Shining a Light on Community: Looking Back at DataKind’s Virtual DataDive® Event

We hosted a DataDive® event in fall 2021, and with it being the season of giving, we thought what better time to share some highlights and express our deepest gratitude to our partners, volunteers, and sponsors for making this yet another successful and impactful event.

While it was fully virtual, the DataDive event had a strong Florida focus – from our partners to our funders to a number of volunteer technologists. We also selected projects that addressed a Florida need but had the potential for a much broader impact. This is why we selected the theme of Shining a Light on Community to Advance a Nation. While the Sunshine State was well represented, we’re thrilled that the entire DataKind community showed up in force to attend the high-energy, marathon-style event.

We’re so honored and humbled at how our global community of new and veteran DataKinders came together to “dive” into three Data Science and AI for Good projects and boost the impact of these mission-driven organizations working on the urban digital divide, policy change, and gender equity. Our DataDive events remain one of the best ways to experience the energy, intentionality, and impact our work has in real-time. 

The DataDive event began on Friday, September 17, 2021 with two great gatherings. Over 140 people joined a Lunch & Learn session with Romeo Kienzler, Chief Data Scientist from the IBM Center for Open Source Data and AI Technologies, before we started our Kick-Off that evening. These kick-off events are a great opportunity to learn more about the DataDive projects and the partner organizations, and to hear the team leaders discuss project goals and challenges. Take a look at the recording below!

On day two, Saturday, September 18, 2021, over 300 volunteers from 25 countries across 19 time zones joined us, staying engaged and working around the clock to leverage the power of data science and AI. 

From ensuring Floridians “See the Girl” with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center to combating housing insecurity with New America’s Future of Land and Housing Program to understanding broadband equity with University of Chicago’s Center for Data and Computing, we’re so grateful to have partnered with amazing social impact organizations.

Learn more about the work that was done during the DataDive event below!

Ensuring Floridians “See the Girl” with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center

Back in 2007, more girls in Duval County, FL were being locked up than in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tampa combined. Girls were being sent to commitment programs far from their homes and subjected to horrific abuse. When the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center opened in 2013, it infused new energy into the Justice for Girls Reform Movement and altered the trajectory of thousands of girls’ lives forever. Today, the Policy Center now drives large-scale, research-based reform. The Policy Center relies on accessing and using timely and trustworthy data to advance their key bodies of work and ground their work in the lived experiences of girls and young women. However, the process of accessing, extracting, transforming, and assessing this crucial data is a deeply resource-intensive, bespoke process. We partnered with the Policy Center to help them make sense of all the data streams at their fingertips and created easy-to-use visualizations, removing a key resourcing bottleneck and helping them to serve more individuals and ensure that all Floridians “See the Girl”. 

Combating housing insecurity with New America’s Future of Land and Housing Program

Two billion people, over a quarter of the world’s population, lack a fundamental human right: the right to property. This isn’t solely a problem in the developing world; nearly five million Americans lose their homes through eviction and mortgage foreclosure every year. Housing insecurity is an acute emergency that has been made worse by COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. New America’s Future of Land and Housing (FLH) program aims to help solve today’s land and housing rights challenges, both in the U.S. and internationally. We teamed up with FLH and produced a series of national-level heat maps and visualizations for three Florida counties (Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, and Orange), helping them to understand the broader state of housing assistance in order to better advise local partners on where, how, and to whom to target housing assistance and other aid. 

Understanding broadband equity with University of Chicago’s Center for Data and Computing

Educational and economic opportunity, as well as health outcomes, depend on the availability of affordable, high-speed internet access. The COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular society’s increasing reliance on reliable high-speed broadband internet access during the crisis, has accelerated and magnified existing disparities. This barrier disproportionately hurts low income families and people of color. One organization seeking to tackle this challenge is the (CDAC). We collaborated with CDAC to analyze publicly available broadband performance data across Florida and replicated the methodology across eight states, demonstrating how broadband performance relates to access across the country and known higher-level demographic and socioeconomic variables. This work will inform the development and future release of a public portal that will empower communities and key stakeholders to advocate for change. 

If you haven’t seen it, check out this introduction video from the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. It was very well received by our community and inspired many volunteers to join this project. More from our “See the Girl” partner below, sharing her experience from the event.


“DataKind’s contribution will give our team back the invaluable resource of time,” said Vanessa Patino Lydia, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Planning, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. “Because of the outputs, we will spend considerably less time extracting and organizing data. Instead, we will use that time to find solutions to the problems the data uncovers.” 

The DataDive event was a huge success, but it wasn’t the conclusion of this work. As a nonprofit, the generosity of individuals and organizations is critical to our ability to work on the most pressing issues. If you share our vision for the world and want to help expand our resources so we can provide innovative solutions that strengthen the social sector and create lasting change, please contact us at   

Recognizing Our Sponsors

Huge thanks to our sponsors, Teradata Cares, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, City of Orlando, and IBM. Generous financial contributions from supporters like you made this event and other impactful work possible!

Joining the DataKind Movement

DataKind’s work is possible through the generosity of our volunteers, donors, and corporate sponsors. If you’re moved and can join us in supporting this and our future important work, please become a donor here. Every gift helps DataKind harness the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity.

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