Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from exceptional leaders across the state and country.
Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.
Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with people – not just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.
Our presentation today has the learning objectives:
To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts
Array of Things is designed as a “fitness tracker” for the city, collecting new streams of data on Chicago’s environment, infrastructure, and activity. This hyper-local, open data can help researchers, city officials, and software developers study and address critical city challenges, such as preventing urban flooding, improving traffic safety and air quality, and assessing the nature and impact of climate change.
In the first phase of the project, 50 nodes will be installed in August and September on traffic light poles in The Loop, Pilsen, Logan Square, and along Lake Michigan. These nodes will contain sensors for measuring air and surface temperature, barometric pressure, light, vibration, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and ambient sound intensity. Two cameras will collect data on vehicle and foot traffic, standing water, sky color, and cloud cover.
Here is a video about Array of Things featuring Brenna Berman, the Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago, and Charlie Catlett, the Director of UrbanCCD and lead investigator for Array of Things:
On July 20th, 4 Chicago public high school students were honored with a commemorative resolution at the Chicago City Council Meeting. These students were the winners of the Envision Chicago pilot program and each was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for proposing improvements to city laws.
Envision Chicago, a project of the OpenGov Foundation in collaboration with the City Clerk, challenged youth in participating schools — the Marine Leadership Academy, Chicago Excel Academy of Rosalind, Taft High School, and Lake View High School — to propose ways to change laws and improve lives in Chicago.
It’s clear that when government meets students on their terms, and respects their voices, great things can happen. These students learned positive engagement practices on a user friendly website of the Chicago Municipal Code and 86 students dove in, discovered laws covering issues they cared about and shared their ideas.
Here is a glimpse at the social media from the day:
Launching today’s special Chicago City Council meeting, where Envision scholarship winners will be recognized. pic.twitter.com/ISyxTMU946
A Safe Haven is a social enterprise that provides comprehensive and vertically integrated approach uniquely designed to address root causes of poverty and homelessness for social and economic development to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency.
A Safe Haven serves individual adults, families with children, youth and has programs for veterans and residents who are reentering society after serving prison time for nonviolent crimes. A Safe Haven helps to provide individualized case management, shelter, food, treatment, education, job training, access to employment and affordable housing. A Safe Haven has served more than 65,000 clients and provides services daily to 1,200 people.
One of the challenges that face A Safe Haven is following up with their clients after they’ve left the program. Clients often move and it’s not always easy to maintain contact people once they’ve left. If A Safe Haven was aware that somebody needs additional services – such as career counseling – then they can offer it if It’s also more difficult to track progress over the long term.
Through the CivicWorks Project, we’re providing A Safe Haven a license for Prompt.ly. A Safe Haven will use the software to text follow-up messages to their clients to see how they’re doing. This will enable A Safe Haven to both track the progress of their former clients as well as reach back out to residents who may need further assistance. We’ll be blogging about their progress as time goes on.
Last week we launched our third major update to our Chicago Health Atlas project. This is the most robust version of the Atlas released since its debut in 2012. The Atlas is funded and receives significant thought leadership from the Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute. Sprague, and their Executive Director Jim Alexander, has shepherded this program for years.
The first version of the Atlas was a simple lookup tool for existing data. DataMade, a local firm that builds custom visualizations, deploys civic apps, and trains people to work with open data, has been an essential tech partner all the way through to this version. The site is based on the Derek Eder’s wildly influential and immensely useful Searchable Map Template. Derek was also important in helping me move from the Weave (Web-based Analysis and Visualization Environment) platform and set up a structure that met Smart Chicago’s vision for the site.