Major grants awarded to UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs

LIFE Study press conference

The quality of life in a community is sometimes hard to get a handle on. But a new effort is underway to study the quality of life in the Fox River region.

“This is quite a huge, collaborative effort that has really taken a lot of effort,” said professor Lora Warner, the director of Center for Public Affairs at UW-Green Bay.

Warner is managing a project called the LIFE Study, or Leading Indicators for Excellence. UW-Green Bay received more than $212,000 in grants from 10 non-profit groups in northeastern Wisconsin to conduct the yearlong study.

The study will examine 10 key areas including education, public safety, children and families, economic conditions, environmental issues, recreation and the arts.

“The nice thing about this type of study is it spawns a lot of other cooperation at the community level,” Warner said. “Not only can you use the info to write for grants or to look for patterns, but you can also use it to start initiatives.”

The research will include a survey of community leaders and citizens, focus groups and other data. The Fox Cities has conducted the LIFE Study before.

“Kind of like a report card, if you will, in the community,” said Margie Weiss, chair of the LIFE Study committee in the Fox Cities. “We’ve used it to gauge how we’re doing, what are we improving on, what needs improvement in the area.”

Weiss says this year’s study should provide a broader look at the quality of life because so many communities are participating.

“What’s unique about the regional aspect is that there’s so much overlap in terms of where people live, work and play between Green Bay, Oshkosh and the Fox Cities, that it makes sense to pull all that information together and to look at some regional strategies as they relate to improving quality of life in the region as a whole,” Weiss said.

Warner will be working with the St. Norbert College Survey Center on the study. She says the goal is to develop a clear understanding of the quality of life in the area and help identify needs and priorities moving forward.

“I would like the community to realize what an unusual act of visionary leadership for these funding partners, these philanthropic organizations, to step out in this way and really bring together these communities,” Warner said.

Results of the study will be released in September of 2011.

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