Community Foundations Take a Leadership Role in Making Data More Accessible
Community Foundations have long known the value of data in leadership decision-making. Now, several foundations are using Knight Community Information Challenge support to make data more accessible to the rest of the community.
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, for example, has created Neighborhood Nexus, a website that contains local data on topics such as demographics, housing, employment and education. Users can compare data and make interactive maps. Within that site, the foundation is building Neighborhood Corner for local leaders.
“The target audiences for Neighborhood Nexus are nonprofits, foundations, community development corporations, government agencies, community/civic associations, local media, and so on,” said Tahmida Shamsuddin, director of Neighborhood Nexus. “Neighborhood Corner is for neighborhood leaders – those who are actively organizing or involved in community building programs as well as concerned citizens active in mobilizing local resources to address specific local needs.”
The Atlanta foundation hopes to have the entire metro region represented on Neighborhood Corner by the end of the year, Shamsuddin said.
The project ties to the foundation’s efforts to support projects at the neighborhood level.
“We know that engaging people where they live can be transformative for neighbors and our region. The Neighborhood Corner platform is the new model for us to begin thinking about how information can be powerful, and also how it can be a bridge builder and community engagement model for how we interact with neighborhoods in our region.”
Here are other examples of how community foundations are opening up data to local citizens:
- The Denver Foundation and the Piton Foundation are partnering to create Floodlight, a storytelling platform that residents and groups can use, and Data Engine, a data hub.
- The Boston Foundation is partnering with a local planning agency to create Metro Boston DataCommon, a site where users can find significant local data and create visualizations.
- The Chicago Community Trust has become deeply engaged in improving broadband access and in making government data more accessible, including support for the Smart Chicago Collaborative.
To learn more and apply for the Knight Community Information Challenge, visit informationneeds.org.