Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

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 peoplenot 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

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.


Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams 

Sonja Marziano

Denise Linn     

Leslie Durr       

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

OpenGov Hack Night: IDES and Sunlight Foundation

Here’s this week’s recap of OpenGov Hack Night Chicago:

This week we live streamed the presentations due to the weather and the CTA Brown line trains not running through the loop.

This week’s first presentation: The Illinois Department of Employment Security and

Gideon Blustein from the Illinois Department of Employment Security dropped by the OpenGov Hack night to talk about employment data available on IllinoisJobLink. IllinoisJobLink is the State of Illinois’ job board designed to help match employers and job seekers.

The Illinois Employment of Employment Security publishes real time labor market information on hiring trends, salary trends, job seeker characteristics, and current labor availability.

The department is currently open to releasing data in new ways or new reports if possible. Currently, the department also released a limited number of reports on the state’s data portal.

People who are interested in working with this kind of data are encouraged to attend our open gov hack nights.

This week’s second presentation: The Sunlight Foundation and local government transparency

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to making government more transparent. Previously, the Sunlight Foundation mainly focused on federal transparency. This resulted in reports on government spending, APIs that help automate reports on government spending, lobbying funds, and congressional action, as well as cool apps like Inbox Influence, Scout, and other transparency tools.
This year, the Sunlight Foundation received a $2.1 million dollar grant from to help fund transparecy efforts at the municipal level.

In order to get a better idea on how this can be accomplished, the Sunlight Foundation is visiting Chicago and other cities to see what work has been done in this area locally.

Part of this work includes building a living document of open data policy guidelines. This Sunlight Foundation would like to see the open data community get involved in helping to craft these guidelines. Where do we need to expand these guidelines? Where do we need case studies? What fits and what doesn’t? What do you need to work better?

If you’re interested in helping Sunlight with this effort, feel free email the Sunlight Foundation at

Next week’s OpenGov Hack Night will be March 12th at 6:00pm at 1871 Chicago. You can RSVP here.