Laying the Foundation for Community Impact

Griffin Hospital and VCF looks back over the last year at the impact of the 2016 Valley Community Index.

It's been nearly one year since the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) and its community partner Griffin Hospital launched the 2016 Valley Community Index.

Filled with comprehensive data about the needs and opportunities in the region, the Index has done anything but gather dust on shelves in the Valley.

"We've seen Index data references in grants to VCF across the board all year long," says VCF Program Officer Valerie Knight-Di Gangi. "Nonprofits tackling such complex issues as food insecurity and the dangers of lead exposure in young children have used the data to strengthen their requests for funding support."

Index use has gone well beyond inclusion in grant applications. In June,representatives from VCF, the Valley United Way, and TEAM, Inc. attended a collective impact forum in Boston to gain additional knowledge about how datadriven collaboration efforts can have the most impact.

"It was really eye opening for me to see groups from both the private and public sector coming together to tackle issues similar to what we are facing in the Valley," says Lynne Bassett Perry, VCF's Vice Chair who attended the forum.

"The contacts we have made and the tools we have gathered will help us use the Index data to concentrate on areas where we can collectively make a difference."

Another example of the Index in action is how it is being used throughout the community. The Valley Council for Health and Human Services (VCHHS), a group of more than 50 Valley nonprofit agencies, has been incorporating information from the Index into their strategic planning process.

"The Index has provided us with comprehensive data to use as benchmarks for our work going forward," says VCHHS Chair Patricia Tarasovic. "Over the years, VCHHS has developed and supported numerous initiatives through successful collaborations among its member agencies and community partners in the areas of early childhood, elderly, environment, health and food insecurity. We are using the information in the Index to identify areas we can focus on next in order to have the greatest

impact on the community."

Griffin Hospital is working with the Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD) and VCF to host a community conversation this fall about ways to improve community health in the Valley.

"This Index has served as an aerial view from which we can zoom in on the challenges we face, the issues we hope to address, and the many opportunities we have to leverage our resources in the future to effect change," says Patrick Charmel, President and CEO of Griffin Hospital. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with NVHD, VCF, and our community to help us continue to make the Valley the healthiest it can possibly


The VCF Board has recognized the importance of building an informed community and investing in the Community Index initiative from the very beginning.

"We are thrilled with the applications of the Index thus far," says VCF President and CEO Sharon Closius. "VCF truly understands the value of having accessible, high-quality data, and we look forward to exploring additional ways for the Index to be utilized in months and years ahead."