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Woodbury Community Foundation to Announce Survey Results

Group has identified four areas on which it will focus; event planned for Dec. 13 at Woodbury Lutheran Church.

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The group, which works to build philanthropic and volunteer connections in Woodbury, will announce the results of a community survey conducted last year at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13, at .

The Woodbury Community Foundation (WCF) partnered with Wilder Research on the study, which found that residents would like the WCF to focus on youth, jobs, housing and food, said Executive Director Alisa Rabin Bell.

The WCF sent out surveys to 4,000 Woodbury households late last year and the group received more than 900 responses (24 percent), a big number considering officials with Wilder say 5-10 percent would have been good, Bell said.

"We were floored by the response," she said.

Through the survey, the WCF Board of Directors wanted to obtain a more focused idea of Woodbury's social-service needs, Bell said.

Dixie Ewing, the WCF Board chair, said she was somewhat surprised by the survey's results, especially the concern many had for the city's youth.

"But really I shouldn't have been, the poor economy puts a lot of stress on the family structure," she said. "I think that says a lot about Woodbury as a community—that that is what our concern is. It's a good message and not one we want to ignore."

Already the WCF has put together task forces through its board members to address each of the four key areas of concern (youth, jobs, housing and food). They will tap experts in each field to determine the best way to tackle the issues, Ewing said.

There are many resources available to people, especially youngsters, including the city's parks and recreation department, Community Education and the , Ewing said.

"The systems are there, but communication and transportation are issues that need to be worked on," she said. "We're not just talking. We're meeting with professionals and working on ways to get into the substance of these concerns.

Ewing said the presentation is also a way raise awareness of the group and what it's trying to do for Woodbury.

At Monday's event, the WCF will share information about what the group is doing and how people can get involved with its efforts. The foundation isn't a programming entity, Bell said, but partners with groups that help the community, including area churches, the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf, Habitat for Humanity, area youth athletics associations, and the city's parks and public safety departments.

"There's a lot going on, and we can't do it all," Bell said. "We don't expect to be out creating food shelves or doing job fairs. We're trying to empower organizations to take action in the community and help those organizations doing it."

The survey wasn't meant to merely illuminate the issues facing Woodbury, Bell said, and the presentation should help the WCF find people interested in volunteering or funding the group.

"We look at it as an opportunity," Bell said. "We believe in solutions, partnerships, collaborations—bringing people together."

The survey was sponsored by the 3M Foundation, the United Way of Washington County-East and the Greater Twin Cities United Way. Area companies that provided gift certificates for respondents include , the Season's Marketplace gas station and .

Those who attend are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf.

Download the executive summary of the survey by clicking here.

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