The purpose of CNY Vitals is to provide timely, accurate data and information on the trends and issues facing Central New York’s residents. We hope that this information will generate discussion, inform plans, inspire collaboration and spur action. It is our vision that community leaders will use the information available through CNY Vitals to construct informed plans and secure additional financial resources to address community needs. Furthermore, as a community, we will be well-equipped with the information necessary to see if our shared efforts are making a difference and creating the positive and lasting change we desire. Together we can build on our assets, address our critical challenges and take joy in our shared success!
CNY Vitals will:
- Provide accurate, up to date data, benchmarks, trends and information across multiple indicator areas
- Activate diverse, multi-sector Indicator Teams
- Raise awareness of community assets, needs and challenges
- Inform citizens and leaders of community-wide plans, goals, and initiatives
- Build and support civic engagement, community partnerships and collaborative efforts
- Provide access points to other regional dashboards and plans
- Maximize our regional competitive edge and assist in creating shared goals
- Provide a mechanism for accountability for policy makers and the community
Our shared vision for this resource is that citizens from all walks of life will use CNY Vitals for shared learning, cross-sector planning, and future collaborative efforts to improve our community.
CNY Vitals was built by and continues to rely on the expertise of many stakeholders and Indicator Teams who have taken considerable time to gather data and research from across multiple areas of focus. Public agencies, businesses, universities and colleges, institutes, civic engagement groups, national think tanks, area foundations, community based organizations and concerned residents have all contributed to CNY Vitals. Our hope is that if you are a researcher, planner, or grant writer, you will find these data sets and indicators informative and useful to your work, and we welcome your feedback and future involvement. If you would like to join an Indicator Team, share data, or give us general feedback on the site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In compiling the indicators from public and private sector sources, the researchers have made every effort to present reliable data that informs readers. We have endeavored to find the best available, but no data are perfect. Researchers contacted experts, community organizations and government agencies through online databases, websites, printed reports and other sources to retrieve critical data. The teams gathered statistical information for Onondaga County dating back to 2000 or earlier, and when useful and available included comparative or historical data.
Many charts and graphs have been developed from raw data to help visualize indicators and benchmarks. All charts, graphs and raw data held within CNY Vitals are available for download and use to enhance planning, grant applications or ongoing community research and action. The links provided also connect users to other indicator projects, user-friendly mapping tools and more. We welcome your feedback and ideas as we continue to build and enhance the site in the days to come.
A report on community indicators was first created in 2000 by F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse, Central New York Technology Development Organization, United Way of Central New York and Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce to educate and inform individuals about how the community was doing in various important areas. Indicators were selected because they met the following criteria:
1. The indicator measured something that could be changed by community effort
2. The information came from a reliable source
3. The indicator was clear and understandable
4. The indicator could be compared to a benchmark
In 2005, F.O.C.U.S. partnered with the Community Benchmarks Program (CBP) at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University to update and expand the report. In 2010 CBP once again updated and expanded the community indicators with guidance from multiple partners, and printed its findings for the community. The current CNY Vitals website is supported by the Central New York Community Foundation, which has partnered with the CBP, FOCUS and many other partners committed to improving our community. For a full list of partners, see the scrolling logos on our homepage.
F.O.C.U.S. of Greater Syracuse
F.O.C.U.S. is a citizen-driven organization that has used a visioning process developed to make Syracuse a better place to live and work. Founded in 1998, FOCUS seeks to engender a feeling of pride and a future of promise. It engages in research, public policy advocacy, public education and public outreach to promote intelligent, inclusive and sustainable decision making.
Community Benchmarks Program
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation established the CBP in The Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 1996. The program was institutionalized in The Maxwell School’s Policy Studies program in 2000 by former Dean John Palmer. The mission of the CBP is to support local governments, nonprofits and educational institutions through the use of comparative measures to improve performance and accountability as part of a continuous improvement effort. This is accomplished through classes offered each semester to researchers interested in identifying ways to help organizations and communities improve. Most of the reports produced by the CBP are available on the program’s website.
Central New York Community Foundation, Inc.
Founded in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation connects the generosity of donors with community needs. The goal of the foundation is to enhance the quality of life of area residents in various ways:
- Encouraging the growth of permanent charitable endowments to meet the community’s changing opportunities and needs;
- Providing vehicles for donors with diverse philanthropic interests;
- Serving as a catalyst, objective convener and facilitator and promoting collaborations among various organizations to accomplish common objectives;
- Carrying out a strategic grantmaking program that is flexible, visionary and inclusive.
Annually, the foundation awards more than $5 million in grants while also providing leadership support in such fields as arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environment, health and human services and other areas of community activity.