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With funding from BP Alaska, the Juneau Assembly, and the Rasmuson Foundation, United Way of Southeast Alaska partnered with the McDowell Group to identify important and timely issues in the community that reflect broad public priorities and to engage interested individuals, health and social services organizations, and legislative decision makers to addresses these issues. Specifically, these indicators address United Way of Southeast Alaska’s three areas of focus: education, health, and income stability.
What are community indicators?
Community indicators are a tool for informing and mobilizing citizens and policy makers to improve the quality of life for everyone. The Sustainable Seattle organization, which has long been active in the use of community indicators in Washington State, defines them as “bits of information that highlight what is happening in a large system.”
Indicators do not tell us everything we need to know to understand whole communities or issues, and they are not a substitute for the range of data needed to develop and evaluate effective social strategies and programs. Rather, indicators spotlight key information that everyone who is concerned about the community should be aware of. Indicators are akin to the gauges on a piece of machinery or the headline of a news story. Indicators are not an exhaustive statistical profile, but rather a way of headlining progress or lack thereof on key issues for on key issues for policy makers and the public.
Why focus on health, education, and income stability?
Health, education, and income stability are the building blocks for a good life. Quality education is crucial for obtaining and keeping a job with a livable income. An income substantial enough to pay for life's necessities and save for the future provides individuals and families with financial security and peace of mind. Access to healthcare also provides stability; children can focus on their education while adults can remain productive at work. These building blocks are interconnected; remove any one of them and the others topple.
Read the most recent community indicators final report (PDF). View trend reports specific to education, income, and health.