UWSEAK presents dashboard: a better way to look at data

Advances in technology change the way societies operate. From the creation of the wheel to the recent technological advances with smart phones, we find ourselves wondering how we ever lived without them. Advances such as these streamline our life and allow us to function with ease. McDowell Group has created a system that changes the way data is managed, viewed, and shared. Their new dashboard tool streamlines data and creates a system that allows us to research with ease.

Dashboards, created by synthesizing data into interactive charts and graphs, provide information in a quick glance. Jim Calvin, principal and senior economic analyst for McDowell Group, believes that “dashboards are a great way to clearly and concisely present data in a very interactive, user-friendly way.” For Calvin, the purpose of dashboards is multifaceted. “Whether for analysis of data for internal management purposes, or for communicating information externally, business and organizations can enjoy quick and easy access to large amounts of information.”

Dashboards are a critical tool utilized by United Way of Southeast Alaska. Through a generous partnership with McDowell Group and modeled on a previous dashboard created for the Southeast Conference, United Way has created striking visualizations of community indicators (measured data points) for Juneau for the organization’s three areas of focus: education, income, and health. These indicators are used to spotlight critical information that is relevant to many community organizations across the region.

Wayne Stevens, president of United Way of Southeast Alaska, said, “We have this wealth of data hidden inside a COMPASS report, but it is not readily accessible to everyone.”

The dashboard turns a bulky, data-heavy report into an instantly accessible, concise and interactive database. Stevens is “pleased that McDowell Group was willing to work with us to convert raw data into very usable tools for people to be able to access online.”

The importance of such a tool is immeasurable.

When asked why the COMPASS report is so crucial, Stevens responded, “There is an old adage of ‘What gets measured gets done.’ This provides us a tool to measure the data and see if we are headed in the right direction. As we develop new solutions to problems we can track outcomes.”

While the United Way dashboard currently only shows indicators for Juneau, United Way and McDowell Group are working to add other communities from the existing COMPASS data report, as well.

The practical uses of this tool are not limited to United Way. The Juneau information housed on the United Way dashboard (found at unitedwayseak.org) and McDowell Group’s original dashboard on the Southeast economy (found at McDowellGroup.net), are accessible to other organizations and groups. Combined, these tools have a wealth of information about Southeast Alaska that could be crucial for other non-profits, businesses, schools and even individuals. These two dashboards provide information on the health, education, and economics of the Southeast Alaska community as a whole, as well as the smaller, individual communities.

This isn’t just for us. This is a tool for you. For the non-profit fighting to feed and house the homeless; for the school striving to educate its students; for the business searching for a way to give back; for the individual passionate and driven to improve their community. Compare what you thought with what’s real. Find out where you stand in the numbers. Use the tool to determine, segment, and target your audience. Utilize the dashboard to show your staff, your supporters, your friends, and family what your mission is and why.

Take a look. See where we stand, where we fall short, and where we can go in the future.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Treadway with United Way of Southeast Alaska at 463-5530 or staff@unitedwayseak.org.


Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Communications scholarship open

Alaska Professional Communicators are offering two $1,000 scholarships for students planning a career in communications and majoring in any phase of public communications, including public relations, advertising, radio-television, video and print.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Thank you from Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thanks to the City and Borough of Juneau tax revenue and the CBJ Activities Grant, five big and little matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program enjoyed an afternoon of free skating at the Treadwell Ice Arena!

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Thank you from the American Red Cross of Alaska

On Feb. 17, 2017 we celebrated our 100-year anniversary as the American Red Cross of Alaska. It was very important to us to kick-off the year in Juneau as the original Red Cross of Alaska Charter was in Juneau. We are so happy we did! We have so many people to thank for making the evening not only fun, but heart-warming as well. We first have to thank the volunteers that worked so hard. Thank you to Buddy Custard, board member extraordinaire, for all of your guidance, humor, and hard work. Thank you Teresa Maria Abella for asking Senator Egan to be our Honorary Chair, for plastering the town with posters, for your fundraising efforts, your excitement, your photography, and just in general for being such a blessing to the Red Cross team. Senator Egan and Jesse Keihl, what can we say? You were amazing and helpful and patient. I will miss our meetings and the laughter that always ensued. We would be very remiss if we did not thank Governor Walker for giving us your time and for sharing your Red Cross story. Your commitment and support are deeply appreciated and we were touched beyond measure by your decision to attend and speak at our celebration. Lt. Governor Mallott and Mrs. Mallott, thank you for attending and supporting our mission. You bring such a sense of calm and grace wherever you go, we are humbled that you shared that with us. Last, but most definitely not least, we must thank all of our volunteers. The American Red Cross is a volunteer-run organization with only 14 staff for the entire state of Alaska. We could not help the hundreds of Alaskans that we do without volunteers. Our volunteers are the ones that get up at 2 a.m. when we receive a call about a house fire. They leave their homes and families to help others if there is a large disaster either in Alaska or in some other part of the country. I have said it many times, and will continue to say it: Red Cross volunteers are the best in the world. They are selfless, kind, generous people who only want to help. For this celebration there are a few in particular we need to thank: Karen Petersen, Peter Chaille, June Johnson, Joyce Levine, Michelle Brown, Carolyn and Dan Garcia, Chip Wagoner, Rebecca Trude, Rick Janelle, Patricia and Kyle Lamson, Bob Bassett, and T Iputi! Thank you Juneau and Southeast Alaska for supporting the American Red Cross of Alaska’s first 100 years; we look forward to the next 100!

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Planetarium presents ‘Aurora’

The Marie Drake Planetarium will present “Aurora” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by “The Sky Tonight” on the Spitz projector. The event is free and for all ages.

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