Open Government and local community foundations: Getting involved


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What is Open Government and what opportunities does it offer for you as a community foundation? Attend this webinar and learn more about how partnerships between technologists and city, county, state and federal governments can result in greater transparency and accountability, more access to data for citizens, and even cost-savings—and what role local organizations like yours are playing.

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Open Government and local community foundations: Getting involved

  1. 1. What is Open Government Susan Mernit Knight Circuit Rider, Oakland Local Editor/Publisher And how can it work with your community foundation? November 14, 2013 All  rights  reserved.   1  
  2. 2. WHAT  WE’RE  TALKING  ABOUT   What  is  Open  Government  and   what  opportuni4es  does  it   offer  for  you  as  a  community   founda4on?   This  webinar  will:   • Talk  about  how  partnerships  between  technologists   and  city,  county,  state  and  federal  governments  can   result  in  greater  transparency  and  accountability,  more   access  to  data  for  ci=zens,  and  even  cost-­‐savings   • Share  case  studies  where  community  founda=ons   have  go@en  involved   • Show  you  resources  to  use  to  get  started   All  rights  reserved.   2  
  3. 3. Welcome  to  Northern  California!  This  region  is   a  center  for  open  government  &  open  data   projects-­‐-­‐   • San  Francisco  has  the  first  Chief  InnovaOon   Officer  in  the  country—who  launched  SF  as  an   open  data  city   • Oakland  passed  a  resoluOon  to  support  data   transparency  in  ALL  content   • Code  for  America  was  founded  here,   MapLight  is  here—and  GovFresh  was  also   started  in  the  Bay   And  of  course,  we  like  to  #hack  like   crazy..because  there  are  so  many   programmers   All  rights  reserved.   3  
  4. 4. But open government projects are happening all over the country, with some amazing ones in: • Chicago, IL • New Orleans, LA • New York, New York • Washington, DC Questions to check in on before we go farther: • What is open data and open government exactly? • What’s the benefit to my organization & my community to get involved? All  rights  reserved.   4  
  5. 5. “Transparency  promotes  accountability   and  provides  informa4on  for  ci4zens   about  what  their  Government  is  doing.”    -­‐-­‐ White  House   All  rights  reserved.   5  
  6. 6. “Open  data  is  data  that  can  be  freely  used,   reused  and  redistributed  by  anyone  –  subject   only,  at  most,  to  the  requirement  to  a@ribute   and  sharealike.”-­‐-­‐     We’re talking a The  US  Government  has  more  than  40,000   datasets  available  at,  and  just  about   every  state  has  a  data  repository  now.   Local  coun=es,  big  ci=es  and  even  smaller   ci=es  are  also  geTng  involved.   All  rights  reserved.   6  
  7. 7. Hashtags  to  watch  for:    #opengov,  #opendata,  #gov2.0     Related:  #citycamp  #github    #tbarcamp   All  rights  reserved.   7  
  8. 8. Open government projects often pair city officials with highly skilled volunteers and other community members to solve problems in ways government could not on their own. Example 1: Open Budget Oakland Read & understand the $1B Oakland city budget Created  at  a  hackathon,  supported   at  a  co-­‐working  space,  built  with   City  data  by  volunteers  from  a    @codeforamerica  brigade  with  info   shared  on,,  and  GitHub  at   Who was involved? City of Oakland, Code for America, Open Oakland brigade volunteers, East Bay Economic Development Association All  rights  reserved.   8  
  9. 9. Example 2: How’s Business Chicago from Open City Apps This is one of several apps built by a very skilled volunteer team using city data. hosts a weekly Open Gov hack night and creates free, Open source projects that others can implement elsewhere. All  rights  reserved.   9  
  10. 10. Other projects from Open City Apps include Chicago Councilmatic: Interactive App showing what legislation the City Council has been passing CAPSure: Alerts for community police Meetings 2nd City Zoning: Guide to your neighborhood from a planning perspective And many more! IMPACT:  HUGE.  High  usage  of  some  apps,  big   press  awareness,  lots  of  momentum.   All  rights  reserved.   10  
  11. 11. Discussion  break:  What  kind  of  apps  would  you  like  to  see  your  community  build  if     you  had  access  to  the  data  and  people  with  the  skills?   What  projects  is  your  founda=on  working  on  where  an  open-­‐source  app  could  really   have  impact  if  it  was  widely  used?  rights  reserved.   All   11  
  12. 12. Community Foundations in some cities have already gotten involved. Hawaii Community Foundation and Open Data Hawaii worked together this fall To encourage ALL candidates running For Mayor to sign a pledge to vow to make Honolulu City Government transparent and to follow the practices of open government. The  candidates  all  signed—and  Open  Data   Hawaii  says  they  are  working  with  the  CF  to   “push  these  ini=a=ves  forward,  changing  policy     and  crea=ng  opportuni=es  for  tomorrow’s   ci=zens  and  entrepreneurs.”   All  rights  reserved.   12  
  13. 13. In Oregon, the Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon’s largest community foundation, built a new platform to connect engage citizens with policy & non-profits For  Oregon  Unlimited,  launched   March  2013,  the  MMT  leased  a   placorm  that  allows  complete   connec=vity,  community  and   discussion  of  civic  projects.   h@ps://   They  use  it  as  both  an  economic   development  engine  and  a  community   connector.   All  rights  reserved.   13  
  14. 14. Oregon Unlimited is a follow up to Ideas4Oregon, a 2010 contest for a “million dollar” idea that got more than 200 entries and promised to spend up to $1MM to bring the best one to life. That project was built on top of another commercial platform called UserVoice; they open sourced the ideas so everyone could see them (just like Knight Foundation often does with their competitions.) All  rights  reserved.   14  
  15. 15. Building a transparent process with local government & community In South Wood County MI, the local community foundation, IncourageCF, purchased the now-shuttered newspaper building and is conducting a community-outreach process around what to do with it. They’re conducting meetings, and documenting the process online, as part of a bigger program of creating cultural change in their community to spark innovation and economic development. All  rights  reserved.   15  
  16. 16. “Managing  a  resident-­‐centered,  resident-­‐led  design   process  entrusts  decision-­‐making  to  the  community  and   invites  everyone  to  par4cipate.  It  requires  more  4me,   effort  and  resources  than  unilateral  decision-­‐making.     We’re  asking  community  members  to  determine  its  end   use.  “—InCourageCF  CEO   So, what’s the takeaway? All  rights  reserved.   16  
  17. 17. Discussion How do civic engagement processes, open data, open government and your mission in your city fit together? Where do you see risks & challenges? How would you/will you address them? All  rights  reserved.   17  
  18. 18. The latest Knight Community Information Challenge funded 10 civic engagement/ open government projects that eeach involve a CF (see Foundations strengthen local journalism, open government - Knight Foundation Cities include Lexington, KY, Chattanooga, TN, Gary, IN, Boston, MA, New Orleans, LA, and others. Dreaming  of  local  data……   All  rights  reserved.   18  
  19. 19. How to get involved (go ahead, jump in!) Attend a civic engagement meet-up, a Bar Camp, or a Brigade meeting in your town and meet folks. Talk to your city’s IT department and lead officials about making data available in usable forms All  rights  reserved.   19  
  20. 20. Tech  resources:   Github:  Open  Source  Code   Repository  Commercial   database  for  local  government   Granicus:  Soeware  for  city   government  40K    federal  data   sets  Resource  for   open  data  at  state  and  local  levels   All  rights  reserved.   Building  open  source  tools  for   20   open  government  
  21. 21. Resources NATIONAL Sunlight Foundation, Broadly focused, national non-profit focused on supporting every aspect of government transparency. Code for America, The “peace core” for open government tech, having a huge impact through fellows’ programs, support for city government projects, and volunteer brigades. City Camp: How to start a City Camp and how to affiliate. All  rights  reserved.   21  
  22. 22. Resources National Network Indicators Project, Long-established network of data-driven non-profits using local data and analytics for policy planning and program development. Open Knowledge Foundation, EU-based global resource for supporting in-country open data, open source & transparency. Open Government stories on GitHub, Space to share and read stories about #opengov and #open data projects All  rights  reserved.   22  
  23. 23. Followup   –  Reach  Susan:   –  See  MORE  resources  on  my  Pinterest  board:   h@p://­‐ government-­‐and-­‐community-­‐founda=ons-­‐board-­‐ fo/   –  Other  Mernit  presos: h@p://   –  See  this  presenta=on  and  download  at  the  KDMC   site:  h@p://       All  rights  reserved.   23