DataKind Announces New Support from to Improve Economic Opportunity Using Data Science

With support from, DataKind will develop and scale four curated AI tools targeting higher education graduation rates, access to support services and benefits, and business financing.

DataKind is thrilled to announce new support from that will enable the development and scaling of DataKind’s most impactful AI tools and products that address economic challenges among underserved populations. This support is a continuation of work that began in 2021, which was largely focused on convening and prototyping the tools, toward a goal of reaching more than one million users in up to 11 U.S. states. The DataKind team will also create a package of training materials to be shared with their global community of 30,000+ data scientists and social impact organizations, as well as technical partnerships to support implementation in organizations that may not have technical skills on staff.

Data science can identify untapped opportunities and outcome inequities, guiding the allocation of resources and investment to areas that need it most. Data-driven decision-making helps in reducing bias and discrimination, fostering a fairer and more meritocratic society. By analyzing vast amounts of data from diverse sources, data scientists can unveil patterns and correlations that were previously hidden, shedding light on systemic disparities and barriers to economic progress. This data-driven approach allows for a deeper understanding of the root causes of inequality, enabling policymakers and businesses to craft targeted solutions.

DataKind’s work in this domain includes job creation and education, access to financial services such as small business loans or CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions), policy recommendations, and predictive modeling and forecasting. The four tools that this partnership is focused on scaling will each address different aspects of economic opportunity and inclusion, and were co-designed with on-the-ground experts.

  • Higher Education: In partnership with John Jay College at the City University of New York (CUNY), DataKind developed a tool that helps academic advisors identify and support at-risk students, increasing graduation rates from 54% to 86%. The tool will be deployed with a no-code front-end across six more colleges in the CUNY system and a roadmap for further scaling outside the CUNY will be created.
  • Access to Support Services: In partnership with United Way, DataKind built a model that combines 211 call data and external data to help United Way’s nonprofit partners plan for and serve anticipated needs, from food aid and childcare assistance to workplace advocacy. The model piloted in Michigan and Wisconsin will expand to three other states.
  • Access to Benefits: In partnership with multiple direct service organizations, DataKind will further develop a decision support tool that uses public data sources to map eligibility versus uptake for benefits and social services. This will allow BDT benefits centers and local government actors to mobilize in targeted areas and identify co-occurring needs across these benefits.
  • Financing Black-Owned Businesses:  In partnership with Black Wealth Data Center (BWDC), DataKind partnered to develop a tool that identifies Black-owned businesses that could benefit from small business loans but are currently underserved by traditional lenders. The tool combines open source indicators to rank communities by need for investment. In the next phase of work, DataKind will further incubate the tool and explore partnership with African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, OFN, and other CDFIs.

Using AI to help more college students graduate

How DataKind’s work with John Jay College increased senior graduation rates and is now paving the way for six more CUNY schools, with support from Check out this New York Times feature as well as the video below!

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