Assessing Human Needs in Frederick County
Did you know that Frederick County is one of the fastest growing counties in Maryland? Because of this, it is undergoing important demographic and social changes not only because of growth but also because of its role as a commuter suburb of the surrounding metropolitan areas.
This change affects all of us and brings more attention to pressing human needs in our community. In 2011, the Community Foundation and a group of sponsors commissioned the first Frederick County Human Needs Assessment. We wanted a solid, unbiased assessment to guide our grantmaking, and from that, we’ve been strategically focused on providing grants to organizations addressing health care, school-readiness, and homelessness. Last year, we commissioned another county-wide human needs assessment to update the 2011 study (again, via a third-party, unbiased source) to see if and how the most pressing areas of human need had changed. The data has just been released, showing that the most pressing needs have changed, but the needs from 2011 still exist and are contributing factors to the current issues. In this update, supporting families with children, preparing for an aging population, and responding to substance use disorder have risen to the top.
What happens now? First, the 2018 data will be used by local nonprofits and government agencies as they review their programs and build new ones, and it will assist them in applying for grants from many funding sources. Second, the data will help the Community Foundation continue to do meaningful strategic grantmaking with a focus on the areas of greatest need. Our advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and education within the community will continue as we work with our nonprofit and government partners to create positive change within the newly identified areas.
An exciting new component of the 2018 Human Needs Assessment is the “visualization tool.” This online, interactive, dynamic tool allows users to examine important local, state, and national trends over the prior 20 years related to human needs in Frederick County. It’s based on the aggregation of many different official sources of demographics and statistics, including information from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census/American Community Survey. The visualization tool will continue to be updated as new data becomes available.
The complete 2018 Human Needs Assessment Report, executive summary, and the visualization tool can be accessed through our website at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/NeedsReport. I urge you to look at all the information available. The human needs discussed here pose significant challenges that will require broad community participation and support to secure Frederick County’s future.
A huge thank you to our co-sponsors of the 2018 report: Ausherman Family Foundation, The Joseph D. Baker Fund, Delaplaine Foundation, Frederick County Government, The Robert C. and Jane E. Ladner Charitable Fund, Helen J. Sirini Foundation, and United Way of Frederick County. Their generosity made possible the significant expansion of effort of this project.
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