Project Overview

Purpose To use GIS to make the Heart of West Michigan United Way's community development efforts more effective and efficient while balancing:
  • Assets vs Needs-based development
  • Top-down vs. Bottom-up planning and development
United Way
  • Funds community-based agencies
  • Wants neighborhood-up decision making
  • Interested in coordinated regional planning
  • Interested in building community capacity
  • Wants needs and assets in equation
United Way
Old Methodology
  • Conduct county-wide needs assessment
  • Allocate funds based on results
  • Missed neighborhood specific information
  • Emphasized needs and ignored assets
GIS: Potential 
New Methodology
  • Assess needs of communities
  • Present community assets
  • Link needs and assets
  • Improve planning function
  • Increase community participation
GIS Objectives
  • Better targeted funding
  • Coordinate regional change
  • Collect "encyclopedia of data"
  • Develop working relations with data sources
  • Present data to encourage community analysis, participation, and action
  • Build local GIS capacity (United Way and community)
Where is
Kent County?

GIS development and web design by:
Marc Schlossberg
Urban, Technological, & Environmental Planning (UTEP)
University of Michigan