News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 7, 2014

Community Report Card data to help United Way

TERRE HAUTE — A new online data source may help service agencies develop programs for education, improve health and raise incomes in the Wabash Valley.

The Community Report Card has been developed by the Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for the Indiana Association of United Ways.

“It is meant to give a snapshot of our community and provide various data points that are available” in one site, said Troy Fears, executive director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

“It shows how we stack up over time,” Fears said. The data start at 2009 and compare with 2011 or 2012 or even 2013 for some information. The data can be viewed as a five-county area of the Wabash Valley, or individual county data for Vigo, Vermillion, Clay, Sullivan and Parke can be viewed.

The project has been in development since last summer to allow easy access to data for each United Way in Indiana. The data are also constantly updated, Fears said.

“It includes our areas of concern of education, income and health, our main impact areas for programs that we fund. We hope our agencies and even the general public can use this information that is readily accessible and updated,” Fears said.

The data have columns headed Are We Getting Better?; Is Indiana Getting Better?; Rank in Indiana?; and How Do We Compare?

For example, in Vigo County the four-year public high school graduation rate ranks 20th in Indiana and is a 4.3 percentage points higher than the state. Additional information shows Vigo County had a 92.2 percent graduation rate compared with an 88.4 percent statewide graduation rate in 2012.

There is also a “map” button that can display information over a geographic area, such as poverty or health-related data. “It can show areas of town for high levels of poverty or other information, such as areas with limited access to health foods,” Fears said.

“That is why we developed the mobile market and our Healthier by 2020 initiative to reduce obesity,” Fears said.

Fears said agencies that apply for state or federal grants often need such data, “and this would be an easy way for our agencies or the public to grab [these] data. Also when it comes time for the United Way to fund various programs, we can look at [these] data and determine if we need a program in an different area or continue a program,” Fears said.

To access the data, go to the United Way’s website at www.uwwv.org and click on “Community Report Card.”

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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