Okay, okay. I admit it. I’m a data geek.  I can’t get enough of it- from the final numbers themselves to the systems that allow us to analyze and manipulate the raw information.  I find it all completely fascinating.   Once, while compiling our year-end outcomes report, lost in PivotTables and nesting functions, I even professed my love for the intellectually superior individuals who designed the first spreadsheet.  (For those of you who are curious, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston invented the first spreadsheet program, VisiCalc.)
Personal affinities aside, data is extremely important to the work of Strong Women, Strong Girls.  Data guides our strategic planning and annual focus areas.  Data holds us accountable.  Data enables us to monitor and improve the effectiveness of our programs and organization.  On a national level, we run our data on a quarterly basis.  Be on the lookout for the results from Strong Women, Strong Girls’ mid-year data posted on our Impact page soon!
In the meantime, for those of you looking for your daily data fix, check out these resources:

  • Kids Count Data Center:  Did you know that Massachusetts ranks 5th in the country in child well-being, compared to Pennsylvania and Florida which rank 23rd and 35th?  Did you know that, in the United States, 15% of children have one or more emotional, behavioral or developmental condition?  Check out the Kids Count Data Center and access hundreds of measures of child well-being.   Discover assets on which you can build to make greater impact in your programs.  Understand needs, specific to your area, that your organization can address.
  • Food Environmental Atlas: Did you know that in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, each person spends an average of $670 on fast food each year? Did you know that in Miami-Dade only 38% of high school students are physically active?   This website is great for understanding how food environment factors—such as store/restaurant proximity, food prices, food and nutrition assistance programs, and community characteristics—interact to influence food choices and diet quality and, ultimately, health.  Similar to the other resources highlighted above, this data may offer organizations insight into community assets and gaps in services to be used in program planning as well as proof of need to be used when applying for funding.

Other rich data resources to be used in planning include the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) and the American Association of University Women’s Gender Wage Gap Map.  Remember data can be much more than an impersonal set of numbers.  If you know how to access and apply the information, data can be used to strengthen your programs as well as build a strong case for organizational support.