Powering Public Data for Communities: Highlights from Virtual DataDive®️ Event

March 15, 2021

On day one of our first virtual DataDive event of the year, volunteers who signed up for the housing insecurity project with the Future of Land and Housing (FLH) Program at New America rolled up their sleeves to get to work. Their mission: to establish correlations between housing vulnerability, race, and socio-economic factors for multiple U.S. localities by creating tools and visualizations for intervention. 

Buzzing with excitement, the volunteers were eager to get started but needed help. David Gillen, a first-time volunteer, loves mapping tools. So when his teammates referenced his work in the project’s Slack channel, without any hesitation, he offered an impromptu 15-minute technical presentation on how he created a map on evictions by school district. These kinds of powerful collaborations lie at the heart of our DataDive events and community.

With the theme of Trust, Transparency, Togetherness: Powering Public Data for Communities, more than 700 people representing 31 countries registered to attend the high-energy, marathon-style, weekend-long event. Our official Kick Off event, attended by over 300 Data & AI for Good community members, was emceed by Caitlin Augustin, our Senior Director, Product. Russatta Buford, our Interim Executive Director, shared a warm DataKind welcome followed by a chat on the Art of the Possible by Afua Bruce, Chief Program Officer. The evening was packed with enthusiasm and engagement as attendees were eager to hear the project pitches by DataKind team members. Getting curious? Check out the recording below!

Our DataDive events remain one of the best ways to experience the energy, intentionality, and impact our work has in real-time. We’re so honored and humbled at how our global community of new and veteran DataKinders came together on a long weekend to “dive” into five data science for social good projects and boost the impact of these mission-driven organizations. We’re in awe of all the feedback that was shared. Below are just a few of our favorite testimonials from the weekend. 

“[Everyone] has been so great and helpful! The data cleaning and EDA have been super helpful (definitely saving like a month of my time), and the idea to try and model whether something will go to cleanup was something I hadn’t thought of yet and was a good idea.”-Shannon Loomis, CTO, Community Lattice

“I feel very privileged to have witnessed the awesome power of data science volunteers in action. Really grateful to everyone who took part to support Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children. I’m looking forward to further partnership with the amazing people at DataKind.” -Neal McCarthy, Senior Manager, ICT4D Program, Oxfam

“Wow, what a weekend! I am so grateful to have participated in my first DataDive with the amazing team, volunteers, and partners at DataKind. There was certainly more personal growth than expected - on top of new domain knowledge and friends!” - Jill Brown, DataDive Volunteer

“I am so excited for this initiative. In the past, I got an opportunity to volunteer with DataKind, and it was an amazing experience. You guys are amazing and meticulous planners!! And, bringing everyone together, no matter where we are based globally, is such a magical thing! I am really excited for the kick-off meeting and to contribute in whatever capacity I can.” - Khush Khandelwal, DataDive Volunteer

DataDive events show organizations how data science and AI can advance their missions and volunteers just how powerful their skills can be. 

DataDive events are catalytic for organizations keen to test multiple ideas in a really short period of time. Unsure which digital tool to invest in? Let the DataKind community build prototypes of them all! Suspect there are transformative insights buried in your data? A group of DataKinders will speed up the search!

We’re so grateful to have partnered with these extraordinary social change organizations from the economic development, government, and community healthcare sectors, and we’re excited to see what’s next. Learn more about the projects here.

Medic & Dimagi

Unlock data-driven innovation in global health and thus save more lives. Teams developed synthetic data, allowing frontline health organizations to test prototype tools and solutions with realistic (though not actual) patient data.

CARE, Oxfam, & Save the Children

Maximize humanitarian response efforts. Teams created interoperable socio-economic datasets from disparate archives, the framework, and the tooling so that data can optimize COVID-19 interventions.

CONVINCE coalition

Understand COVID-19 vaccine trust and combat vaccine hesitancy. Teams used open data from social media platforms to build resources for policymakers to turn social listening into action.

Community Lattice

Predict the costs and challenges of cleaning up environmentally-contaminated properties. Teams conducted analytics and modeling as the first step towards a Cleanup Cost Calculator so affected underserved communities can seek redevelopment grants to rebuild.

New America’s Future of Land and Housing (FLH) Program

Combat housing loss. Housing loss is an acute emergency made worse by COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. Teams built data visualization tools for quicker local housing support interventions for those who need it most.

What’s next? We’ll be discussing highlights and learnings from the DataDive weekend at our Report Back session on Tuesday, March 16, from 1-2 PM ET / 10-11 AM PT. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook where we regularly share updates and announcements. 

It takes more than innovative solutions and data to change the world; it takes people. The right mix of people coming together in the right ways, sharing solutions, iterating, and building long-term relationships. We’re full of gratitude for our global community (aka YOU!) for making our work possible and for allowing us to make a global impact. 

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