New web site profiles region

‘State of the Valley’ looks at trends, issues

HUDSON, Wis. — A new web site has launched that offers St. Croix Valley communities a way to measure the region’s quality of life and identify future issues affecting the region.

The St. Croix Valley Foundation in partnership with United Way of Washington County-East, United Way St. Croix Valley, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, Andersen Corp., Bremer Bank and the University of Wisconsin River Falls announced the launch of the new cooperative website called “State of the Valley.”

The site provides lower St. Croix Valley communities with vital county-level information on socioeconomic indicators for Chisago and Washington counties in eastern Minnesota and Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties in western Wisconsin. The St. Croix River is the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, but also a unifying feature for these communities.

The collaborative effort wants to measure quality of life for St. Croix Valley counties with data on community engagement, demographics, economics, education, food security, health, housing and poverty indicators.

“This information is important to local funders. We use it to better understand the needs and gaps in the community,” said Brad Kruse, program director for the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation. “The data found on will help us determine how to allocate funding to keep our communities strong for generations to come.”

The UW-RF Survey Research Center gathered and analyzed data for the “State of the Valley” project and will update data annually with the goal of identifying trends and emerging issues.

“We are excited to work together to bring the real issues to the surface.  It’s important that members of our community recognize the concerns in their communities,” said Maltee McMahon, non-profit resource specialist for Bremer Bank.

“Combining our resources helped to provide a comprehensive view of the St. Croix Valley,” said John Coughlin, executive director for United Way St. Croix Valley. “It’s a great collaborative effort and we’ll continue to work together to keep the information updated with the latest statistics and data.”

“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,” said Jill Shannon, director of grants and programs of St. Croix Valley Foundation.

The goal of this collaborative effort is to inform the community. “It takes the entire community to keep a community strong. Together we have the power to make a real difference,” said Angie Lien, executive director of United Way of Washington County-East.