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June 15, 2003 – The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has awarded the Eastern Caribbean Center at the University of the Virgin Islands a grant of $15,000 to enable the center to conduct a 2003 survey to gather up-to-date demographic data about the territory's residents.
The grant will close the gap in a funding shortfall for this year's Virgin Islands Community Survey project, according to a CFVI release.
The center, which also manages the U.S. Census data collection in the territory every 10 years, conducted the first V.I. Community Survey in 2001. Similar to the census, the community survey is to be done every other year, gathering data from a sample of about 2,500 households.
"This grant is consistent with the Community Foundation's priorities to address needs not met by public funding sources and to leverage the use of other resources in our community," the release stated.
According to Dr. Frank Mills, director of the Eastern Caribbean Center, the V.I. Community Survey "is the primary vehicle for the collection of current demographic data of the Virgin Islands." He said the survey "is an important tool in the preparation of grant requests from the Virgin Islands to federal agencies, private foundations and other possible donors."
The availability of current demographic data also is crucial for organizations and individuals working to address the long-term needs of the U.S. Virgin Islands, he said.
The survey gathers data about household incomes and relationships along with demographics such as age, place of birth and education.
Mills said he had hoped to conduct a supplemental survey to collect more socioeconomic information. "That's the really interesting data," he said. However, for this year funding was not available for a supplemental study.
A supplemental survey done last year had to do with the way people perceive the government. The results of that research should be forthcoming soon, Mills said.
The standard statistical information — which interviewers will begin gathering as early as Monday — will be key to the Community Foundation's production of its 2003 V.I. Kids Count report later this year. For that reason it was important for CFVI to support this year's survey, Mills said. The foundation has issued the reports for the last three years.
Ricardo J. Charaf, CFVI board chair, said the grant was a way to acknowledge "the vital work of the Eastern Caribbean Center."
Charaf said it is CFVI's goal "to support long-term strategic initiatives in our community and to maximize the impact of our donors' giving." He called the $15,000 grant to carry out the 2003 V.I. Community Survey "a most worthwhile investment."
The foundation was established in 1990 to serve the children and families of the Virgin Islands. The release stated that CFVI has more than 50 funds created by individuals and businesses to support educational, environmental, social and cultural initiatives in the Virgin Islands.
The grant for the survey has been made from the Community Service Fund, which was established by members of the local business community to support the efforts of Virgin Islanders seeking to contribute to the revitalization of the community.

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