The Community Foundation’s annual Vital Signs® report was released October 5, 2017, offering a detailed picture of the quality of life in Southwestern Alberta. An initiative of the Community Foundations of Canada, this year’s report concludes a national initiative examining belonging in six impact areas: community connections, cultural life, environment, healthy communities, lifelong learning, and living standards.
Using local data, information, and sources from here in the community, Vital Signs identifies areas of need by presenting the challenges and advantages of life in Southwestern Alberta. Through Vital Signs, the Community Foundation is able to inform donors about pressing issues and focus its granting programs to address those issues by allocating support to charities working in those areas.
“Vital Signs has grown to become an important part of the work we do, especially this year,” says Charleen Davidson, Community Foundation Executive Director. “Our Community Priorities granting program is now aligned with our Vital Signs work at the application stage. Applicants must now indicate which of the six impact areas their projects will address and what the anticipated outcomes will be. We are committed to building a strong, healthy community where everyone has a sense of belonging, and we are confident that this strategic alignment will spark dialogue and promote civic engagement that does just that.”
Highlights from the 2017 Vital Signs Report:
From 2011 to 2016, deaths due to Fentanyl overdose in Alberta rose by 6000%.
o Alberta Health Services’ South Zone recorded 17 Fentanyl overdose deaths in 2016
10 of those deaths occurred in Lethbridge
Water in Southwestern Alberta
The Oldman River’s sub-basin has an average annual flow of almost 3.5 million cubic decametres, which is enough water to fill 1.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Use of this water is strictly controlled by allocation agreements.
o 83% of the water is allocated for irrigation use
o Water allocations for municipal drinking water only account for 1% of the sub-basin’s total usage
Other topics covered in Vital Signs focus on homelessness in rural communities and cultural and arts initiatives throughout the region. Guest speakers at the launch included Jody Francis, a housing liaison worker from Fort Macleod, and Amanda Berg, President of the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge. Both spoke about their respective organizations and how their work helps to improve the vitality of life in Southwestern Alberta.
For more information on the Community Foundation, Vital Signs, or to request a copy of the report, please contact the Community Foundation office at 403-328-5297 or [email protected].