Passing data to a partial in standard-layout

My problem is fairly straightforward. All my web pages share
standard-layout.rhtml. This layout renders a set of links in the footer
of the page using a partial. I want these links to be dependent upon
which controller and action is being called. To this end, I want a
given action on a controller to be able to place into an array a set of
objects, each of which contains information for rendering a link. My
question is, how do I get make that array available to
standard-layout.rhtml? I know that I can place methods in a helper and
these are available to the layout, but I need the data to come from an
action.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Kevin