If anyone can make data analysis interesting, it’s Chief of Engagement Molly Cox and the SA2020 team led by President and CEO Darryl Byrd. Sa2020’s second annual progress report released Thursday afternoon heralded significant gains in San Antonio– especially in the heath and fitness sector – and revealed certain sectors that are flatlining or getting worse, including poverty and third grade reading performance.
SA2020, the nonprofit forged out of a community vision developed by former Mayor Julián Castro in 2010, has six years remaining to make a lot of progress.
By the numbers, out of the 60 indicators, SA2020 reports that five have been met or exceeded; 16 are on track to be achieved by 2020; 15 are progressing, but off-target to meet the deadline; 15 have stagnated or are getting worse; and nine are “still under development.”
Statistics. Percentages. Gold stars and red checks. But at its core, the data – and SA2020 – tells the story of San Antonio: Where we’ve been and where we’re going, Cox told an audience of more than 300.
The South Texas-based data, technology, and media CI:Now is contracted by SA2020 to perform statistical research for indicators. New this year is a “City Dividends” report by CEOs for Cities, a nonprofit branding and research nonprofit, commissioned by SA2020 to estimate the economic savings or gains that would result in “moving the needle” on various indicators.
“I have the privilege of going to a different city in the United States almost every single week, seeing how they’re approaching moving the needle on the success of their city,” said Lee Fisher, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities. “I wasn’t paid to say this, I came for free … there is no city and there is no organization that is more impressive and is doing more than SA2020 and that’s why I’m here today.”
The value of this data? It shows that social good priorities also have significant economic benefits.
“There’s an argument for people who don’t understand what poverty or educational attainment mean for a city,” Cox said in an interview. “There are people who may think, ‘What does that mean? I don’t have health problems or diabetes – why does this effect me?’ ”
The data demonstrates how everyone and everything is affected.
Of the 11 different cause areas – including Education, Downtown Development, Transportation, Family Well-Being, etc. – Health and Fitness shines as one of the brightest areas of improvement. Initiatives like the San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative, EnrollSA, the Mayor’s Fitness Council‘s Million Pound Challenge, the ¡Por Vida! educational campaign, and Síclovía have contributed to the “on track” status of almost all Health and Fitness indicators.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, fresh from his experience hosting the Bexar County Healthcare Summit on Monday, introduced Andrea Guajardo, the community health director for the nonprofit CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System, who gave an overview of the successes of EnrollSA.
By enrolling more than 76,000 in the Affordable Care Act, Bexar County met 166% of its U.S. Department of Health and Human Services goal to enroll 47,000 out of 212,000 eligible residents, the highest percentage in Texas. San Antonio is on track to achieve the ambitious goal to make sure 85% of the civilian population under 65 has health insurance by 2020.
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative met its SA2020 goal seven years ahead of schedule 2013 to reduce teen pregnancy rate by 15%. Since then, a new goal of a 25% reduction has been established.
The diabetes rate, another Health and Fitness indicator, is on track at 13% in 2012 to achieve the goal of 12.2%.
The adult obesity rate dropped from 35.1% in 2010 to 28.5% in 2012 – easily exceeding the goal of 31.6%.
“Local research from the City of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District suggests that the decline in obesity can be attributed to life-style changes in men, like adopting strength-training exercise routines and women decreasing their daily consumption of sugary drinks,” the report states.
The areas where San Antonio is lagging behind have been prioritized by SA2020 staff: third grade reading proficiency, college enrollment, downtown employment and economic impact, poverty, vehicle miles traveled/commute time, and others. Some of the solutions are more evident than others.
For instance, when emergency response times from police and firefighter personnel were lagging, the San Antonio Fire and Police Departments mobilized across the two organizations to streamline processes. The goal to reduce emergency response times to eight minutes or less has been met. The average response time now is 7:10.
Poverty, however, is a more complicated problem that involves multiple factors – education, employment, affordable housing, family well-being – that must be addressed to meet the goal of reducing the poverty rate to 9.7% by 2020. The poverty rate had increased to 21.7% by 2012.
Knowing where we fall behind is critical information for the 89 organization/business partners that rally around causes and for the individual San Antonians looking for way to contribute.
“We have a lot of work to do – double down on the stuff we need to work harder on and recommit to the things we’re doing well,” Byrd said.
On Track/ Meet Exceed:
- Increase attendance for arts and culture
- Increase volunteerism
- Reduce emergency response times (achieved)
- Reduce index crime rate (achieved)
- Improve satisfaction with community safety
- Increase downtown housing units
- Reduce unemployment
- Increase employment in target industries
- Increase high school graduation rate (achieved)
- Reduce water use
- Increase renewable energy
- Reduce energy use
- Increase recycling rates
- Decrease child abuse neglect
- Reduce obesity (achieved)
- Reduce diabetes rate
- Reduce teen birth rate (achieved, modified)
- Increase access to health care
- Reduce health and behavioral risks
- Increase center city population
- Increase inner-loop housing construction
Flat or Falling:
- Increase economic impact of creative sector
- Increase employment in creative industries
- Increase philanthropic giving
- Increase attendance at community safety training
- Increase downtown employment
- Improve downtown economic impact
- Increase professional certificates
- Improve third grade reading
- Increase college enrollment
- Improve air quality index
- Increase employment in green industries
- Reduce poverty rate
- Increase walkability
- Decrease commute time
- Decreased vehicle miles traveled
“If you only look at the numbers, what you’re missing is the full story of the progress the city is making across the board,” Cox said. “If measuring progress is the beginning of that story, what do we do with that progress once its measured? Internally, in our offices, we dance a little bit. Or a lot. Externally, we use it to provide support to our partners.”
Action Networks have been formed around the more complicated indicators. For instance, increasing voter turnout is one of those indicators that’s “under development.” SA2020 Ambassador Lindsay Rodriguez – who works for Yelp San Antonio and has authored op-ed pieces for the Rivard Report – described the Voter Turnout Action Network, led by UTSA College of Public Policy students and faculty, is working with SA2020 staff to identify the district with the lowest voter turnout.
“We need to find out where people aren’t voting and why they aren’t voting,” Rodriguez said. Once a problem is identified, different strategies/solutions will be tested and successful attempts will be replicated across the city.
A social design class at the University of the Incarnate Word that will aim to create a focused, bilingual voting awareness campaign.
Less than 7% of San Antonians voted in the 2013 municipal elections, said District 8 Councilmember Ron Nirenberg. “That’s devastating to the future of our community.”
Connecting those reports and resources is the next step for SA2020.
Thursday also marked the enhancement of SA2020’s website. Now, each indicator can be thoroughly explored with real-time data instead of the stagnant reports from various statistical reporting years.
“What our partners have been saying is, ‘Data is great, but once a year really doesn’t do it for us, how can we really use that data in a way that’s actionable?'” said SA2020 Chief Strategist Jeanne Russell. “In future iterations we’ll be able to also map this by geography, offer demographic information and really let people dig into the data around strategies.”
Anyone can dig into the Data Dashboard at www.SA2020.org/progress.
“Under development” indicators are associated with goals that have proven difficult to measure. The SA2020 team is working to find data, or indicators, that will most effectively measure these goals. For instance, how would a city measure citizen’s “satisfaction with arts and culture?” The Department for Creative and Cultural Development hasn’t released a report since 2012, so an effort is underway to find out how SA2020 can obtain this data for its own use and for the DCCD.
“These indicators were important enough to still try to figure out how to measure,” Cox said of the indicators’ pending status. These gaps are due partly to the restructuring of indicators informed by community input from the first progress report release in June 2013. Click here to download a thorough report on what was changed and why.
Notably absent from Thursday’s event was Mayor Ivy Taylor, only making a brief cameo in a video played for the audience of more than 300 at the start of the sold out luncheon. District 1 Councilmember Diego Bernal whose district represents an entire cause area (Downtown Development), also couldn’t make it.
District 2 Councilmember Keith Toney, District 5 Councilmember Mari Aguirre-Rodriguez, and District 10 Councilmember Mike Gallagher joined Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Rep. Mike Villarreal, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett at the event. District 4 Councilmember Rey Saldana hosted a district watch party. The luncheon was also streamed live by NOWCastSA.
By the end of the meeting, Cox had every one standing at their table. Group by group, she asked for policy makers, philanthropic enterprises, nonprofit organizations associated with one of SA2020’s cause, and the people that work for them to stand up.
“If you are an individual who has time, energy, talent, money – if you could be one person who makes a difference on SA2020 indicators,” she said. “Get yourselves standing up right now.”
“Can you image if every single person left this room, or left their watch party or got up out of their desk today and said, ‘I’m going to do something that relates to SA2020 measures and actually move the needle on the indicator that is most important to me and my soul?’ How much change could happen just from today?
“You have been anointed, you are officially an ambassador for SA2020 and we want you to go forth.”
*Featured/top image: SA2020 Chief of Engagement Molly Cox speaks to the crowd during the 2014 SA2020 Progress Report luncheon. Photo by Iris Dimmick.