McCarthy Recognizes Key Source of Neighborhood Data

Posted May 30, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog mccarthyrecognizeskeysource 2017

Last week, Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Patrick McCarthy addressed mem­bers of the Nation­al Neigh­bor­hood Indi­ca­tors Part­ner­ship — a net­work of more than 30 local orga­ni­za­tions that col­lect, orga­nize and use neigh­bor­hood data to inform local advo­ca­cy and deci­sion mak­ing — who gath­ered in Bal­ti­more for their semi­an­nu­al meeting.

The Foun­da­tion has sup­port­ed the Nation­al Neigh­bor­hood Indi­ca­tors Part­ner­ship, man­aged by the Urban Insti­tute, since its incep­tion two decades ago. The net­work is a crit­i­cal ally in pro­vid­ing data, research and evi­dence to help guide deci­sion making.

McCarthy’s remarks empha­sized the essen­tial role the part­ner­ship and its mem­bers play as sources of strong, reli­able data. In cities across the coun­try, they help high­light the chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties for kids, fam­i­lies and communities.

Among McCarthy’s main points:

  1. With­out data at every lev­el, we can­not accu­rate­ly iden­ti­fy where prob­lems are — and where we most need solu­tions. Data are cru­cial in mak­ing good deci­sions — par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to inform­ing poli­cies, which can help, or thwart, the well-being of kids and fam­i­lies on a broad scale. With­out clear evi­dence, our deci­sions and solu­tions can be well-intend­ed but com­plete­ly inef­fec­tive. Invest­ing in pro­grams and prac­tices proven not to work wastes dol­lars and stands to under­mine the poten­tial of chil­dren and youth in neigh­bor­hoods across the country.
     
  2. Data and research can help ground deci­sions in evi­dence rather than par­ti­san­ship or bias — and ensure kids, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties aren’t left behind. The Nation­al Neigh­bor­hood Indi­ca­tors Part­ner­ship has been a leader in strength­en­ing local capac­i­ty for data-dri­ven deci­sion mak­ing in neigh­bor­hoods, cities and regions across the coun­try; inform­ing pol­i­cy at all lev­els based on local expe­ri­ence; and build­ing broad sup­port for com­mu­ni­ty infor­ma­tion sys­tems, as well as the grow­ing field of inte­grat­ed data sys­tems. In addi­tion, local part­ners’ exper­tise has dri­ven cross-city projects in fields such as civic tech­nol­o­gy, neigh­bor­hood revi­tal­iza­tion and com­mu­ni­ty health. The Casey Foun­da­tion has ben­e­fit­ted from such projects in areas that include ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion and the return of indi­vid­u­als who’ve been incar­cer­at­ed to their communities.
     
  3. Local part­ners pro­vide a pub­lic ser­vice, con­tribut­ing to the knowl­edge and under­stand­ing of res­i­dents in their respec­tive cities. For exam­ple, the Bal­ti­more Neigh­bor­hood Indi­ca­tors Alliance-Jacob France Insti­tute — a local mem­ber of the part­ner­ship and a Casey grantee — main­tains a data library that allows res­i­dents and com­mu­ni­ties to see where they fit in the broad­er city land­scape and drill down to their neigh­bor­hood block. Through map­ping tools, they can see inequities across the city and gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of the chal­lenges fac­ing var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties — and why some res­i­dents are cut off from oppor­tu­ni­ty. Hav­ing access to rich data enables com­mu­ni­ties to advo­cate for them­selves and dri­ve change, in addi­tion to giv­ing res­i­dents the chance to bring those num­bers to life by explain­ing their con­text, which is anoth­er invalu­able form of data.

Learn more about the Nation­al Neigh­bor­hood Indi­ca­tors Part­ner­ship.

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