Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Community Foundations open up data to citizens

May 6, 2013, 9:43 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan

A data visualization showing the percentage of Boston commuters using public transportations via Metro Boston DataCommon.

Through July 1 we are accepting applications for the Knight Community Information Challenge, which provides matching funding to community and place-based foundations supporting news and information projects. Here, Michele McLellan writes about several data-driven projects funded through the challenge.

Community Foundations have long known the value of data in leadership decision-making. Now, several foundations are using Knight Community Information Challenge support to make data more accessible to the rest of the community.

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, for example, has created Neighborhood Nexus, a website that contains local data on topics such as demographics, housing, employment and education. Users can compare data and make interactive maps. Within that site, the foundation is building Neighborhood Corner for local leaders.

“The target audiences for Neighborhood Nexus are nonprofits, foundations, community development corporations, government agencies, community/civic associations, local media, and so on,” said Tahmida Shamsuddin, director of Neighborhood Nexus. “Neighborhood Corner is for neighborhood leaders – those who are actively organizing or involved in community building programs as well as concerned citizens active in mobilizing local resources to address specific local needs.”

The Atlanta foundation hopes to have the entire metro region represented on Neighborhood Corner by the end of the year, Shamsuddin said.

The project ties to the foundation’s efforts to support projects at the neighborhood level.

“We know that engaging people where they live can be transformative for neighbors and our region. The Neighborhood Corner platform is the new model for us to begin thinking about how information can be powerful, and also how it can be a bridge builder and community engagement model for how we interact with neighborhoods in our region.”

Here are other examples of how community foundations are opening up data to local citizens:

To learn more and apply for the Knight Community Information Challenge, visit informationneeds.org.

By Michele McLellan

Related: "New focus, opportunity for funding community news and information" on Knight Blog by Susan Patterson and Bahia Ramos, and "Opportunity for funding Open Gov, information tools in Knight Community Information Challenge" on Knight Blog by Chris Sopher