READING, PA (December 11, 2020) – At the Community Foundation, we do our best to make decisions based on data.
Sometimes that means funding research – if none exists – about a topic that impacts Berks County, like a study we commissioned a few years ago to learn about the ways local children spend time when the school day ends.
Other times, it means developing a resource like Berks Vital Signs (www.berksvitalsigns.org), which pulls together indicators to measure how our community is fairing in certain areas.
It also means sharing data-rich resources with local nonprofits and civic leaders.
There may be no more important resource to share this year than a website called the National Equity Atlas: https://nationalequityatlas.org/, which was created through a partnership between Policy Link and the USC Equity Research Institute.
I encourage everyone – no matter your field or mission – to dig into the easy-to-navigate data on this site. The Reading MSA is included as a region, so the data is local and relevant. Start by clicking on “indicators” at the top of the page and select one that interests you. From there, you can drill down in a number of ways.
For example, if you select “educational attainment,” and our local region, you will find a chart that shows that as a community we’ve reduced the percentage of Berks Countians with less than a high-school diploma from 21% in 1990 to 12% today. If you click “breakdown” at the top of the page, you can parse that data by race and ethnicity, gender, immigration status, and ancestry.
As our local organizations and institutions strive for a more equitable future for Berks County, the data on this site provides powerful insight into where we stand today. It brings into focus the reasons why equity translates into a brighter future for the community. I hope you find it useful in your work.
Senior Vice President for Programs and Initiatives
Berks County Community Foundation