Socrata Foundation Announces 2015 Grants

December 28, 2015 7:00 am PST | Data as a Service, Data Rockstars

At the Socrata Foundation, we’re proud to announce the most recent grantees as well as our new website and official grant application process.

The Socrata Foundation supports society-improving organizations that lack the resources to fulfill their data-driven mission. With a focus on critical and relevant open data efforts, the Socrata Foundation works with organizations that deliver immediate social impact and long-term value for global citizens.

As part of the Pledge 1% movement, Socrata is donating one percent of its time and products to organizations that unleash the power of data to improve society. The Socrata Foundation, which operates autonomously with an independent Board of Directors, works with Socrata on behalf of unique and deserving organizations.

Who Qualifies for a Socrata Foundation Grant?

The Socrata foundation evaluates technology grants based on three criteria:

  1. Those that create new opportunities for underserved communities and regions around the world
  2. Those that represent compelling social ROI but are constrained by economic forces beyond the control of stakeholders
  3. Those that offer the potential to advance open data science and research

Who Are the Recent Grantees?

The Socrata Foundation recently approved grants to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, Safe Streets, and the Accountability Lab.

Jackson, Mississippi

IN 2016, the city of Jackson will become the first local government in Mississippi to implement an open data program. In using data and evidence to help improve its internal efficiency and external effectiveness, Jackson has embarked on a project that relies heavily on gleaning insights from departmental data. Upon entering office, Mayor Tony Yarber discovered that decisions made in the city were not based in fundamental analytics. Yarber’s desire is for the city to make decisions based not on gut feelings, but on real data and statistics.

In 2015, Mayor Yarber declared a state of emergency in the city, saying, “The city’s aged infrastructure system has been plagued by problems for decades, but it has reached a crisis point following severe winter weather.”

Between now and 2031, the city’s plan for repairs estimates Jackson needs $743 million worth of infrastructure work. The particulars of needed repairs are startling: 1,200 miles of streets, 200-plus bridges and hydraulic structures, and 1,100 miles of water main. The miles of drainage ways that are insufficient, according to the plan, were too high to count. The total cost of just those projects is $332 million.

Mayor Yarber firmly believes that data will become the most valuable asset throughout the city of Jackson in solving these problems while spending taxpayer money wisely. As the city starts priority budgeting measures, data will play a vital role in ensuring that the city funds programs and initiatives that are actually improving the lives of residents. The Socrata Foundation is proud to provide a grant for Open Performance to use data to track goals and publicly measure progress against the city’s goals including infrastructure, economic development, and public safety.

Safe Streets

Located in Pierce County Washington, Safe Streets Campaign is a non-profit organization that brings people together — sometimes neighbors who get to know each other for the first time — to take back their streets. Through forming neighborhood block groups, Safe Streets help plant the seed of grassroots, community leadership. That leadership helps hold communities together and links them with can-do people in agencies and organizations to make neighborhoods safe. Working together is the key to reversing crime trends in our neighborhoods. Safe Streets exists to help create better, safer communities throughout Pierce County.

The Socrata Foundation will provide a grant to Safe Streets to license Socrata’s Open Data product to highlight important data and tell a story about crime, neighborhoods, and public safety in Pierce county.

Providing feedback to organized neighbors and funders is key to building on neighborhood organizing strategies. “In particular, we wish to present data we collect on community efficacy with a comparison to crime reduction/prevention. And we wish to provide feedback to community members about the effectiveness of our youth leadership program, especially high school completion and community change project data.”

Accountability Lab

The Accountability Lab partners with civil society organizations in the developing world to build sustainable tools for new and innovative approaches to bolster accountability. The organization works to generate cost-effective relationships based on trust and cooperation rather than co-optation and dependency.

In their own work, the Accountability Lab strives to hold themselves accountable to their donors. In using Socrata’s Open Budget application, the Socrata Foundation will allow Accountability Lab to publish their operating budget and allow them to make their financial data much more accessible and and understandable to their constituents.

Socrata leadership and staff are excited to work with these most recent grantees as they look to move forward their missions to unleash the power of data to improve society. For more information on the Socrata Foundation and to apply for a grant, visit us at SocrataFoundation.org.

About the Socrata Foundation

 


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