Project to gauge quality of life in four-county area 'LIFE Study' will be broadest partnership of its kind for region

From Brown County United Way, August 25, 2010
by Adam Hardy, adam@browncountyunitedway.org, 920-593-4779

The largest and broadest study of socio-economic conditions in Brown, Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago Counties officially launched today at the Kress Family Library, 333 N. Broadway.

The LIFE (Leading Indicators For Excellence) Study is a 1.5-year-long, multiphase research project that will inspect 10 key indicators for economic, physical and emotional wellbeing in the four counties. Funding partners will focus on issue areas unique to each of the communities, but key baseline data will be shared between the regions, allowing an unprecedented look at the area as a whole.

"We are bringing together the best information about the trends, the strengths and the issues of our areas based on solid evidence and the most expert opinion," said Lora Warner, LIFE Study project manager, University of Wisconsin -- Green Bay.

The LIFE Study will be conducted separately in each of the NE Wisconsin communities by the Center for Public Affairs at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Survey Center at St. Norbert College. The communities will use parallel timelines and assessment methods that include surveys of more than 1,000 local leaders starting in September, followed by focus groups from multiple community segments, community interviews and a comprehensive secondary data review. Each partner will build on pre-existing data collection efforts and will utilize existing local reports and data. Selected data will form local and regional-level reports, including:

- Metro-Area LIFE Study Report and Executive Summary. For each community, this integrated data includes relevant information on each topic brought together from all data sources. Data in the report will be accessible to community stakeholders for grant-writing, economic development, development of targeted initiatives and more.

- Fox River Regional Summary. Combined information from multiple data sources about all three communities in the Fox River Region. The report will include charts that show a) all three areas together and b) regional level survey results combined from all areas. This report will be available as a stand-alone document.

Partners intend to release the LIFE Study in late 2011.

The LIFE study funding partners consist of 10 major sponsors in 3 metro areas of Fox River region, including the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation; Brown County United Way; Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, Oshkosh Area United Way; Oshkosh Area Community Foundation; United Way Fox Cities; Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region; Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce; Fox Cities Economic Development Partnership.