With data in hand from the recently completed Community Wellbeing Survey, the most comprehensive study of quality of life ever conducted in Connecticut, regional leaders and project sponsors gathered at Community Foundation of Greater New Britain headquarters this week to begin the critical collaborative process of data utilization and dissemination.
"The data gathering may be over, but this is just the beginning for this project," said Community Foundation President Jim Williamson. "Our role as one of the leaders of this initiative is to encourage information sharing and collaboration among major organizations. That process has now begun, and we will all be learning from each other regarding how best to use this important information and share it with others for the benefit of those we serve."
More than 50 of Connecticut's leading foundations, hospitals, community institutions and government agencies sponsored the landmark survey, with more than 16,000 state residents taking part, including nearly 1,000 from Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. New Haven-based research firm DataHaven conducted random telephone surveys between April and October, 2015.
Taking part in this week's planning meeting at the Community Foundation were, among others, representatives from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Capital Region Council of Governments, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Connecticut Health Foundation and the City of Hartford. The survey included a variety of questions touching on categories including community vitality, health, family economic security and individual happiness. Other topics included civic engagement, transportation, employment and satisfaction with government and community life. Respondents were asked questions such as: Are you satisfied with the city or area where you live? When is the last time you were seen by a dentist? How would you describe your ability to influence local government decision making? What is your primary means of transportation? In all, the survey include 84 questions.
The information, according to Williamson, will prove vital not only for the Foundation's own grantmaking, but for community leaders, including municipal officials, school boards and more, as they plan for the future.
"All of this is designed for the Community Foundation to further its role as a knowledge leader," said Williamson. "We are a place where the community can come, whether it is an individual, a corporation
or a public entity such as a school board or town council, and know that they will get accurate, reliable and important insight and information that they can then use in their own planning for the future.
"There really is no place to get that right now. This DataHaven survey is the beginning of establishing that kind of invaluable community resource."