Community research and impartial analysis can highlight opportunities and provide reliable data for decision-making. With these priorities in mind, research efforts at lnnovia center around the following efforts.
Ensuring Educational Success/College Spark
An important aspect of community research involves discovering the stories behind the data. Innovia Foundation is committed to ensuring every student has the opportunity to thrive and pursue their dreams following high school.
The development of the bold promise behind the supported promise scholarship initiative involves listening to student and community voice.
Through a partnership with College Spark, Innovia Foundation launched a project to promote educational success for students in rural communities. This two-year project brings together community stakeholders, parents, students and school staff in four Eastern Washington communities: Lind-Ritzville, St. John-Endicott, Dayton, and Riverside.
The first phase of the project included feedback from an Educational Effectiveness Survey and series of (virtual) forums to assess community priorities, strengths and challenges related to student success.
Following this step, we incorporated feedback from survey responses with a presentation of relevant public data on student outcomes in the district. These results were shared in a series of ‘data walks’ – community gatherings meant to highlight important trends and opportunities that could guide decisions about strengthening student support systems.
In 2022, we will examine the quantitative and qualitative feedback together with community members.
Through community conversations, data-informed decisions, and partnership development at the local and regional level, we hope to foster a rural school support network that can ensure the same opportunities are available for students no matter where they live.
Closing the Digital Divide with Community Broadband
Innovia Foundation’s vision of vibrant and sustainable communities means ensuring access to healthcare, education services and economic opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all that equitable access cannot occur when high speed broadband internet services are limited or unavailable.
Innovia Foundation research efforts around broadband access have helped educate and support expanded broadband and helping to close the digital divide. Innovia Foundation led seminars at the local and regional level using relevant data sets to illustrate where gaps in service exist. This analysis incorporated public data (FCC, U.S. Census) and research results from industry and leading experts, such as the Digital Divide Index, developed at the Purdue Center for Regional Development.
In addition to assessing gaps in coverage, Innovia Foundation partnered with research design firms (GeoPartners) and regional funders (Better Health Together, Imagine Idaho) to help rural locations access additional resources and funding to expand the reach of broadband in their communities.
Broadband represents critical infrastructure in the years ahead, and through research and planning, we hope to close the digital divide in both rural and underserved communities.
Identifying Community Needs
lnnovia Foundation recently completed an in-depth, community needs and opportunity assessment for a nine-county region in Southeast Washington and North Central Idaho. The assessment was based on 1) results from a community survey sent to a random sample of area households, 2) data analysis of community indicators, and 3) feedback from a series of nine community forums attended by hundreds of participants throughout the region. This project demonstrates that data and conversations are necessary to understand the most pressing issues in a community. Resources and results from the needs assessment are available on the project data hub.
Developing and Supporting Community Research
lnnovia Foundation also supports valuable research being conducted by experts in this region. The Foundation contributed to a recent report and dashboard on the state of women and children in Spokane County. lnnovia works with area faculty to evaluate Foundation initiatives and also sponsors inter-university consortiums, such as the Health Service Research Roundtable and Partners in Campus and Community Engagement.
Focusing on Community Impact
With greater research capacity, lnnovia Foundation plans to support community groups interested in measuring and monitoring program outcomes. We recently introduced a new grant application that provides a way for organizations to consider, clarify and communicate progress toward impact. We aim to encourage results reporting and plan to continue sharing stories of impact in the communities we serve.
Data Walks 2021
In the fall of 2021, the Innovia Foundation engaged four school districts from rural Washington in data walks in conjunction with funding from College Spark. The data walks were intended to review data collected from a community survey conducted by the Center for Educational Effectiveness in April of 2021. Input was desired to obtain additional information about the survey results and current perceptions and climate of the community. Participants represented school district faculty and staff, students, community organization representatives, families and other education professionals.
Included communities were Riverside, Lind Ritzville, St. John Endicott, and Dayton. The data walk was facilitated by Dr. Molly Kreyssler, founder of Bloom Coaching and staff members from Innovia Foundation. The photo to the right is from the Riverside data walk.