People in the Central Okanagan are not happy with the gap between rich poor, giving it a grade of D+ according to VitalSigns, a new report put out by the Central Okanagan Foundation, a philanthropy organization which hands out grants to community not-for-profits and charities.
“Our community is not comfortable with the poverty and low income levels that families, single parents, various different people in our community, are struggling with and they want to see some action around it and they want to see funders, social service groups, government, find a way to help people who are struggling,” said Leanne Hammond Komori, COF executive director, at today’s official release of the report, held at the Mary Irwin Theatre.
It’s one of 15 similar reports which came out today in communities across Canada in a project co-ordinated by the umbrella group, Community Foundations of Canada.
The Central Okanagan’s report consists of 11 indicators. A summary of already existing research and statistics is provided for each indicator, along with a letter grade.
The gap between rich and poor scored this region’s worst grade. The other indicators are environment (B), health and wellness (B), housing (C-). arts and culture (B), safety (B), transportation (C), work (C), belonging and leadership (B-), learning and education (B) and getting started, which looked mostly at the migration and the integration of immigrants (C).
The grades however, are not necessarily connected to the accompanying research, as they come from a survey of people who were not given the research but simply asked for their impressions.
“The grade itself is subjective,” said Hammond Komori. “We just wanted to know on a very basic level, what do you think of each of these areas? Which areas are important to you and what areas do you want to see funders focus on first. The grade was assigned by people who want to make a difference so that grade is not necessarily married up with the data.”
The report’s authors did not conduct a randomized poll, deciding that the expense of a scientifically valid survey wasn’t the best use of their scarce resources. Instead, the survey was sent out by e-mail through the foundation’s leadership network.
It went out “to not-for-profit groups in the community, private citizens, community leaders, all sorts of different people and it basically travels through viral e-mails and various other forms,” said Hammond Komori.
The report will largely be used to focus the granting efforts of the foundation and the organizations it works with.
The report cost about $15,000, which was covered by grants and donations, the largest of which was a one-time Vancouver Foundation grant.
Hammond Komori said the goal is to try and do a VitalSIgns report on an annual basis but that will require coming up with a new funding source, which she hopes to accomplish by lining up corporate sponsors.
All 15 community VitalSigns reports can be found at the VitalSigns website, along with a national report.