The Connecticut Data Collaborative has been awarded an 18-month, $122,793 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support four core data literacy initiatives: data capacity building for agencies in the Hartford region, civic engagement programming for youth, the Equity in Data Community of Practice and implementation of the Hartford Data Collaborative, which includes nearly two dozen public and nonprofit agencies.
The Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) is a statewide public-private partnership that focuses on ensuring that public data is open and accessible. CTData, as an advocate for accessible data, runs the CTData Academy, offering an array of workshops and training for people interested in improving their data literacy, providing opportunities for individuals, businesses and organizations to become more informed data users and critical data consumers.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, in awarding the grant, pointed out that enhanced equitable practices improves the rigor and validity of data agencies collect and use. The grant funds - $79,100 in year one and $46,693 in year two - will be used to provide partial support for staff costs associated with the initiatives. CTData will prioritize grassroots and BIPOC-led and serving agencies – particularly those with staff that have not had formal opportunities for data literacy skill building.
“This investment in some of CTData’s core programs is well-aligned with the Foundation’s goal of supporting our nonprofit partners as they strengthen the region’s data, evaluation and research ecosystem,” said Hartford Foundation Director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation Kate Szczerbacki. “This grant will support CTData’s valuable efforts to help nonprofits, data professionals, and residents be better positioned to learn from their work, report to partners and funders, and engage in civic activities.”
“This pivotal investment in our work will provide significant opportunities to expand data literacy, improve understanding of the importance of equity in data development and use, and engage more individuals and organizations in our community – from youth to nonprofit professionals – in the data ecosystem,” explained Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative.
The Equity in Data Community of Practice (CoP) will engage data professionals who work in and with social sector agencies to reinforce equity in their data practices. The CoP will contribute to the Foundation’s efforts to further cultural responsiveness and equity in evaluation and learning by creating a space for demographically diverse nonprofit, government, and independent data professionals to consult on issues of equity in their work.
The Equity in Data Community of Practice, organized by CTData, is a steadily growing group of data users across the state, in the public and private sector, who are working toward more equitable data practices. The ad hoc group, which began nearly a year ago with a focus - explicitly but not exclusively - on racial equity, engages data users in numerous disciplines and fields.
The Youth Civic Data Program, designed by CTData to engage high school and community college students, will contribute to a strengthened data ecosystem and advance efforts to achieve more civically engaged residents. It builds on the ongoing programs of the CTData Academy and a CTData youth pilot program.
The initiative will serve Hartford region youth with low economic opportunity who have little or no experience with public data. Opportunities for youth to build data skills, the Hartford Foundation points out, contributes to building the bench of residents who can work as analysts or data literate professionals in the Greater Hartford region. It also improves their ability to use public data to understand, advocate, and engage on civic issues that they care about.
A 2018 needs assessment commissioned by the Foundation documented that in Hartford, “regular cross-agency data sharing has not occurred, specifically linking service provider data with larger government agencies. The Foundation noted that such data sharing, integration, and aggregate reporting is needed for outcome measurement, evaluation of local initiatives, as well as federal reporting requirements for current grants.
Since its inception in 2019, the Hartford Data Collaborative, a network of Hartford area non-profits, Hartford city agencies, state agencies and philanthropic partners, has supported several data linking projects, including advancing the work of the Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative. Projects currently underway include supporting the work of Summer Unity 2021 and working with the Re-Entry Welcome Center to support a referral and recidivism evaluation.
In addition to CTData Academy, CT Data provides customized data training, hosts easy-to-use, downloadable data, creates customized data visualizations and interactive data tools, provides data consulting services, and supports a community of data users through events and conferences.
More than 200 data sets are now accessible to the public on the CTData website, including a wide array of subjects and policy categories. CTData was recognized last year by the Connecticut Entrepreneur Awards in the Education category. More information is available at www.ctdata.org.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $849 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org
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