Ready, set, … dive! What we hope “DC Datadive” can do for the city’s children

This Friday to Sunday, DC Action staff will be at the “DC Datadive,” teaming up with Data Without Borders and Independent Sector’s 2011 American Express NGEN Fellows to spend the entire weekend digging deeper into data for social justice! We are so excited about what this means for us and our D.C. KIDS COUNT work.

Data Without Borders hosts “datadives,” where they match nonprofits in need of data analysis with pro bono data scientists who can help them with data collection, analysis, visualization, or decision support. The simple but powerful theory is that if big companies like Google and Amazon recognize the importance of dedicated data science teams and can support full-time analysts, then nonprofits like ours should have similar opportunities. We have just as interesting datasets (if not more important and interesting datasets) but too often do not have the resources to capitalize on them.

This is why they come to serve nonprofits like DC Action! Data Without Borders aims to close the gap through a data scientist exchange, bringing exciting new problems to the data community and helping to solve social, environmental, and community problems alongside nonprofits, local governments, and social organizations.

D.C. has a lot of informative datasets that tell a sobering and interesting story. Our city has just over 100,000 children under 18. Nearly one in three children under age five lives below the federal poverty line – the rate in Wards 7 and 8 is nearly half. Despite the efforts of many well-intentioned direct service and advocacy groups, we have not seen dramatic improvements in outcomes for children in nearly two decades. Part of the problem is that our city has lacked reliable data or a shared understanding to address the complex challenges facing children and families in a concerted and sustainable way. The city has prioritized quick fixes over long-term, systemic and sustainable change.

Through our website, publications and events, D.C. KIDS COUNT makes data on health, education, safety and family structure and income support clear and accessible to everyone. Ultimately, we hope that our research and advocacy will serve as a barometer of our collective success and a catalyst for focusing on needed changes to improve child outcomes.

We hope to come away from the weekend with ways to make the data come alive for all of us – from the most powerful policymaker to the most modest community member. We want the data to be a catalyst for a common agenda toward community-based solutions to promoting health and success for every child in D.C.

Lofty, huh? Please join us in this challenge! Data=Social Math=Social Justice!

You can register for the DC Datadive right here on the events page.