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Connecticut Residents Urged to "Pick Up the Phone!" to Support Largest-Ever Survey on Neighborhood-Level Quality of Life, Health, and Happiness

Hartford Foundation One of 75 Organizations Supporting DataHaven Initiative

How happy are you? Have you seen a dentist lately? Are local government officials responsive to your needs?

Those are just a few of the questions being asked by friendly survey-takers helping DataHaven and dozens of leading community and charitable groups throughout Connecticut complete what is believed to be the largest neighborhood-level well-being survey in the United States. A record number of participants will pick up the phone - over 15,000 by the time the 2018 Community Wellbeing Survey is complete. 

"Our initial feedback from residents and our previous experience with this survey shows that people like to answer these questions," says Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven. "They are answering questions about their own happiness and health, their family's financial security, and how their communities and neighborhoods are faring. These questions show that we care about how they feel."

DataHaven, the nonprofit group leading the collection and study of neighborhood-level public data on key social and economic indicators, announced the first statewide Community Wellbeing Survey in 2015. The 2018 Community Wellbeing Survey will allow unprecedented tracking of regional and local trends over the past three years, as well as create an even more in-depth portrait of Connecticut’s neighborhoods, when updated results are shared this fall.

After seeing the impact of the 2015 survey results, over 75 of Connecticut's leading hospitals, government agencies, and charitable organizations have decided, once again, to support the 2018 Community Wellbeing Survey with major donations. In addition to the Hartford Foundation, supporters include regional community foundations, United Ways, and health care providers located in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Greenwich, Meriden, Middletown, New London, Derby, and other cities and towns.

This nationally recognized program provides neighborhood- and regional-level information not available from any other source on community vitality, health, family economic security, and individual happiness. Other topics such as civic engagement, transportation, housing, and employment – even satisfaction with government and community life – are included.

Residents throughout Connecticut and adjacent sections of New York State will receive phone calls from survey-takers at the Siena College Research Institute – generally appearing as a 518 area code – beginning this week. Calls will continue throughout the spring and summer.

The mission of the initiative is to produce the highest-quality, neighborhood-level information on issues that are most meaningful to local residents, and to foster collaboration between the hundreds of organizations, institutions, businesses, and agencies that are working to build stronger communities.

DataHaven designed the 2018 Community Wellbeing Survey with support from over 120 government, academic, health care, and community partners, about 75 of whom are supplying funding for its expansion. Partners providing the over one million dollars required for the program are representative of each region.

In Greater Hartford and New Britain, the program has drawn support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford HealthCare, Johnson Memorial Medical Center, City of Hartford, Central Connecticut Health District, Trinity College Center for Urban and Global Studies, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Hospital for Special Care, and others.

‘"The Wellbeing Survey fills critical gaps in data, by asking questions that aren’t captured by other means,” said Scott Gaul, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. “The Survey directly asks residents what they think and feel about their community and their quality of life and we look forward to putting this data to use once the survey is complete.”

Results from the survey will be published in a series of local and statewide reports throughout 2018 and 2019, helping to shed light on progress being made toward community priorities, including financial security for families, access to affordable health care, public health and safety, and opportunities for children to succeed, as well as on current challenges, such as the opioid epidemic, housing instability, and limited transportation options.  Dozens of reports and studies have used data from the Community Wellbeing Survey, including many that are posted on the DataHaven website.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888. 


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