From our research and listening work in The Landscape, we know someone’s experience living in the Omaha metro can vary greatly depending on their identity and zip code.
If we want to solve issues like this, we must first identify the areas where the greatest disparities exist. Breaking down the data – by geography, race/ethnicity, and income – is key to understanding what is happening and what action our community needs.
Data as a Foundation for Understanding
Just like a foundation for a house, data must be solid and come from a credible source. When we’re gathering information for The Landscape, we turn to sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Community Health Needs Assessment, among more than 20 others. All the data sources are listed and hyperlinked at the bottom of each page if anyone wants to dig in deeper.
Our goal is to provide a comprehensive set of data that is transparent and easily accessible. We also go one step further.
Data – while a good foundation – is not the whole house. Data without context can be dangerous. When we don’t have a full scope of understanding, we start to make up stories. We make assumptions and assign blame.
Listening to people and how they experience living, working, and being with their families in our community is just as important as the numbers. That is why we have conducted listening work. We want to add context to what we are seeing in the data.
Philanthropy doesn’t have all the answers. People living in our community do. They are the experts of their lives. Data can point us in a direction, but then we must listen to understand.
Looking to Our Community Partners
Whether they are offering credible data sources or providing additional context, nonprofits are critical in this journey of understanding. They are also often on the front lines of addressing the issues raised through data and listening. What they know and they’re experiencing might inform increased support in a particular area or legislation.