Report to the Community
In spring 2021, United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV) conducted a community research and analysis project designed to identify the region’s strengths and most pressing needs in UWKV’s priority areas of health, education, and financial stability. We facilitated a regional survey and hosted five Community Conversations with people who live, work and play in Kennebec County. Surveys and sessions were offered in English and Arabic, and we achieved participation from nearly 800 community members of various ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to use and share this information in order to strengthen their own efforts in Kennebec County.
The results of our community data collection and analysis depict a region with many valuable assets and well-informed, caring community members, as well as some challenging areas for improvement.
- Top issues that the most community members consider very important and are things that directly affect all community members:
- Job opportunities
- High quality schools
- Access to affordable healthy food
- Health care services
- Public safety
- Reasonable cost of living
- Participants’ aspirations for a successful future in UWKV’s priority areas shared three common themes:
- Accessibility of health care, education, and transportation
- Affordability of health care, early childhood, adult and higher education, and housing
- Quality of health care providers and services, education, jobs, and housing stock
We worked with Plimpton Research to produce four white papers identifying community demographics, data trends and existing needs. These papers were published in February 2021.
1. Population & COVID-19 Context – This paper provides background and context for the white papers on Impact2032’s three priority areas: health, education and financial stability. The research offers an overview of the population in terms of size, age distribution, gender and sexuality, race/ethnicity, languages spoken at home, immigration, and people with disabilities. The paper also provides a snapshot of the immediate impact COVID-19 has had on local families.
2. Health – Health affects individual experiences as well as families, communities and schools. Additionally, health impacts the economy profoundly, both in financial and productivity costs. This paper reviews 12 key health measures, including premature death rates, access to care, immunization rates, mental health, overdose deaths, and domestic violence reports.
3. Education – Our ability to support children to reach their full potential academically impacts the well-being of the entire community. Educational achievement correlates with income, health and long-term success. This paper outlines nine broad measures spanning different aspects of education from early childhood through adulthood.
4. Financial Stability – Reducing poverty and increasing financial stability are sound social investments for Kennebec County, generating strong returns to society over time in the form of higher real Gross Domestic Product, reduced expenditures on health care and crime, and improved quality of life. This paper explores nine essential measures of financial stability, including income and wages, unemployment trends, poverty levels, housing and homelessness, transportation, and child care costs.
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Augusta, ME 04330