Benchmark II February 2011 Archive
Benchmark II Update - February 2011
In 2001, Women 4 Women released the comprehensive results of our two-year research study. That project, known as Benchmark 2000, was the first study on the status of women and girls in our community. It involved 600 volunteers, five communitywide coalitions and a team of researchers from the University of Louisville. As a result, Women 4 Women created the Bold Goals Initiatives and began our program of work. Benchmark 2000 was also adopted by the former Jefferson County Judge Rebecca Jackson as the blueprint for planning and programming for the Jefferson County Office for Women.
Currently, we are in the midst of a new strategic planning process that includes our trending analysis, a study we call Benchmark II: A Decade of Change for Women & Girls, which is an updated report on the status of women and girls in our community. The report looks back on the past 10 years since the first study (Benchmark 2000) was published and looks forward at the trends impacting women and families over the next 5 to 10 years.
The objectives of Benchmark II: A Decade of Change for Women & Girls are to:
1. Provide current research to support the work of W4W as well as local organizations, government and other non-profit agencies with future planning, establishing and revising policies, evaluating program needs and identifying grant opportunities.
2. Guide our focus for the W4W 2011 - 2015 Strategic Plan; and
3. Conduct a 36-month community awareness campaign that includes a news conference, presentations to area organizations, media interviews, The Courier-Journal editorial board, and a collaborative page on the W4W website.
To date, Women 4 Women's Strategic Planning Committee has conducted more than 40 interviews with local and national experts in the field of Health, Education, Economic Well-Being, Leadership and Safety for women and girls. We identified 33 trends in these five areas and have narrowed the focus to the six current top trends. We have conducted two Board Retreats with community leaders and key stakeholders to help narrow the focus to one trend that will help W4W reach larget-scale impact in the community.
Ultimately, Benchmark 2000, the first study on the status of women and girls in Jefferson County, has helped us establish a network of support and prepared us for the next phase of work. But thinking ahead requires looking behind -- a brief description and results of Benchmark 2000 are described below.
I. Benchmark 2000: The First Study on the Status of Women and Girls in Jefferson County
a. Histry and Lessons Learned
In 2001, W4W released the comprehensive results of our two-year research study. That project, known as Benchmark 2000, was the first study on the status of women and girls in our community. It involved 600 volunteers and a team of researchers from the University of Louisville.
Former Jefferson County Judge Rebecca Jackson adopted Benchmark 2000 as the blueprint for planning and programming for the Jefferson County Office for Women.
As a result of Benchmark 2000, four key initiatives (Bold Goals, Bold Solutions) were developed. These initiatives include:
1. Fit 4 Me - Teaching underserved middle school girls about nutrition, fitness and healthy choices;
2. Finance 4 Her™ - Teaching women (and their children) about basic financial planning and matching them with volunteer financial coaches;
4. The Fund 4 Women & Girls - Building an endowment for future support of community programs and services for women and girls.
b. Current Status - Results and Impact of First Plan
Women 4 Women has a demonstrated history of well-managed organizational development, board development, strategic planning, program quality and evaluation, strong fiscal management and responsible stewardship.
The summary points below illustrate our past success and how your investment has multiplied and inspired thousands.
- Served approximately 7,437 women and girls thorough our Finance 4 Her™ education program, Connections for Her, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Fit 4 Me program
- Created, Implemented and managed the Norton Women's Pavilion Champions 4 Her Walk, Run & Festival which had distributed more than $361,000 dollars to 13 nonprofit organizations that provide services to approximately 70,000 women and families locally
- Mobilized thousands of volunteers to participate in our annual events
- Connected hundreds of students, volunteers and participants with financial and career coaches to guide and provide positive role modeling
- Partnered with 25 organizations including universities, schools, foundations, corporations, institutions, and service agencies to expand our impact
- Activated our first student organization with the University of Louisville Women 4 Women Student Chapter
- Endowed the Fund 4 Women and Girls with $1 million raised from the Women 4 Women Board and key stakeholders to create more opportunities and resources for women and girls
Over the last six years, the Bold Goals, Bold Solutions program of work has made a positive impact locally. These initiatives have served many women and families, but it is clear that our approach will not make the large-scale impact needed to reach our vision. As we plan for the future and adapt to the new economy, we will build on what we have learned to create strategies for expanded impact, reach, and sustainability.
The guiding question for our new plan is "What will it take to make lasting change so Louisville can become one of the best places for women and families to live rather than one of the worst?" And, what role can Women 4 Women play to be a catalyst in making that happen?
II. Benchmark II: A Decade of Change for Women & Girls
A Refined Focus
Women 4 Women in partnership with the University of Louisville updated key statistics in the Benchmark 2000 study and has embarked on a new in-depth trending research project to identify trends that will affect girls, women and their families in Louisville and beyond over the next 5 to 10 years. In addition, we are conducting a rigorous process of examing the interconnected root cause relationships between the trends. This information will inform the future direction of W4W.
The greater potential of Benchmark II is to provide a framework for community change. The data mining of the trends will illuminate gaps and help re-shape programs that are working or not working locally. Research from Benchmark II will serve as an important mapping tool in revealing areas of need and actionable opportunities toward community improvement. Benchmark II will also benefit the community through collective knowledge that will lead to collaboration, shared advocacy, stronger alliances and improved human services for all.
Benchmark II Sponsor: