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Every year, Data You Can Use, a nonprofit research agency, offers services to the winners of the Data Dream Award, a competition which helps charitable organizations acquire and interpret the data they need to succeed. This year, six nonprofits were named as winners, and each will receive $5,000 in pro bono services from Data You Can Use to fulfil a specific need that contributes to the improvement of a program or strategy to improve the community. Winners were selected through a competitive process and vetted by a panel of expert judges in data sciences and philanthropy. The data projects will begin in January 2021 and be completed by the end of the calendar year.
“We are so excited to see all the great work being done in Milwaukee, and to help nonprofits get the data they need to be even more effective,” Katie Pritchard, President and Executive Director of Data You Can Use.
Data You Can Use named the winners at the 6th Annual Data Day: Recovery Requires Data in October. The annual conference hosts leaders, from neighborhoods to universities, who want to better understand the implications of data on community revitalization, and how to increase connections between research and practice.
Winners of 2020 Data Dream Awards include:
Sponsored by Herb Kohl Philanthropies, New Concept Self Development Center won their data dream to improve matching participant needs with services. New Concept’s mission is “To preserve families and protect children while promoting self sufficiency.” Their data dream is to have a proper tool for tracking inquiries from potential participants, an accurate demographic image of program participants, results of participant program completion and goal attainment, and the frequency in which individuals return for additional services offered. http://www.ncsdc-inc.org/
Sponsored by Siebert Lutheran Foundation, Project Return won their data dream to assess how many of the approximately 2,700 people returning to Milwaukee County from incarceration need housing, healthcare and employment aid to ensure individual success. Project RETURN exists to help men and women who have experienced incarceration make a positive, permanent return to community, family and friends. Programs offered address direct needs of those they serve, reducing barriers to increase the prospects of success and lower the chances of recidivism. https://www.projectreturnmilwaukee.org/
Sponsored by Zilber Family Foundation, Revitalize Milwaukee won their data dream to identify trends and tell more vivid stories about the families they serve. Revitalize Milwaukee is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose goal is to preserve affordable housing and revitalize vulnerable neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Their mission is to preserve affordable housing and transform communities by providing free, critical home repairs and comprehensive services to low-income veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities. https://www.freehomerepairs.org/
Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, Pearls for Teen Girls won their data dream to use data to strengthen and streamline programs for an even bigger impact. PEARLS improves the quality of life and strengthens the community one girl at a time by empowering young women with self-development tools, guidance, and support to strive for better, brighter futures by living out PEARLS values: Personal Responsibility, Empathy, Awareness, Respect, Leadership, and Support. https://www.pearlsforteengirls.com/
Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, Lead2Change won their data dream to show the return on investment for career readiness training for high school students. Lead2Change is a career-readiness organization that engages young people in leadership opportunities and equips them with essential tools to be successful in college, their career and the community. The program helps young people enter the postsecondary world confident and clear about their career interests and their position in the ever-evolving workforce. https://lead2changeinc.org/
Sponsored by Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the people’s choice award went to the Historic MLK BID for their data dream to achieve zero-vacancy: no vacant land, no vacant buildings. The mission of the Historic King Drive BID is to improve and revitalize the district and bring investment and new businesses to the area. They provide services, information and resources to prospective and existing investors, sponsors, property owners and business owners. These specialty incentives include: aesthetics, events, marketing, tenant recruitment, funding and many more. https://kingdriveis.com/
Data Day also featured keynote speaker Liz Dozier, who founded and serves as CEO of Chicago Beyond, publisher of “Why Am I Always Being Researched?”, a guidebook for funders, researchers, and community organizations on how to deconstruct harmful power dynamics when researching communities. The guidebook sparked a speaker series on antiracism that has been joined by more than 100,000 individuals globally and has provided entry points for people with the desire to learn what it means to be anti-racist.
Dozier reflected on the experience saying, “Gatherings like Data Day are incredibly important for a multitude of reasons – from grounding us in community to reminding us that we are not alone in this work. And no matter where we fall on our own journeys, we all must remember that if we believe data drives decision-making, we must care how it gets made.”
“The idea of how we use data equitably for recovery, what data gets used, how it’s collected, and who benefits is so important, especially now as we face many levels of recovery in our communities,” said Dr. Kathleen Pritchard, President of Data You Can Use.
Two hundred participants, primarily from the greater Milwaukee area, attended the virtual conference, which also featured best practices and small group sessions from local agencies.
Data You Can Use
We are a diverse group of local professionals who help people access data and make it useful in improving community conditions. We help connect people who need data to people who have data and assist in accessing, analyzing, translating, interpreting and presenting data. We can help you ask the right questions to get the right data, put it into a local context, present it visually and put it to work in addressing issues important to you. We subscribe to the principles of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and work to democratize data by building local capacity, sharing best practices and helping users sort through the data to surface, explain and address
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