A Century of Experience

1910s In the fall of 1916, Wilder Charity hires noted Boston sociologist Dr. Carol Aronovici to conduct a survey of Saint Paul housing conditions. The shocking findings – sections of the city were described as wholly unsuited for human habitation – prompt public outrage that results in the enactment of the first Saint Paul Housing Ordinance.
1940s Wilder's Board of Directors authorizes a formal Research and Statistics division which begins to organize census data to monitor the trends and needs of the metro area and to assist nonprofit organizations with evaluations of their programs and services.
1970s Wilder Research Center develops a client record system for Wilder Foundation. It also begins to conduct needs assessment studies of specific populations including the elderly, single parents, and young adults living in the East Metro area.
1980s Wilder Research expands its reach with a statewide study that examines issues around older people. Wilder's first homeless study uncovers the plight of homeless families, youth, and children living in Saint Paul. 
1990s Metro Trend Watch defines and tracks the overall health of the East Metro area by developing and maintaining a set of indicators to show whether the community is becoming better or worse.
TODAY The homeless study, now conducted every three years statewide, receives national recognition for its critical role in providing data used by state and local planners, policy makers and service providers. Minnesota Compass, expanded from Metro Trend Watch, provides trend data on almost every topic that affects the state's well-being. Wilder Research continues to break new ground, including its work on measuring the costs and economic benefits of human service programs and policies.

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