Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Update from Yampa Valley

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with Audrey Danner of Yampa Valley Partners on a Civic Indicators project for the National Civic League, and I think she's one of those really good people that you get to meet every now and then if you're both really good and pretty lucky.

That being said by way of introduction, I was a little disappointed in the Routt County Commission's decision not to remain as a financial partner in the work of Yampa Valley Partners. However, the discussion about the funding decisions and the desirability of government buy-in to local community indicators work is spot on, and I thought I'd draw your attention to this news article describing the situation.

We all face funding issues from time to time, especially as local governments struggle with multiple priorities and considerable needs. (Ironically, it's often our community indicators work that points out where those needs are and how significant they are to the community, which makes it bittersweet when those needs are prioritized ahead of the research/planning functions we provide -- if only we were less competent at placing these issues on the community agenda!)

But this response by Audrey Danner is right on message:

Audrey Danner, Yampa Valley Partners executive director, said her board plans to continue its services despite its funding setback. The most discouraging issue, she added, is losing Routt County as a partner, not its money.

“Our local government funding is very important, and it’s discouraging we will not have Routt County funding us next year,” Danner said. “It is not only about funding, though. It is about partners coming together for their communities … and being effective as a regional group when we make decisions.”

If you're in the Yampa Valley region in Colorado, please consider supporting Yampa Valley partners. (Audrey doesn't know I'm saying this.) Even if you're not, pay attention to what they're doing -- they're a shining light showing how a rural area can come together around shared issues for the community good.


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