COMPASS Background

What is COMPASS of Larimer County?

COMPASS is a website displaying a variety of data on important social issues in Larimer County. By providing this data, in categories such as crime & safety, physical health, affordable housing and many others, this website attempts to measure progress at a community-wide level.

In addition to statistics, COMPASS posts reports and studies about our county, does comparative analyses of Larimer County to Colorado and the U.S., and provides links to many other valuable sources of local and national data. This site also has a sort capability that allows users to sort by three elements: age, geographic region, and areas of interest, which includes categories such as Achieving Personal & Family Self-Sufficiency and Promoting Quality of Life for Seniors. For example, if a user chose Loveland and children, links to data on every topic that included both of those elements would be retrieved.

Information is constantly being added and updated, making COMPASS a continuous living report on the quality of life in Larimer County. Therefore, COMPASS is an invaluable tool for researchers, realtors, policy makers, grant writers, students, and others who need to know facts about our county.

How it Began

This database is the outgrowth of several local organizations' desire to improve the quality of life in Larimer County. Those involved believed that community improvements could happen more efficiently if everyone worked together from the same base of information. A steering committee was formed to create such a base. In their search for a way to achieve this goal, they found COMPASS.

Originally, COMPASS was a product of the United Way of America. In 1999, Larimer County was chosen as one of ten pilot communities in the nation to test United Way's COMPASS 2.0 product. COMPASS2.0 is a community building process. The steering committee adapted United Way's COMPASS 2.0 process model to meet our community's specific needs. In order to determine those needs, COMPASS staff met with nearly 200 community leaders and experts from many different fields and communities within Larimer County. Their feedback provided the initial list of statistics used to create the site.

COMPASS leaders went to great efforts to make the data usable for the entire community. For over two years, project leaders collected data from hundreds of sources, such as government agencies, private studies, community surveys, human service agencies, local census data, and special reports. COMPASS staff often needed to pull together raw data from several sources and organize just the elements that reflected one concept or measure. Graphs were created for easy presentation and comparisons across communities and over time.

When the initial site was launched for testing in April 2001 it contained information on nearly 80 different measurements and over 100 graphs. The 2nd release in October 2001 featured an improved user-friendly format, 140 measures and more than 200 graphs.

Who Created COMPASS?

Arts Alive
City of Fort Collins
Colorado State University
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Fort Collins Area United Way*
Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
Healthier Communities Coalition
Larimer County Health & Human Services Division (the HHS Division was dissolved in 2010)
Community Foundation serving Northern Colorado
Poudre Health Services District
Bohemian Foundation
United Way of Loveland, Berthoud, Estes Park*

* In 2003, Fort Collins Area United Way and United Way of Loveland, Berthoud, Estes Park merged to become the United Way of Larimer County

Acknowledgements

COMPASS would like to thank all the persons who contributed to the creation of this web site including members of the steering and data committees as well as the hundreds of people who assisted in the selection and acquisition of the data.

Steering Committee Members (In alphabetical order):
Linda Bobbitt, Project Coordinator: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Kay Collins: Healthier Communities Coalition
Kris Cord: Community Foundation
Richard Guest: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Nancy Hartley, Chair: CSU
Tess Heffernan: City of Fort Collins
Bob Hix: United Way of Loveland, Berthoud & Estes Park
Beth Juday: Stryker-Short Foundation
Ruthanne Kastner: City of Fort Collins
Rob Kneable: Arts Alive
Sharon Kulesa: Coloradoan
Samantha Messer: Fort Collins Area United Way - Vista Volunteer
Marcy McNeal: Healthier Communities Coalition & Team Fort Collins
Darcy Moreng: City of Loveland
Carl Peterson: McKee Foundation
Carol Plock: Poudre Health Services District
Joe Rowan: Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
Kathy Snell: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Gordan Thibedeau, Project Director: Fort Collins Area United Way

Staff
Linda Bobbitt - Larimer County Health & Human Services
Samantha Messer - AmeriCorps Vista volunteer Corporation for National Service
Lisa Summers - Larimer County Health & Human Services
Steve Moore, Web Administrator - Larimer County Information Management Services
Leanne Hemphill - Fort Collins Area United Way

Data Committee
Dr. Cliff Barber: CSU
Linda Bobbitt - Larimer County Health & Human Services
Ramie Liddle: Contractor - Little by Liddle
Samantha Messer - AmeriCorps Vista volunteer
Sasha Pampalone: Poudre Health Services District
Lisa Summers - Larimer County Health & Human Services
Jennifer Wolgemurth: CSU

Prior Data Committee Members
Sue Hewitt: Poudre Health Services District
Jo Birkmeyer: Poudre Health Services District
Susan Lehman: City of Fort Collins
Cindy Quick: Contractor - CSU

Key Informant Process Committee
Vicki Buchanan: Contractor - CSU
Cindy Quick: Contractor - CSU
Robert Thompson: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Linda Bobbitt: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Samantha Messer, Lead Staff: AmeriCorps Vista volunteer w/ Fort Collins Area United Way
Tess Heffernan: City of Fort Collins
Kathy Snell: Larimer County Health & Human Services
Rob Kneable: Arts Alive

Regis University Nursing Students
Cindy Cloyd - Instructor

Fall 1999 Fall 2000 Spring 2001
Amy Doran Jenelle Bartels Missy Barnett
Kristin Fox Crystal Drake Megan Casida
Kelli Gaffield Karen Forest Kate Dirr
Michelle Lach Wendy Hoffman Sarah Livesay
Wendy Maeder Jackie Miller Cindy Morgan
Carrie Mauck Marissa Muller-Meier Martha Reeves
Connie Wince Jennier Suter Tami Torres
Heidi Zink   Kelly Weaver

Contributors and other helpful persons
Art Bavoso: Poudre Health Services District
Corporation for National Service (Vista volunteers): Gale Schladale
Larry Kendall: The Group
John Rivera: Formerly with United Way of Loveland, Berthoud & Estes Park
Curtis Johnson: United Way of America
All those who participated in the Key Informant Process

THANK YOU EVERYONE!