Vital Signs 2018

Muskoka Community Foundation

Muskoka Community Foundation is one of 191 community foundations in Canada that work with passionate donors to establish endowment and other funds that have ongoing impact in their communities. Since 2007 Muskoka Community Foundation has granted over $300,000 to local charities supporting a variety of initiatives and programs as well as administering over 1 million dollars in endowed and other assets.

The mission of Muskoka Community Foundation (MCF) is to champion the power of giving and its enduring impact, and to connect philanthropy to community needs.

In the last ten years, Muskoka Community Foundation has worked to foster community vitality and resilience by:

  • Creating endowment funds and granting the investment income from those funds to a wide range of Muskoka charities;
  • Connecting donors with causes they care about and ensuring their contributions continue to grow; and
  • Building capacity and celebrating community through special events, workshops and symposiums.

As part of Muskoka Community Foundation’s ongoing efforts to create awareness and understanding of the issues impacting Muskoka, the Foundation has begun work to create a Muskoka Vital Signs® Report.


Vital Signs®

Vital Signs® is a national program led by community foundations across the country. It is an initiative registered to and coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada that leverages local knowledge to measure the vitality of communities and support action towards improving the collective quality of life.  Initiated in 2001 by the Toronto Foundation, today close to 100 community foundations across Canada and around the world use Vital Signs® to mobilize the power of community knowledge to expand and improve local impact.

Vital Signs® reports and Vital Conversations are used by residents, businesses, community organizations, universities and colleges, and government leaders to take action and direct resources where they will have the greatest impact. Vital Signs® gathers data and publishes reports on significant social and economic trends to tell the story of how communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas. Community foundations use Vital Signs® to build community knowledge, set strategic priorities, inform grant making and inspire civic engagement.

Vital Signs® Reports

At the first Muskoka Community Foundation symposium, ‘Building a Smart & Caring Muskoka’ held on Wasan Island in 2014, participants suggested that the foundation consider creating a Vital Signsâ report for Muskoka.  These reports use community knowledge to measure the vitality of communities – gathering data and sparking conversation about significant social and economic trends.  In June 2017, Muskoka Community Foundation hosted 29 people in six facilitated conversations focussed on: Economic Health and Income Security, Health and Well-being, Housing, Community Safety, Environment and Arts, Culture and Recreation. The Wasan Island symposium,  ‘Vital Signsâ –  Telling Muskoka’s Story’, was the culminating Vital Conversation in the 2017 series and it brought together charities, government, community members and donors to consider a Vital Signsâ specifically for Muskoka.

Community Foundations of Canada provide support to individual community foundations to prepare annual Vital Signsâ reports by suggesting effective indicators of community health, providing data, suggesting communication approaches and providing report templates. The reports are launched by community foundations across the country during the first week of October each year and are intended to spark community discussion and inspire community action. Current and past Vital Signsâ publications for other communities are available on the Community Foundations of Canada’s website at

Based on the response at the Vital Conversations and at the Symposium ‘Vital Signs® – Telling Muskoka’s Story’, Muskoka Community Foundation is excited to pursue the creation of Vital Signs® report specifically for Muskoka for release in the fall of 2018.

Benefits of a Muskoka Vital Signs® Report

  • Muskoka information will be captured to illustrate the conditions particular to our region related to Economic Health and Income Security, Housing, Community Safety, Environment, Health and Well-being and Arts, Culture and Recreation.
  • Vital Signs® would offer accessible information and raise awareness of the unique issues facing Muskoka.
  • A Vital Signs® Report could provide links to provincial data or highlight statistics for Muskoka that could assist in attracting programs or receiving funding.
  • Such a report will provide a snap shot of the community that could be used to raise awareness and could track progress over time.
  • A Vital Signs® report could identify areas that would benefit from collaboration or that present opportunities for action.
  • Charities could use a Vital Signs® report as a source of information to support funding applications or to guide program development.
  • Identify made-in-Muskoka solutions and initiatives designed to address issues such as homelessness, daycare and healthcare.
  • Vital Signs® would bring cross sector stakeholders together to reveal gaps or identify collaborations that could improve the quality of life in Muskoka.


Experience in other communities shows that Vital Signs® can spark community discussion and inspire community action and civic engagement.  Please consider supporting the Muskoka Community Foundation by becoming a sponsor of the 2018 Muskoka Vital Signs® Report.  To learn more about the Muskoka Vital Signs Report contact Muskoka Community Foundation Executive Director, Lynn DeCaro at 705-646-1220 or


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