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Data Foundation

A non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.
Data Foundation
Leadership team

Dean Ritz  (Chair of the Board of Directors)

Nick Hart, Ph.D.  (President)

Sara L. Johnson (Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Strategy and Operations)

Ashley Nelle-Davis (Director of Special Projects)

Corinna Turbes (Policy Director)

Jessica Yabsley (Senior Director of Communications)

Headquarters
Washington, District of Columbia
Year stablished
2016
Address
The Carpenter Building 1003 K St NW, Washington, District of Columbia US
Social Media
Summary

The Data Foundation is a non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C. that seeks to improve government and society by using data to inform public policymaking. Its research and educational activities proactively and rapidly address relevant, emerging data-related needs in the country with the goal of devising realistic solutions, accelerating policy coordination, and advancing innovation. The Data Foundation values diversity and transparency in pursuit of an equitable, data-informed society. 


History

The Data Foundation was established in 2016. 

Some of its top projects have been:

The Data Coalition is the membership-based initiative facilitates a strong national data community and advocates for responsible policies to make government data high-quality, accessible, and usable.

COVID Impact Survey: Decision-makers need clear information about the prevalence of coronavirus as well as its impacts on the American people and our society. The COVID Impact Survey is an effort to provide national and regional statistics about physical health, mental health, economic security, and social dynamics in the U.S.

The Policing in America Project was launched by the Data Foundation, data.world, Microsoft, SpotCrime, Forward Cities, and NORC in 2020. This was created to gather information about perspectives on police activities in the United States and calibrate new insights with existing open data. This was a multi-pronged, open data effort to systematically improve evidence about how the American people view the criminal justice system and police forces. The Policing in America Survey collected original data in select cities across the country.


Goals and Purpose

The Data Foundation focuses its nonpartisan research, education, and programming in five areas.

Culture for Evidence-Based Policymaking. Changing long-standing practices to use data and evidence for informing key decisions and policy choices requires a supportive organizational culture and political environment. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 established new positions and leaders in hopes that these roles would collaborate and succeed in changing culture over time. This pillar focuses on developing insights for enabling an environment that encourages and empowers decision-makers and policymakers to demand evidence and for organizations to supply the data and capabilities to meet this demand.

Value of Accessible Government Data. As past efforts have made more government data accessible and open, articulating the economic and practical value of that information to the government and the private sector is an essential element of future success for similar initiatives. Research that allows policymakers, citizens, and private companies to better understand “why data matters” for society can be applied to understand current policies and options for future reforms.

Technical Capability for Improving Data Quality. Cultural dynamics and understanding the value proposition for using data can only succeed in fulfilling the stated goals if the technical capabilities exist to enable high-quality data to be used by society. The application of targeted data standards and requirements for how data are published in particular formats based on modern technology can enhance data quality. Fostering policies and practices that efficiently enable data collection and review can similarly ensure government data are most useful for society.

Use of Data in a Responsible Manner. The value of government data can only be realized if data are actually used in practice. Multiple disciplines and strategies exist for extracting value from data, including policy research, statistics, program evaluation, and data science, among other fields. In each of these domains, the ability to link, combine and share data is increasingly relevant. This pillar focuses on strategies to access and share government data as well as to ensure public trust in protecting confidential and sensitive data.

Future Planning for Emerging Technologies and Innovation. New technologies are constantly emerging that change the nature of how data are collected, managed, accessed, and used. Whether privacy-preserving technologies or approaches for enhancing transparency in data transactions, the platforms for supporting innovation increasingly rely on the development and deployment of emerging technologies. This pillar focuses on the real-world implications of emerging technologies to develop insights relevant to policymakers in adopting new approaches for government data and policy.


Impact

The Data Foundation is funded by philanthropic foundations, private donors, and technology and consulting firms. The Data Foundation also provides targeted contract services to non-profit organisations and government agencies.

Some of the philanthropic supporters of the foundation include Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Schmidt Futures.

Bloomberg, Delloitte, Grant Solutions, IBM Center For The Business Of Government, Microsoft, Grant Thornton, and Workiva are some of its other partners.


References
Data Foundation
Leadership team

Dean Ritz  (Chair of the Board of Directors)

Nick Hart, Ph.D.  (President)

Sara L. Johnson (Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Strategy and Operations)

Ashley Nelle-Davis (Director of Special Projects)

Corinna Turbes (Policy Director)

Jessica Yabsley (Senior Director of Communications)

Headquarters
Washington, District of Columbia
Year stablished
2016
Address
The Carpenter Building 1003 K St NW, Washington, District of Columbia US
Social Media