use data for the Cedar Valley United Way's decision-making processes.  Whether we're investigating community needs, setting education, health, and income goals, or measuring the impact of the United Way's efforts, we work more effectively with complete, accurate, and reliable data. 

 

The Data Team quickly discovered that other organizations face similar challenges. Like every other community, the Cedar Valley is overwhelmed with information overload. Every organization feels too busy collecting and reporting data, but the huge databases that result don't seem to answer the questions we all have.  The Data Team also looked at communities that use data well. Sharing data and data resources seems to be a community's first big step. We can all save ourselves duplicated effort, and our organizations' multiple perspectives create a bigger "community brain" that allows the entire community to do a better job of analyzing, understanding, and using the massive amounts of data we collect.  

 

The Data Team is beginning this quarterly newsletter to keep our community informed about data sources, data trends, and data analysis resources so that we can all make better decisions. The CVUW team is not a provider of data, but we recognize that collectively, we can all use it more effectively. We hope this newsletter can become a platform to share sources, insights, resources and mysteries.  Together, we can become better users of data to create the best community we can.

Day Care Affordability

Even in communities with an adequate supply of good-quality child care, care remains inaccessible if costs are beyond household budgets. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that childcare be considered affordable if family out-of-pocket costs are equivalent to 7 percent or less of total household income.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). (2016). Federal Register. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2016-09-30/pdf/2016-22986.pdf

 

Hispanic families are more likely to be low income with both parents working, making childcare a pressing concern. However, proportions of income spent on childcare are similar to low-income families in general, and immigrant status makes little difference. About 6 in 10 low-income Hispanic households with young children using childcare have no out-of-pocket expenses because they use arrangements that are either provided at no cost or are fully subsidized. This is similar to the shares of low-income white and black households with no out-of-pocket expenses.

Crosby, Mendez & Barnes, (Oct, 2019). Child Care Affordability is Out of Reach for Many Low-Income Hispanic Households, National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families

Data Team Report: 2020 First Quarter

In the past two years, we've partnered with UNI faculty, SuccessLink, and Cedar Valley health care providers on a variety of projects. We've learned quite a few things about resources, privacy, and user preferences, and we are presently focused on finding and sharing solid data regarding our own impact on Education, Income, and Health needs across the Cedar Valley. 

 

This past quarter, we've been 

  • working with key community health partners, Black Hawk County Public Health, Unity Point Health, MercyOne, and People's Health Clinic, on a comprehensive community health needs assessment. 
  • working with the Income CIT to develop metrics that best capture Cedar Valley United Way impact in the community.  Next steps involve locating reliable data sources.
  • preparing current Education data for review by the Education CIT.
  • experimenting with various platforms for communicating data and data resources; this Data News quarterly email is the result.  We hope you find it useful!

If you'd like to know more about previous projects, current efforts, or how to join our data effort, let us know!

Ask a question or share your data with the CVUW Data Team at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com
 

To subscribe to the CVUW Data Team Newsletter, send a request to CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

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Give Where You Live.

We win by living United. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. We are more than fundraisers. We are hand-raisers. The game-changers. To tackle the biggest issues in the Cedar Valley, we must Live United.

Data Team Quarterly Update

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Cedar Valley Data News

-June 2020- 

Community Health Needs Assessment

Over the past year, Cedar Valley health care stakeholders collaborated on a community needs assessment. Three health care providers, UnityPoint, MercyOne, and the People's Clinic, along with the Black Hawk Public Health Department and the Cedar Valley United Way, collected data on a range of community health topics, from medical access to social support to environmental hazards--and a great deal in between. 

An online survey asked more than 1500 community members about their concerns, health barriers, and community priorities, and follow up interviews focused on the concerns of specific community groups. Each organization will use the results to guide strategy and programming decisions over the next three years, and the partners continue to collaborate on the next steps of analyzing the data, identifying data we need, and using data to meet our common goal of a healthy community. 

What the Data Shows
The Community Health Needs Assessment used a combination of community surveys and public health data to develop a complicated picture of concerns, trends, and opportunities for a healthier community. 

Although priorities varied, all community groups agreed on three top health concerns: obesity, mental illness, and diabetes.  All three issues had been named in the top ten during the last needs assessment, conducted in 2016, and they remain problems to solve.

  • Public health data demonstrates that obesity rates in the community remain higher than national and state averages, but there is some evidence that both adult and youth obesity rates have stopped increasing over the past few years. 
  • Iowa faces a statewide shortage of mental health resources, ranking 47th in the nation. The community named the biggest barrier as stigma, however, with expense and "other" in the top three.
  • Diabetes rates continue to increase on the national and state levels, and Black Hawk County has not escaped the trend. Men die from the disease more often than women and African Americans and Native Americans more often than whites.

Analysis and strategic goals for each of the assessment participants can be found at their websites: UnityPoint Health, MercyOne, Black Hawk Public Health Department, People's Clinic and the Cedar Falls United Way.

Covid-19 Data Impacts
As we navigate the expected and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on our personal and professional lives, the impact of data on nonprofit decision-making is one factor to consider. A recent survey conducted by the University of Northern Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority showed that 81.1% of Iowa's nonprofit organizations felt Covid-19's impact on business operations: 78.8% reported decreased revenue, 50.9% reported an impact on customer demand of product or services, 45.6% reported impacts to employee availability, and 24.1% of organizations had temporarily closed.

Beyond that, however, 20.4% of the Iowa's non-profits expressed concern about the lack of information for decision-making. Timely, accurate data are critical for strategic decision making, but ongoing efforts to track trends and measure impacts depend on economic data, school data and health data. With data collection and reporting systems disrupted, analytical resources spread thin, and service needs changing in unpredictable ways, it will be some time before non-profits can fully understand the impacts of the Covid-19 disruption or how to most effectively respond.

Data Team Report: 2020 Second Quarter

The data team was fortunate to have two Data Analytics interns and a Social Work intern working with us this year, which allowed us to answer a variety of questions posed by the United Way investment teams.  Current projects involve

  • participation in a community-wide effort to use the Community Health Needs Analysis results to identify and prioritize critical health investments for all community groups
  • contributing to the development of a community-wide health data hub to better coordinate and streamline data collection and analysis by all organizations
  • building a collaborative effort to identify community needs in the area of Financial Stability

Ask a question, share your data, or get involved by emailing us at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

To subscribe to the CVUW Data Team Newsletter, send a request to CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

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Give Where You Live.

We win by living United. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. We are more than fundraisers. We are hand-raisers. The game-changers. To tackle the biggest issues in the Cedar Valley, we must Live United.

Data Team Quarterly Update

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Cedar Valley Data News

-September, 2020- 

Making Sense of the Data

Across the Cedar Valley, schools, youth programs, and researchers collect educational data all year, every year. Public, private, and non-profit health organizations continuously record health outcomes and monitor health-related behaviors. Federal and state governments collect and report economic data every month. Vast amounts of data pile up automatically, but humans still need to ask questions if they are to ever make sense of it all.

Can we celebrate success now that young people have dramatically cut down their cigarette smoking? Why hasn't our obesity rate dropped in line with Iowa's state average?  Does federally guaranteed insurance coverage mean we no longer need to worry about access to medical care?  With this year's focus on community health needs, these are the kinds of questions now in front of the Cedar Valley United Way's Community Investment Team.  Not easy questions, and no easy answers! 

The next set of hard questions involves Income and Financial Stability across the Cedar Valley. If you'd like to be involved in that conversation, let us know!

Global Framework Data Released
The community can now examine 2019 data on Cedar Valley outcomes within a Global Framework of collaborative, worldwide United Way efforts. Common data goals allow the Cedar Valley United Way to leverage local community work within partnerships that multiply our impact across states, countries, and entire regions of the world.  Reports tabulate CVUW efforts to 

  • mobilize financial and human resources to achieve the Cedar Valley community’s goals,
  • provide specific programs to support individuals and families across the Cedar Valley, 
  • engage in systemic efforts to improve community conditions,
  • change lives across the Cedar Valley with targeted goals in Childhood Success, Youth Success, Economic Mobility, and Access to Health.

Find the full report at the Cedar Valley United Way website.
 

Joining the Data Team

There are plenty of data, plenty of hard questions, and plenty of problems still to solve.  If you've got an interest in using all that data to solve hard problems, join the team!
 

The CVUW Data Team volunteers believe in data-driven decision-making, but no special data skills are required. Everyone brings different resources to the table. Some do have expertise in data analysis, data collection, or data dissemination. Others know people in organizations that have that expertise. The key is a willingness to think hard about what data is telling us and some time to translate those insights for community decision makers.

The team meets quarterly for a couple of hours. Between meetings, members take on tasks that suit their interests and availability. Some jobs, such as networking and identifying community resources might take very little time and no technical skill at all.  Any data geek will admit that research or analysis projects can take up as much time as they are allowed, and we do have a few meaty projects (and data sets!) to play with. Various reporting and communication roles might take just a few hours per quarter.

We welcome as much time commitment as a member is able to make!  If you're interested in joining us, email CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com for more information.

 

Community Data Resources
The UNIBusiness major in Management Information Systems allows students to emphasize Data Analytics as their focus of study. Senior students work on client projects to analyze data, identify patterns and in some cases develop predictive models and/or recommendations. Some projects might involve developing dashboards or models for routine decision tasks. Contact Dan.Power@uni.edu to discuss a potential project for this spring!

Share the resources!!  The CVUW Data Team can help you identify resources to answer your question or introduce you to organizations that need your expertise.  Let us know!

Data Team Report: 2020 Fourth Quarter

This quarter, the Data Team's main focus has been an analysis of the Community Health Needs Assessment that was conducted  last year in partnership with UnityPoint, MercyOne, People's Clinic, and the Black Hawk County Public Health Department. We were also happy to welcome a new Data Analytics intern, Taylor Baltes, whose work on the upcoming Income Data Analysis is being supported by the UNIBusiness Scholarship for Social Engagement.

Current CVUW Data Team projects involve

  • an analysis of economic impact events in the Cedar Valley across the past twenty years. How much impact have local events had on the economic trends?
  • a review of community health goals and outcome measures in response to the recent Community Health Needs Assessment.

Ask a question or share your data with the CVUW Data Team at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

To subscribe to the CVUW Data Team Newsletter, send a request to CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

Fb Tw Ig Yt

Give Where You Live.

We win by living United. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. We are more than fundraisers. We are hand-raisers. The game-changers. To tackle the biggest issues in the Cedar Valley, we must Live United.

Data Team Quarterly Update

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Cedar Valley Data News

-January 2021- 

Emerging Issues Uncovered by Community Health Needs Assessment

Covid-19 has brought national attention to equity issues across the American healthcare system, and once the crisis is over we'll take a hard look at what we've learned about the Cedar Valley.  In the meantime, the Community Health Needs Assessment had already uncovered a couple of emerging issues that we can start to address now.

Equity in Health Concerns and Outcomes
Although there was agreement across all segments of the community that our three biggest health concerns involve obesity, diabetes, and mental health, priorities varied across different groups. Lower income families were far more concerned about obesity than higher income families. White respondents most often named obesity as a concern, while cancer and high blood pressure were more often named by non-white respondents. Those with higher education levels expressed more concerns about obesity and mental health than respondents with lower levels of education, who were more likely to mention cancer.

Similarly, the outcomes data showed differences across ethnic groups. Black Hawk County's overall obesity rates seem to have leveled off -- despite a continued rise across the state -- but the youth data suggests rates are decreasing in the white population but not for Black, Latino, or other non-white groups. Likewise, we can be pleased with our continuing successes to reduce the numbers of low-birth weight babies, but the babies born to white mothers in Black Hawk County are still far more likely born at a healthy weight than those born to mothers of color.

Environmental Factors in Community Health

Our Black and Hispanic communities ranked affordable housing as a major contributor to good health, while white respondents were far more likely to name nutritious foods. We need to collect more data about these concerns within the Cedar Valley, but national research reported by the Robert Woods Foundation has shown that a variety of health conditions including asthma, cognitive disabilities, cardiovascular disease, and infectious diseases can be attributed to substandard housing.

Ensuring that people have access to good health care remains an important part of maintaining a healthy Cedar Valley, but we know that efforts to prevent poor health outcomes can be just as important. It could be that safe and healthy housing needs to join nutritious food availability, cancer screenings, and prenatal care on the list of important community health programs.

Leveraging Small Changes

Last year's collaboration to gather health data gave us a more complete picture of the community's needs, but the next steps promise even more exciting results. The team stayed together throughout the data analysis efforts, sharing results and discussing ways the partners might collaborate on shared goals. As action plans take shape, the group has decided to remain connected as a Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) team. The MAPP framework, developed by a national association of public health professionals, is an interactive strategic planning process that helps communities improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and performance of their public health systems.

Black Hawk County's Public Health Director, Dr.Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, described the MAPP team as "looking for places where small changes bring large impact."  She points out that "any system is perfectly designed to reproduce itself," and health problems can be hard to solve when they are somehow encouraged by the community's system --- that complex relationship of values, knowledge, and interactions that we call a community's culture, norms, and habits. Good data helps to locate the critical points where a tiny change can influence the entire system.

Data Left Behind
What happens when data isn't newsworthy?  Last year, we learned that the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiative teamed up with Vision To Learn and nearly 800 students in Highland, Irving, Lincoln, Lowell and Cunningham elementary schools received free vision screenings.  A total of 331 parents approved their children for this study, and of those, 249 received free glasses. At the end of the study, a statistical analysis of students' FAST scores before and after receiving glasses showed that having received glasses improved students' chances of improved scores.                                                                                                           (Brad McCalla, SuccessLink)

This is obviously good news, but data that supports an intuitive assumption doesn't get a lot of attention. This little fact sat in the files until the year-end closet-cleaning. Yes, it's always nice to see data backup up our assumptions, but not exactly newsworthy. Or is it? Okay, it's probably not exciting enough for KWWL to run a feature story, but that doesn't mean this bit of data is not vitally important. Any school or educational non-profit seeking funds for a similar program desperately needs data like this to prove that funding can make a difference. Without a way to share results, we are starting over from scratch with every good idea. A community effort to share data means we all get more done with our limited resources.

Share your data!  If you're not already involved in a data sharing partnership, email us at CVUWDatatTeam@gmail.com to find out how to join the community effort.

Join the Data Sharing Community!
You are receiving this newsletter because you are involved with an organization that has data, that uses data, and that needs good data to do good things for the Cedar Valley.  That means you can help the Cedar Valley by joining the effort to build an effective data network.  A sophisticated community data hub or dashboard takes time and effort, but there are three things you can do right now:

  • Get your own organization connected. If you're involved in healthcare, your organization probably has already gotten involved with the MAPP project. Mental health providers are pulling together as the Cedar Valley Mental Health Planning Coalition. Education and youth services share data through SuccessLink. Organizations using economic data have no formal data team, working instead across a number of interrelated partnerships.
  • Share your knowledge. Our own data might seem limited, but when we all share the little bits we know, the larger patterns start to appear and everyone benefits from increased knowledge. Collective efforts to gather and analyze data also reduce costs and increase accuracy.
  • Share this newsletter! Sophisticated community data use starts with learning from each other. We all become better data users by learning what data others are using and how they interpret it. Staying aware of others' concerns creates the ability to understand -- and ultimately solve -- problems at a community level. Pass this newsletter along to a colleague!

Data Resources

If you're looking for statistics on any aspect of Cedar Valley health outcomes, click on these reports as a great place to start. 

Share the resources!! The CVUW Data Team can help you identify resources to answer your question or introduce you to organizations that need your expertise.

Data Needs
Each semester, the United Way Data Team recruits up to three interns from UNI. Their majors range from social work to computer science to economics, but all have an interest in using data to make a difference. We could use data professionals to supervise projects, guiding these students as they apply their data analytics skills for community improvement.

Locating those missing and ignored but vitally important sources of community data continues to be a Data Team objective. The next steps involve building and maintaining the community's data sharing tools. We could use a variety of IT and communication professionals for this complex project.

Email us at CVUWDatatTeam@gmail.com if you'd like to contribute your expertise.

CVUW Data Team Report: 2021 First Quarter

Health The community's health care partnership has already begun work on the next Community Needs Assessment and the Data Team will be involved all year in assessing and enhancing the data gathering process. Education Work has already begun on the 2021 Education Data Analysis, and we're happy to have Cristian Guardado, a UNI senior double majoring in Economics and Financial Management, as our intern. Our thanks to the College of Business Administration for supporting Cristian with a Scholarship for Social Engagement. Income In our second year of data gathering, the Data Team continues a number of projects to quantify drivers of and barriers to financial stability in the Cedar Valley.
 

If you're interested in joining the effort, email CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com for more information on ways you can get involved.

Ask a question or share your data with the CVUW Data Team at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

To subscribe to the CVUW Data Team Newsletter, send a request to CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

Fb Tw Ig Yt

Give Where You Live.

We win by living United. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. We are more than fundraisers. We are hand-raisers. The game-changers. To tackle the biggest issues in the Cedar Valley, we must Live United.

Data Team Quarterly Update

View in browser

Cedar Valley Data News

-April 2021- 

COVID-19 Financial Impact Study

The United Ways of Iowa partnered with UNI's economic research collaboration, ResearchiQ, to conduct a comprehensive survey of financial impacts of Covid-19 across the State. The impact has been uneven, with households earning less than $50,000 suffering the most. The numbers of families dealing with financial instability doubled, and childcare issues, in particular, reduced Iowa's employment levels. 

Black Hawk County's ALICE families, who work for less than what it takes to live in the region, were slightly less likely (63.6%) than state average (69.3%) to hold a full-time job prior to Covid, but suffered a slightly lower reduction (10.9% versus 12.9%) in employment under pandemic conditions. Unemployment and Federal stimulus checks matched or exceeded pre-Covid income for 69.3% of Black Hawk County's ALICE residents and 66.3% statewide. 

The Cedar Valley's ALICE families expressed more concern over personal and public health than economic impacts, ranking a resurgence of virus activity and closures first (56.4%), followed by oneself or a loved one contracting COVID-19 (36.4%).  Tied for #3 (27.3%) were uncertainty about the upcoming school year and paying bills. Financially stable households similarly ranked a resurgence at #1 (65.5%) and contracting Covid at #2 (58.6%), but worried more about the community's economic health (48.3%) than about personal finances (10.3%). The largest discrepancies between the two groups involved paying rent/mortgage (20.0% versus 3.4%), paying bills (27.3 versus 6.9%) and getting food or other necessities (16.4% versus 3.4%).

Overall, Black Hawk County respondents reporting an inability to cover their monthly expenses increased by 13% with the pandemic, with nearly 40% of households impacted. About 5% of Black Hawk County respondents were unable to work due to child care issues, and 14% reported working reduced hours for the same reason..
 

For more information about this Covid-19 impact study, visit the full story at the United Way Website or the Black Hawk County data HERE .

New Data Resources: Get Networking!!
Groups involved in community health and financial stability are identifying data users, data sources, and data needs across the Cedar Valley community.  Please help get this project off the ground by completing this short survey

This is not the end of the project! We all recognize that data is important for grant writing, program evaluation, and ongoing identification of changing community needs. We also know we're all spending a lot of time and energy to collect or locate data....and that despite our best efforts there are a lot of questions we're still unable to answer.  This survey is just a first step toward a community-wide effort to find solutions to our common problems. 
 

Please complete the survey here. Please pass this link along to any colleagues or agency partners who use data!  If you'd like to learn the results or get involved in the Cedar Valley's data collaborations, email us at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com.
 

Data Help Wanted: Support a Data Team Intern

by Josie Kriener, Spring 2021 Data Analytics Intern

An internship with the CVUW Data Team means gaining experience in data collection technology and "real life" data analysis, along with making a community impact that extends beyond the UNI campus. Many students face a difficult choice between contributing to the community and providing for themselves financially.

Your financial support can change that. Sponsoring a Data Analytics internship for a local non-profit organization can bring critically needed expertise to any program, agency, or cause that you wish to support.

Currently, the UNI College of Business offers a scholarship for business majors working for regional non-profit organizations. This has allowed an application of technical talent that has turned into real payoffs for the Cedar Valley United Way Data Team. However, the value of a data analytics internship extends far beyond careers in business---and so does student interest!

Students majoring in computer science, public policy, and social work are just a few who could gain significant benefits from a community data analytics internship, both in terms of career readiness and as an encouragement for their future dedication to non-profit work. These days, data skills add relevant value to any career path!

With your help, data analytics interns can acquire non-profit experience without financial worry. Help local students support the data-driven decision-making that will benefit our community.

Support the future of data in the non-profit sector! For more information on how you can contribute to Data Team internships, email CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com.

Data Team Report: Second Quarter 2021

Along with the regular work of community data needs analyses, the CVUW Data Team is  working on two community-wide projects.

  • Impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have been well documented at the national and state level, but the team is looking at health, economic, and education data collected across the Cedar Valley to identify our community's unique needs and outcomes.
  • Along with our Health and Income partners, we're developing an inventory of the data collectors, data users, and data needs across the community.

If you'd like to get involved in either project, let us know at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com.

Ask a question or share your data with the CVUW Data Team at CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

To subscribe to the CVUW Data Team Newsletter, send a request to CVUWDataTeam@gmail.com

Fb Tw Ig Yt

Give Where You Live.

We win by living United. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. We are more than fundraisers. We are hand-raisers. The game-changers. To tackle the biggest issues in the Cedar Valley, we must Live United.

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Cedar Valley Data News

 

 

 

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