Vital Signs gauges community wellness


The Winnipeg Foundation is excited to be engaging in Winnipeg’s Vital Signs 2022.

Vital Signs® is a program of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) that gathers data and engages community to assess wellness and identify local priorities determined by local residents. Building on the success of Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2017, The Foundation has begun the process of checking-in on community vitality once again.

Work began in January 2022 to collect local data using the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, a data framework developed by the University of Waterloo. This framework, developed specifically for the Canadian context, was chosen after research identified it as a solid tool to look at community well-being, and is being leveraged by a community survey. Data collection and public opinion polling is being delivered by a partnership between Probe Research and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba Office.

The framework establishes a data baseline for the Vital Signs® initiative, but the voices of Winnipeggers are the heart of priority-setting for The Winnipeg Foundation. Connecting through conversation provides an opportunity to go beyond the data and hear about the life experiences of Winnipeggers in the communities we serve. The engagement process included leaders in the non-profit sector, Winnipeggers connected to the organizations The Foundation serves, and the general public. Project co-lead Courtney Feldman says “It is important to get the true and authentic experience of Winnipeggers and amplify their voices”.

While work is well underway for Vital Signs® 2022, The Foundation is still building on the success of Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2017 and Winnipeg’s Youth Vital Signs® 2014.

Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2017 was a yearlong initiative, gathering data by engaging with community to understand local priorities. The Foundation identified four key areas of importance: Reconciliation, Well-being, Belonging, and Lines that Divide. These findings were central in developing Walking Together: The Winnipeg Foundation’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. The findings were also key in developing The Foundation’s Reconciliation Grants program and the youth-driven Walking Together Grants.

The process of Vital Signs® 2017 also successfully engaged community through Vital Conversations. Those conversations became a means to activate the findings of the report after its release in October 2017. “Vital Conversations were so successful in reaching new audiences about issues that matter to Winnipeggers – clearly there was an appetite for people to learn more”, says Community Engagement Convenor and project co-lead Carolina Stecher.

As in 2017, Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2022 will be key in informing The Foundation’s strategic plan. Collecting data and listening to community priorities is part of The Foundation’s due diligence in making evidence-based decisions and is central to identifying priorities and creating an action plan.

Watch for Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® in the fall of 2022!

This story is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

About the photo

Community members in 2017 at the West Broadway Farmers’ Market, organized by the Good Food Club.

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