DataKind Commits to Create a Full-Time, In-House Data Science Team for Good

September 22, 2014

Building on Successful Track Record of Volunteer-led Projects, Commitment to be launched at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

At the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, DataKind announced a commitment to build an in-house, six-person team of expert data scientists to tackle high-impact problems in the social sector. DataKind’s commitment builds on our successful track record of more than 45 volunteer-led projects that have benefited NGOs, multilateral organizations and government agencies since DataKind’s launch in 2011.

In line with this year’s CGI Annual Meeting theme, “Reimagining Impact,” DataKind’s new in-house data science team will pursue five high-impact, cross-sector data science projects over the next three years. Long-term initiatives will be selected in partnership with major stakeholders, such as foundations, governments, and social sector experts - and vetted for their potential to create scalable solutions to benefit the entire social sector. Projects will be considered across a wide range of topics, from analyzing mobile money data to increase financial inclusion to scouring satellite images for coastline preservation. Each project will last between six and twelve months and involve months of preparation, project scoping, and detailed execution.

As our Executive Director, Jake Porway, explains, “the data challenges facing the social sector demand an effort of this caliber and capacity. Mobile phones, sensors, and new software have created an abundance of data that can be mined, understood, and harnessed to make organizations more effective in almost every sector. Just as the 1990’s saw computing spread to new non-technical disciplines, every field today is having its ‘data moment,’ making any NGO with a mobile phone program just as much a ‘data’ company as a tech startup. Yet for all of this new technology, the challenges to using data for social good are prominent.”

Since its launch, DataKind has bridged the world of professional data science and mission-based organizations to bring data science capacity to these rich, untapped sources of data alongside the experts working in these fields. The same algorithms and techniques that companies use to boost profits can be leveraged by nonprofits to further their missions, from battling hunger to advocating for child well-being and more. However, data scientists who can harness the power of data are extremely expensive and hard to find. Most of this select group is employed in Wall St. and Silicon Valley, unavailable to nonprofits and governments. Additionally, the field of data science is so new that many social organizations don’t yet understand how this new resource could help them achieve their missions. Therefore data science is not often funded, nor is it clear how it could be applied.

“Our new in-house team of data science experts can help us deepen the impact that data science can have on the social sector -- and support critical work to make the world a more humane, liveable and just place. Only when data scientists are available and communicating with the social sector can that data be unlocked for the greater good,” concluded Porway.

Media inquiries:
Robin Deutsch Edwards, DataKind Communications, 646-872-0805, robin@datakind.org

About DataKind:
DataKind™ brings high-impact organizations dedicated to solving the world’s biggest challenges together with leading data scientists to improve the quality of, access to and understanding of data in the social sector. This leads to better decision-making and greater social impact. Launched in 2011, DataKind leads a community of passionate data scientists, visionary partners and mission-driven organizations with the talent, commitment and energy to use data science in the service of humanity. DataKind is headquartered in New York City and has Chapters in Bangalore, Dublin, San Francisco, Singapore, the UK and Washington DC. More information on DataKind, our programs and our partners can be found on our website: www.datakind.org

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.  

 

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