When the Toronto Community Foundation first started Toronto’s Vital Signs Report in 2001, an effort that now tracks hundreds of data indicators across 10 quality-of-life issue areas, the goal was to help the Foundation understand needs and opportunities in Toronto and to make informed choices about its grant making and programming.
Since then, however, Vital Signs has moved steadily from the edge of the Foundation’s work toward its core. The Foundation created the Vital Toronto Fund, which uses the Vital Signs Report as a blueprint for its funding decisions and allows the Foundation to make concentrated investments when the Report surfaces issues in the city.
Back in 2001, the Foundation didn’t necessarily know that the Vital Signs project would become so core to its business model. It wasn’t part of some centralized change strategy for the organization. Instead, the Foundation, in collaboration with a broad range of city leaders, saw a need, tried something new, and grew the initiative as it demonstrated potential. Vital Signs, which now reaches more than one million people in the Greater Toronto Area, is used by government officials to inform public policy and has been incorporated by local universities into curricula that reach more than 10,000 students. See Toronto Foundation’s latest report here:
In New Zealand, Acorn Foundation (Tauranga) and Momentum Foundation (Waikato) conducted the Vital Signs research through Waikato University and partnered successfully with philanthropic funders and local Councils to produce their reports. Download the Foundation’s reports here:
The Northland Foundation is currently approaching local Councils and local philanthropic funders to support this research project. If you are interested in partnering with the Foundation or providing sponsorship, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Manager, Greta Buchanan, 021 558 224 or email@example.com or
The Vital Signs report began in Vancouver Canada and is a periodic check-up that measures the quality of life in local Communities, identifies trends, and shares opportunities for action.
A periodic check-up measuring quality of life
WHAT DOES IT MEASURE?
While the process is just beginning, we will be considering the following areas for inclusion in the analysis:
Arts and Culture
Belonging and engagement
Gap between rich and poor
Getting started in our community
Sports and recreation
Ten key issue areas
WHAT AREAS ARE COVERED?
This first Vital Signs report will be working to provide a complete picture of the health and vitality of our communities and of Northland as a whole.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Northland Foundation will engage the community in a consultative process that will provide a subjective sense of our community’s health as it relates to each of these issue areas. In addition, relevant research data will be analysed to quantify these findings.
Statistical analysis & community consultation
WHAT MAKES VITAL SIGNS DIFFERENT?
The power of this report is in its accessibility. Partners are needed to conduct this research and provide a final report that makes the information interesting, understandable, engaging, and above all, actionable for everyone living in our community.
Relevant, interesting, accessible, actionable
HOW IS IT USED?
Experience in other communities has shown that the Vital Signs report is an important discussion piece for the community and provides much needed clarity around the current, potential, and perceived issues facing our citizens. It invariably becomes a key tool for many different groups working for the betterment of our community.