A Recommendation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Agency-Led Community Needs Assessments: A Special Studies Project Open Access

Wagner, Yvonne Corrinne (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/4b29b604b?locale=en


Introduction: As part of the Feeding America network of 200+ food banks and serving agencies like pantries, shelters, and community kitchens across a 29-country region of northwest Georgia, Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) is responsible for meeting guidelines of capacity building for itself and its agencies. Frequent and systematic collection of information about clients and communities is part of that, which is why ACFB is in need of a system that gives a more localized and complete understanding of client needs than the Hunger in America study currently provides.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to develop a community needs assessment (CNA) toolkit for ACFB partner agencies to use in conducting research about their clients and communities to help expand ACFB's ability to collect information beyond its current internal capacity. It will be an easy-to-use tool that allows for both customization by the agency based on its needs and standardization of data collection for easier regional analysis by ACFB.

Method: The toolkit was developed through a review of current CNA toolkits available for food-based nonprofits and interviews with ACFB staff and agency partners. It was informed by needs laid out by ACFB and partners and a variety of reliable CNA and data collection tools.

Results: The CNA toolkit was created with five steps for implementation, a GIS mapping component, and standardized survey modules based on tested tools in food security, tradeoffs, coping strategies, and food environment perceptions. It was revised and a final product was based on feedback from ACFB staff and agency contacts.

Discussion: ACFB must build out the GIS portion of the CNA toolkit and conduct complete pilot testing for the toolkit to become a useful product for agency analysis. ACFB must also invest more resources in personnel and agency funding to ensure successful adoption both internally and by agencies to be able to meet the Feeding America capacity building guidelines.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction and Background. 1

1.1 Introduction and rationale. 1

1.2 Problem statement. 10

1.3 Purpose statement. 10

1.4 Objectives. 11

1.5 Significance statement. 11

Chapter 2: Methods. 12

2.1 ACFB staff interviews. 12

2.2 ACFB agency interviews. 13

2.2 Review of current CNA toolkits for food-related nonprofits. 14

2.3 Assembly of toolkit. 15

2.4 Toolkit revisions. 15

Chapter 3: Results. 16

3.1 Community Needs Assessment Toolkit 16

Chapter 4: Discussion. 18

4.1 Strengths and limitations. 18

4.2 Recommendations. 20

4.3 Conclusion. 23

Bibliography. 24

Appendix: Community Needs Assessment Toolkit for Agency Partners. 25

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