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Vital Signs guides foundation’s funding decisions

Charleen Davidson is executive director of the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta.

The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwest Alberta released its seventh annual Vital Signs report on Thursday.
Vital Signs is intended to provide a snapshot of the quality of life in southwestern Alberta.
“Vital Signs is our annual community check-up,” foundation executive director Charleen Davidson said, explaining the report uses national, provincial and local data.
The Vital Signs report was officially released at the community foundation’s office in Lethbridge.
Vital Signs is co-ordinated nationally by the Community Foundations of Canada, with 26 foundations across the country releasing a report.
Ronda Reach of Fort Macleod is chair of the local foundation’s Vital Signs committee.
“With Vital Signs we measure the well-being of our community and we identify areas of need in six impact areas,” Davidson explained.
Those six impact areas are community connections, healthy communities, environment, living standards, cultural life and life-long learning.
“As we did last year we have linked our Vital Signs work with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals,” Davidson said.
Those UN goals are:
• No poverty.
• Zero hunger.
• Good health and well-being.
• Quality education.
• Gender equality.
• Clean water and sanitation.
• Affordable and clean energy.
• Decent work and economic growth.
• Industry, innovation and infrastructure.
• Reduced inequalities.
• Sustainable cities and communities.
• Responsible consumption and production.
• Climate action.
• Life below water.
• Life on land.
• Peace, justice and strong institutions.
• Partnerships for the goals.
“They really are a call to action, advocating that all people have a right to peace and prosperity,” Davidson said.
The community foundation aligned each of its six impact areas to the sustainable development goals.
Topics in Vital Signs include regional transportation, reconciliation, the opioid crisis, personal happiness, mental health, the environment, recycling, solar energy, crime and safety, homelessness, cultural life and learning.
“It’s so critical for us to know what’s going on in our communities,” Davidson said of the foundation, which is the largest non-government funding organization in southwesten Alberta.
“By identifying and understanding areas of need, we can better respond.”
The community foundation awards more than $800,000 in grants each year to groups throughout the region under the six impact areas, which extends from the MD of Taber to the B.C. border and from Vulcan to the U.S. border.
Vital Signs is used by the foundation to inform both donors and its two largest granting programs.
A copy of Vital Signs is available at

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