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State of the Valley provides quality of life reports

The St. Croix Valley Foundation in partnership with Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, Andersen Corporation, Bremer Bank, United Way St. Croix Valley, United Way of Washington County-East, and the University of Wisconsin River Falls announce an update to the State of the Valley website (www.stateofthevalley.org), providing communities of the lower St. Croix Valley with important county level statistics.

This invaluable resource includes socioeconomic indicators for Chisago and Washington counties in eastern Minnesota and Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties in western Wisconsin.

This collaborative effort aims to measure the quality of life for counties in the lower St. Croix Valley by providing data on community engagement, demographics, economics, education, food security, health, housing, poverty, transportation, and youth. The Survey Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls gathered and analyzed data for the State of the Valley project; as new data becomes available, UWRF updates the information to identify trends and emerging issues.

"This information is important to area funders; we use it to better understand the needs and gaps within the communities of the St. Croix Valley," said Brad Kruse, Philanthropy Director for the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation. "In addition, the reports help us understand how to best allocate funding to keep our communities strong for generations to come."

Angie Pilgrim, Grants and Programs Officer for the St. Croix Valley Foundation added "The information found on State of the Valley is especially helpful to foundations and nonprofits, but the public is also encouraged to visit the website often to learn about the needs in the community and the types of issues residents and local nonprofits are trying to address."

"The goal of this collaborative effort is to inform and empower area residents," said Ann Searles, Executive Director of United Way of St. Croix Valley. "By working together, we improve the odds for children and families throughout our community."

Despite the many factors shaping the regional identity of the St. Croix River Valley, the data presented on the website also show significant variation in terms of socio-economic well-being across the six counties. While most measures of economic well‐being are better in the region than state and national levels, many in our region face serious economic, health, and other challenges. Using the State of the Valley data, the partners hope to identify and respond to the needs in our communities so that all Valley residents have the opportunity to live better lives.

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