I was fortunate to be introduced early on to the research project, Vital Signs. This was a national project, with The Winnipeg Foundation leading the local research. In every major city across Canada, community foundations were determining what issues citizens were dealing with, and The Winnipeg Foundation, right from the start, included the community in this assessment.
There were many sources for what was looked at, including basic demographics like the census, but also from surveys and public forums. It was an intense and thorough process.
What is important is now this information is available to all. Yes, there is an amazing amount of data out there – for example, did you know 64% of Winnipeggers feel stress about their personal finances, and 6.3% of Winnipeggers used a food bank in the last year (the Canadian average is 2.5%). The minimum wage in Manitoba is $11.15, but did you know the estimated living wage is $14.54? There are four key findings found in Vital Signs: Reconciliation; Health, Healing and Well-being;; and the Lines that Divide. I was thrilled to see the connection between what we are doing here in Winnipeg for example, and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. This is an ambitious plan, agreed to by many countries of the world, including Canada, incorporating social, economic and environmental goals.
There is a wealth of information available for all: links to Vital Information, and downloads and resources. The material on the website is so helpful in providing the data and evidence to validate our community challenges and the responses to those challenges. This info is invaluable to the community-based organizations that are working with those most in need. It also validates the work that these organizations do every day.
I am so pleased to have been a part of the Vital Signs Committee and see firsthand the support that The Winnipeg Foundation offers to our community. I am also pleased that The Winnipeg Foundation has demonstrated such leadership in producing the Vital Signs report.
Mary Scott is a long time community volunteer and gives generously to The Winnipeg Foundation. Mary served on the Vital Signs Advisory Committee because of her strong ties with The Winnipeg Foundation as a donor and her community advocacy in the City of Winnipeg.