Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard Initiative Measures Engagement with Goals for Improvement

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New survey will deliver insights about the current state of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community.

Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard

The online survey will give us a 360-degree view of the current Jewish population in the greater Pittsburgh region.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard launched in February 2014 as a means to gain a deeper understanding of community needs across the region. Today, the Scorecard will kick off a very public online survey effort aimed at creating a comprehensive profile of the entire Jewish population in the Pittsburgh region. The site and the survey can be accessed at http://www.jewishscorecard.com.

“A product of several years of collaborative planning and development, the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard is an online tool designed to serve as a central repository for collecting and assessing data about our performance as a community,” said Meryl Ainsman, chair of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard steering committee. “Using the Scorecard, we can assess our progress toward becoming a more vibrant, thriving, and engaged Jewish community. We believe that if you can’t measure, you can’t improve.”

The effort is led by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and comprised of volunteer organizers and the research consulting agency of Ukeles Associates, Inc., who have been collecting general data for almost a year. In May, however, the team will be asking an estimated 40,000 members of the regional population (across all levels of Jewish affiliation) to complete an online survey about their attitudes, beliefs and engagement in the local Jewish community. No similar survey has been conducted for more than a decade, since the 2001-02 Community Survey of Jewish Pittsburgh was completed.

“The Scorecard data collected to date is primarily an inventory of basic community facts, such as Jewish learning enrollment," noted Ainsman. “In our next wave, the online survey will give us a 360-degree view of the current Jewish population in the region. The key to successful insights will be participation, so we are encouraging everyone – even those with minimal or no affiliation – to complete the survey.”

The Scorecard program is a cooperative effort by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the ten agencies it supports, local Jewish congregations, and other Jewish organizations throughout the region to gather data pertaining to broad-based quality of life factors. The data is gathered, analyzed and posted online where the community can see it and use it to make decisions to improve each area.

Organizers note that the best approach to developing an effective Scorecard is to use an iterative approach: Each successive round of data collection will build on and expand the work of the previous round. The site will report data that is progressively broader in scope and more detailed in focus.

As the project grows, data findings from the Scorecard project will continue to demonstrate value on many fronts. Jewish organizations will be able to more effectively see where opportunities exist to evolve or create programs. Jewish individuals and families will be able to tap information to improve their connections to the community. Beyond the Jewish community, Scorecard data will also reflect important aspects of the Jewish population’s impact on the overall quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.

While Jewish Federations in different parts of the country have employed scorecard programs to measure the effectiveness of their own organizations, no known group has instituted a scorecard to assess the entire community. The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard is being recognized around the country by other Jewish Federations as a model. The Scorecard team notes that the size of this region is small enough to be manageable, yet large enough to be meaningful. In addition, data collected is not intended to “call out” areas of shortcomings, but rather to identify gaps in addressing needs and opportunities for building on successes.

Findings from the new online survey of Pittsburgh’s Jewish population are expected to be collected through mid-2014, with reporting by early 2015. Visit http://jewishscorecard.com/ to learn more and participate in the survey.

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Jennifer Faines (for the Jewish Federation)

Raimy Rubin
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