Greenwich United Way Shares 2020 Needs Assessment Results

The Greenwich United Way in partnership with Fairfield University has released its 2020 Needs Assessment. The survey, which is conducted every five years, has been conducted since 1981.

The 2020 Needs Assessment was conducted in conjunction with the Center for Social Impact at Fairfield University for the first time and was the most comprehensive to date, yielding data and input from all areas of Greenwich.

“By collaborating on this Needs Assessment with Fairfield University, we are able to drill down into the results and focus on data specific to individual neighborhoods in Greenwich rather than being limited to working with overly general, town-wide metrics,” said David Rabin, CEO of Greenwich United Way. 

“This functionality is especially important in a town like ours where, for example, the neighborhood with the highest average income level is bordered by the neighborhood with the lowest average income level in town,” Rabin said.

Conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Needs Assessment focused on Greenwich residents’ perceptions of five broadly defined areas of service needs:

  • Basic Human Needs: Equality, housing, nutrition, and financial needs
  • Community Resources: Planning and development, environment, service coordination, and immigration support
  • Crisis and Disaster Services: Disaster preparedness, domestic abuse, violence, and crime
  • Families, Children and Seniors: Childcare, education, employment, and recreation
  • Physical and Mental Health: Counseling, healthcare, and substance misuse services

The results of the 2020 Needs Assessment indicate that some of the most pressing areas of concern in the community include affordable housing, education, and mental health and wellness. 

While the assessment was conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has significantly altered the challenges facing Greenwich, the challenges reflected in the assessment are, according to the Assessment of Human Services & State of Greenwich Statistical Report Executive Summary, “in the context of a community with fiscal resources and social capital that can be brought to bear, including the Greenwich United Way.”

“The 2020 Needs Assessment tells the story of a community that is rich in socioeconomic diversity, and the issues that go hand-in-hand with that diversity. Together, we can use this data and our collective expertise to sustain this diversity as one of our greatest assets,” Rabin said.

More than 40 Fairfield University students and four Center for Social Impact student research fellows worked with faculty on the assessment, collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data for the executive report and dashboard.

“The Needs Assessment project was a great opportunity for students and faculty to work intensively on research that would have immediate and meaningful impact for the community,” said Melissa Quan, director of the Center for Social Impact. “The Center for Social Impact is committed to working with community partners to generate and share research that can inform programs and systems that lead to positive change for communities while also building the capacity of our students to be lifelong contributors to the common good.”

Complete survey results can be accessed in the Assessment of Human Services & State of Greenwich Statistical Report dashboard