The study conducted in conjunction with Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact provides a blueprint for the Greenwich United Way in identifying and directing resources to the most pressing community needs.
The Greenwich United Way in partnership with Fairfield University has released its 2020 Needs Assessment. The quinquennial survey has been conducted since 1981 with the goal of producing results that can be used to develop impactful solutions based on data to ensure quality outcomes. The 2020 Needs Assessment was conducted in conjunction with the Center for Social Impact at Fairfield University for the first time and was the most comprehensive with the most respondents participating to date, yielding data and input from all areas of Greenwich.
“By collaborating on this Needs Assessment with Fairfield University, we are able to drill down into the results and focus on data specific to individual neighborhoods in Greenwich rather than being limited to working with overly general, town-wide metrics,” said David Rabin, CEO of GUW. “This functionality is especially important in a town like ours where, for example, the neighborhood with the highest average income level is bordered by the neighborhood with the lowest average income level in town.”
Conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Needs Assessment focused on Greenwich residents’ perceptions of five broadly defined areas of service needs:
- Basic Human Needs: Equality, housing, nutrition, and financial needs
- Community Resources: Planning and development, environment, service coordination, and immigration support
- Crisis and Disaster Services: Disaster preparedness, domestic abuse, violence, and crime
- Families, Children and Seniors: Childcare, education, employment, and recreation
- Physical and Mental Health: Counseling, healthcare, and substance misuse services
The results of the 2020 Needs Assessment indicate that some of the most pressing areas of concern in the community include affordable housing, education, and mental health and wellness. While the assessment was conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has significantly altered the challenges facing Greenwich, the challenges reflected in the assessment are, according to the Assessment of Human Services & State of Greenwich Statistical Report Executive Summary, “in the context of a community with fiscal resources and social capital that can be brought to bear, including the Greenwich United Way.”
“The 2020 Needs Assessment tells the story of a community that is rich in socioeconomic diversity, and the issues that go hand-in-hand with that diversity. Together, we can use this data and our collective expertise to sustain this diversity as one of our greatest assets,” said Rabin.
More than 40 Fairfield University students and four Center for Social Impact student research fellows worked with faculty on the assessment, collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data for the executive report and dashboard.
"The Needs Assessment project was a great opportunity for students and faculty to work intensively on research that would have immediate and meaningful impact for the community,” said Melissa Quan, director of the Center for Social Impact. “The Center for Social Impact is committed to working with community partners to generate and share research that can inform programs and systems that lead to positive change for communities while also building the capacity of our students to be lifelong contributors to the common good.”
Complete survey results can be accessed in the Assessment of Human Services & State of Greenwich Statistical Report dashboard: https://greenwichunitedway.org/needs-assessment/purpose-mission-and-objectives/.
About Greenwich United Way
The Greenwich United Way (GUW) shares a name with approximately 1,200 other similar organizations across the nation, although, since 1933, the Greenwich, Connecticut division is a privately incorporated, locally governed, nonprofit agency. As a volunteer-driven organization, the Greenwich United Way exists to help identify and address the health, educational and self-sufficiency needs specific to its local community and to create and affect meaningful, lasting solutions. Through various fundraising efforts and on-going research, the organization is able to directly grant the funds necessary to accomplish this goal. The Greenwich United Way also invests in and conducts collaborative efforts to address broad-based community needs with partnering nonprofit agencies. For more information, visit https://greenwichunitedway.org.
About Fairfield University
Fairfield University is a modern Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200-acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.