NEWAYGO COUNTY AREA DASHBOARD

Communities throughout West Michigan are continuously looking for ways to build strategic change and empower collective action. To better enable this regional advancement, The Right Place worked with the West Michigan Regional Prosperity Alliance last year to establish a common set of shared metrics to track West Michigan’s progress on 34 critical economic, social, and environmental indicators. 

The result of this effort was the West Michigan Regional Dashboard: an online tool available at www.wmdashboard.org that displays West Michigan’s performance on key metrics in one convenient location. 

Before the development of this dashboard, the region lacked a common set of measurements by which to measure its growth and prosperity. The data displayed on this dashboard was previously only available by combing through a multitude of separate sources. Now, with the data combined into one dashboard, regional organizations can more readily take action on metrics that fall within their sphere of influence. 

One of the first organizations to capitalize on this opportunity was the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Over the past year, The Right Place and the Fremont Area Community Foundation have been collaborating on the development of a dashboard to measure growth and prosperity on a more localized level. This partnership resulted in the January launch of the Newaygo County Dashboard, available at www.ncdashboard.org

By taking a deeper dive into county-level data, the Fremont Area Community Foundation will be able to use the Newaygo County Dashboard as a tool for evaluating grant applications. Specifically, the foundation identified 10 indicators on the broader dashboard that were critically important to their mission. The foundation plans to evaluate future funding requests based on the applicant’s ability to impact measureable change within those indicators. 

These indicators include the following for Newaygo County, in no particular order:

  • Median income by race
  • Total employment
  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Labor force participation rate
  • Households below the ALICE threshold
  • Third grade reading level
  • 8th grade math proficiency
  • High school graduation rate
  • Post-high school certificates awarded
  • Low birth-weight percentage

By highlighting these 10 specific indicators, the Fremont Area Community Foundation will be able to better serve its strategic goals, while the broader Newaygo County Dashboard they’re a part of provides 20 more social, economic, and environmental indicators for the county. This wider range of dashboard indicators will provide other stakeholders in Newaygo County with the opportunity to analyze local year-overyear data aligned with their respective organizational missions. 

If your organization has been using either the Newaygo County Dashboard or the West Michigan Regional Dashboard to further your strategic goals, The Right Place wants to hear from you. Please contact us at info@rightplace.org to share your story.