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What does the 2012 Community Assessment effort provide?

The report was released on October 10th and made widely available to community stakeholders throughout Santa Clara County. Many people and groups use the findings in their advocacy and community-building work, since the report provided a view on the quality of life of the people who live and work in Santa Clara County:

  • Demographic changes, trends, and forecasts
  • Economic environment and prosperity
  • Similarities and differences in living conditions in Santa Clara County
  • Strengths and challenges of living here

  • Assessment project partners were asked to not only participate in designing and developing the effort – but also to use the results to create more alignment of our community’s efforts. The Assessment effort was guided by several committees to design, develop, analyze and interpret both primary input and secondary data information, and to make recommendations for community action that results in greater collective impact.

    Where do the sources of input come from?

    Assessing the community, creating a community profile and a forecast of the near future will combine input from four perspectives:

    • Public Opinion Surveys - 1,200+ phone respondents and 3,000+ on-line respondents from the general public and targeted constituencies.
    • Secondary Data Sources - reviews of more than 50 reports about our community were examined. These ranged from varied sources such as SCC Public Health Department, Hispanic Foundation, Kids in Common, Joint Venture Silicon Valley and many others.
    • 75+ "Kitchen Table" Community Conversations - Listening to community members in small groups throughout the county.
    • 2010 U.S. Census Data - Data from the local level. This input is extremely limited due to the delayed release of micro-level info from the Federal Government.

    The Assessment team is likely to issue an update in 2014 once more data is released.

    How could my constituents/stakeholders have participated and provided input to the Assessment?

    A component of the public opinion segment complemented the 1,200 random-digit dial phone call survey. The surveying included on-line versions that were available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Community representatives and local leaders assisted with outreach to their clientele and constituents so that local residents could participate. Additionally, during the summer months, targeted “kitchen table” conversations were held to solicit reaction to the preliminary findings from the survey input. Again, many local community leaders assisted in ensuring that their constituents were heard from in this phase. Contact the Project staff for more info in to how this worked.

    How will United Way Silicon Valley and others use the findings?

    All the Project partner organizations are examining ways to incorporate the findings and recommendations into their work over the next several years.

    Separate from their support of the actual Assessment Project itself, UWSV staff and volunteers committed to use and did use the findings as a key foundational component to guide the update of UWSV Impact priorities into 2020. The UWSV Board of Directors found that the community assessment outcomes surfaced perspective on how UWSV addresses our Impact priorities through all five of the UWSV strategies: grants, programs, volunteerism, advocacy and collaborations. The UWSV Board was advised by its Community Building & Impact Committee for recommendations. In addition, UWSV looks to this info to help guide a refinement of its business model.

    Santa Clara County government is another key project partner. Under the auspices of the Planning Department, they initiated an incremental update of the General Plan by creating a new chapter, or “element,” devoted to promoting community health and wellness. The online survey was conducted jointly with the Assessment Project as a means to gather public input. The Health Element provides an opportunity to address the many diverse aspects and policy issues related to public health and planning in Santa Clara County. In doing so, the Health Element resulted in a comprehensive, consolidated, and well-integrated set of goals, strategies, and policies for improving public health. The process examined the various factors affecting the social and physical well-being of County residents and employees, including physical activity, nutrition, bicycle and pedestrian safety, air quality, healthy housing, preventive medical care, homelessness, crime, and others. It also evaluates the effects of pollution, climate change, and related phenomena on communities, as well as equity and social justice.

    Did people from the public and non-profit sectors serve on the Assessment Committees?

    Yes, and in various capacities. Mindy Berkowitz (Jewish Family Services), Michele Lew (AACI), Todd Hansen (The Health Trust), Anne Ehresman (Project Cornerstone), Buu Thai (SCC Office of Women’s Policy) Linda Pippin (Catholic Charities), Sharon Keating-Beauregard (Stanford Hospital), Jeff Ruster (SJ Economic Development), Cora Tomalinas (First 5 Commission), Dana Bunnett (Kids in Common), Don Bolce (SCC Office of Education) are among the many people with a community/public service perspective serving on committees. Liz Sills(Kaiser Permanente) and Vanessa Cooper (Housing Authority of Santa Clara County) are serving as Steering Committee co-chairs.