The Toronto Jewish Community Performance Dashboard

By Daniel Horowitz--As Jewish Toronto continues to grow and flourish, UJA Federation is moving towards evidence-based, data-driven and impact-focused decision making in order to better serve our community. The 2016 Toronto Jewish Community Performance Dashboard, initiated by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, is an important first step in ensuring UJA’s role in building the capacity of our Jewish community to enable data-driven decision making. Many of UJA Federation’s beneficiary agencies are already being asked to do this by their other funders in the public sector.

“Over the past several years it has been a priority for UJA Federation to move towards stronger data-driven decision making,” explains Daniel Rethazy, Chair of the Dashboard Steering Committee. "This includes how we assess the health and vibrancy of our community, the information we use to inform dialogue and debate, and the metrics through which we measure and monitor the performance of our actions and initiatives. The Dashboard project was conceived in response to this need for moving Federation towards a stronger data-driven approach to decision making. It is one of several initiatives underway to understand the impact of our investments and programs. We set out on the Dashboard project with a goal of making the end product easily accessible to the community, easy to understand and digest, and open to idea sharing and ongoing dialogue.”

The first version of the Dashboard includes data from more than 100 community agencies. This first edition provides greater understanding of what data sets exist, as well as providing a glimpse into the potential of what shared data could bring to the community in the future. Over time, the quality and availability of data and outcome measures will improve, as will UJA Federation’s collective ability to conduct analysis and draw insights. UJA Federation’s goal is that the Dashboard will spark dialogue and debate within the community around areas where the organization is doing well, and areas that need more collective attention. UJA Federation expects to expand the number of participating agencies and fine tune the minimally necessary data points over time.  

“Building a community Dashboard that tells the story of the health of the Toronto Jewish community is a complex and multi-faceted project with numerous stakeholders and constituents,” says Rethazy. “The first thing we realized was that, as difficult as it was going to be, we needed to engage a very broad group of stakeholders in the process, including community members, UJA professional staff, and the staff and lay leaders of all the Jewish agencies and sectors that Federation supports. We worked directly with over 100 community agencies to gather information and begin the process. Our approach initially was to ask 3 simple questions; (1) What is the mission and mandate of your organization, (2) what measures indicate whether you are being successful, and (3) which of those measures do you current track today? With this information in hand, we started gathering the measures that were currently available and aggregated them at the Sector level to be able to tell a story of performance for each Community Sector.”

UJA is excited to build capacity in our community around evidence-based decision making and enable outcomes-based approaches.

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