In 2016, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta launched Impact Areas with measurable objectives as a way to focus our financial, partnership and advocacy investments in the Atlanta region. As a starting point for future trend analysis, we have created an Impact Area dashboard that captures baseline values. The following narrative, drafted by Kathy Palumbo, our Well-being Impact Area lead, provides analysis and commentary of that data. The full set of metrics, in addition to all demographic and socioeconomic variables, can be found on the Foundation’s dashboard.
Kathy Palumbo, public policy specialist
Communities with a high rate of well-being have access to quality health and medical care, enough food for individuals to maintain health and a commitment to understanding and practicing activities which prevent and mitigate chronic diseases. The metro Atlanta region is located within a state that historically has scored lower than other states on these indicators.
The data indicates an increase in the number of persons with health insurance, a reduction in the rate of food insecurity and the omnipresence of chronic diseases among our neighbors. The Foundation considers these metrics not as singular measures but as a class of data that are intricately connected.
Increased health insurance enrollment holds a promise of access to care and is expected to result in decreased use of emergency rooms for primary care as well as the rates of chronic diseases. Given the ongoing debate about regarding national health insurance products and the provision of services in rural communities, future data will impact trends during the next 5-10 years. This includes the availability of federal dollars for health insurance products and confirms the need for continuing, adaptive philanthropic investment in community-based health care and education.
The prevalence of new HIV/AIDS infections in our state (5th highest in the nation; 2,381 persons), despite effective prevention activities and new medical treatments, signals the need for new approaches. These can be designed to provide culturally competent prevention messages, an expansion of the availability of pharmaceutical advances to persons regardless of income and a recognition of the confluence of the opioid epidemic and newly acquired HIV infections. The Foundation’s Atlanta AIDS Fund has a long history of investing in nonprofits that provide prevention and care services. At this juncture, we are eager to explore ways in which local and national philanthropic dollars can better address the miasma which has produced such unnecessary disease and suffering.