- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new website is helping people determine which areas of need they can meet with their charity dollars in the Omaha metropolitan area, organizers said.

It’s called The Landscape and can be found online at www.thelandscapeomaha.org . The Omaha World-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2hMXVJr ) that it provides a data-driven look at community life in six categories: health, neighborhoods, safety, transportation, workforce and education. The website breaks down the topics to create snapshots and compares local data with national numbers and includes information from neighboring Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River in Iowa.

Sara Boyd, president of the Omaha Community Foundation, said the website puts donors, advocates, nonprofit groups and policymakers “in a position of power” to better identify problems.

Several publicly available studies already point to specific local needs, Boyd said, but that doesn’t mean people can easily access those findings or understand their broader meaning.

For example, the health category explains that in and around Omaha, nearly a quarter of adults living under the poverty line lack adequate coverage or access. A simple graph shows that the rate is higher among Hispanic and black adults.

And as an example, the website features a black woman living in Omaha who lost her job and health insurance. Too poor to pay out-of-pocket medical costs, she went to a community health center for an exam, which detected breast cancer. The nonprofit center helped her apply for Medicare to help cover her radiation treatment and surgery.

The origin of The Landscape stems from the foundation’s 2010 strategic plan, which called for community research to better direct donor dollars. The website has a “get involved” page where community members can search for a nonprofit or find ways they can make a difference.

Information on the last two categories of workforce and education are scheduled to be added to the website in mid-February.

“We want this project to show the reality for our community and our neighbors,” Boyd said. “We have to remember these are not numbers, these are people.”


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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