(Update) Measuring Rural Community Vitality
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
In this our first update for 2016 we highlight our progress in these 3 project areas:
· Advance Preview of the latest release of our Focus Fact Sheets;
· Names of the 4 youth chosen for subjects of our Youth Civic Engagement showcase videos; and
· Update of our Community Collaboration case studies now underway.
At our last meeting (Sept. 30th) a few members (Dianne Thomson, Ikem Opara, etc.) asked about the availability of community volunteering data. We are pleased to provide some interesting data and analysis in the new Fact Sheet series to be announced later this week. (Data tables related to this data are available upon request.)
To view the new Focus Fact Sheets click here http://www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/focus-on-rural-ontario.aspx
Norm Ragetlie introduces this new series of Focus Fact Sheets:
In the most recent set of four Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheets we look at volunteering and philanthropy – how rural Ontarians give of their time and money to causes and organizations they believe in. The participation of volunteers strengthens the trust, solidarity and reciprocity within communities. The non-profit sector has a substantive impact on creating quality of life, health and well-being in our communities. Also, charitable giving and voluntary association is often used to indicate social capital, civic engagement and social cohesion.
Despite their significance these aspects of the vitality of our communities are not measured as often or reported as frequently as other types of socio-economic statistics. We can get data about this from the General Social Survey once every three years so we look back over a nine year period to capture the data from four surveys, i.e. 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. Comparisons between metro and non-metro trends do not show many substantive differences – rural volunteer rates, for example, have been marginally higher and on one occasion lower in the four surveys published since 2003. The rate has ranged from 43% to 50%.
The estimated aggregate of financial donations by non-metro residents has been steady at about $1 billion annually over that time period and a very high proportion of rural people give – some 86% to 90%. The average annual donation per donor over that time span has remained at around the $500 mark and the fact it tracks below metro levels is most likely linked to generally lower income in non-metro Ontario.
These fact sheets illustrate the wide spectrum of activities and causes non-metro residents care about, from sports and recreation, to arts and culture, to affordable housing or to health services and faith based institutions. Volunteers noted many reasons why they volunteer. The top reason 91% of non-metro volunteers said they were doing so was in order to make a contribution to their community. Volunteer energy is highly local. And it doesn’t stop at formal organizational volunteering since two thirds of volunteers also care for someone directly or help out others with household tasks. All together the evidence is strong that rural citizens belong to and contribute to caring, giving communities.
· Megan Raftis, Harriston
· Branden Trochymchuk, Thunder Bay
· Emily Morrison, Lucknow
· Eric Duncan, Winchester
For the full story on these four inspiring youth please click herehttp://www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/blog/
· Northern Bruce Peninsula (launched Jan. 18)
· Northumberland County (launched Jan. 27)
· Oxford County (launched Jan. 28)
· West Carleton (launching Feb. 9)
· Centre Wellington (launching Feb. 18)
· Huron County (to be announced)
· Dufferin County (to be announced)
· Baldwin Township (May 16)
Visit the Measuring Rural Community Vitality webpage here:http://www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/measuring-community-vitality.aspx
Information on our first meeting of 2016 being planned for April will follow later this month.
Any questions or comments about this information – just send them along or post them to our Google Group here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/measuring-rural-community-vitality
Rural Ontario Institute