Today, data.org announces $4.6M in funding delivered by the Mastercard Impact Fund for data.org’s Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN), signifying a strong commitment toward building greater data capacity for the social sector. This announcement bolsters CAN’s key ambition to train 1 million purpose-driven data professionals in the next decade and to further diversity and inclusion of underrepresented communities, especially women and ethnic minorities, in the data science field.
“As we rebuild a more inclusive and sustainable economy, we have an opportunity to harness data and technology to help individuals and small businesses achieve a sense of economic security that fosters a better quality of life,” said Shamina Singh, president, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Data-driven insights play an integral role in delivering transformational change as we work towards addressing our most pressing societal challenges. data.org’s Capacity Accelerator Network harnesses this vision and puts these words to practice and we are proud to support this initiative.”
This grant includes a funding award to The University of Chicago (UChicago) Data Science Institute (DSI) to support the creation of a consortium of diverse higher education partners, including historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), minority serving institutions (MSIs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), to amplify social impact through data science. The consortium, part of CAN’s Financial Inclusion Accelerator, will be a collaborative effort to broaden participation in the talent pipeline, serve communities of highest need, and maximize opportunities for scalability and transferability of this new model.
In leading this new consortium, UChicago DSI brings expertise and experience to building experiential learning programs aligned with inclusive best practices. DSI programs, such as the Civic Data & Technology Clinic, the 11th Hour Project Hub, and the DSI Summer Lab, emphasize collaborative data science projects with positive social impact and provide real-world research experiences for students of all backgrounds.
The grant also fuels the creation of scalable curricula and a Data Science Experiential Learning Deployment Playbook, providing information on how to identify and scope projects, and how to build trust with Social Impact Organizations (SIOs) through data science.
“The field of data science cannot meaningfully advance and realize its potential unless we include students, academic institutions, organizations, and communities that reflect the world we hope to improve,” said David Uminsky, executive director of the UChicago Data Science Institute. “We are excited that this funding and the consortium it creates will enable and expand our partnerships, deepen our impact on education and collaborative research, and help produce a representative next generation of data scientists.”
“Working with a team so committed to centering inclusivity and equity in the field-building process is what makes this partnership with UChicago’s DSI an ideal match,” said Dr. Ronda Železný-Green, program director, Capacity Accelerator Network at data.org. “Working with DSI, and its planned network of HBCUs, MSIs, and HSIs, we are setting ourselves up to create what will be an innovative and comprehensive approach to building the field of DSSI.”
With this commitment, data.org will strengthen the field of data science for social impact, to ensure that non-profit and civic organizations are well positioned to take advantage of the data revolution. CAN’s primary learning and engagement tools will include data.org’s Resource Library, featuring over one hundred curated resources and seven data.org guides. The support also extends to a newly launched Data Maturity Assessment, providing a snapshot of an organization’s data maturity, and relevant resources to move forward on their data journey.
This grant is an output of the broader Data Science for Social Impact initiative and initial $50 million commitment from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Impact Fund. The focus of this effort is to drive an innovative model for collaborative philanthropy centered on accelerating the use of data science by empowering non-profit, civic and government organizations with the tools, expertise, and resources to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
[Header Image: Pratima Baral, researcher at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Pratima specializes in information and communication technology (ICT) and has been working with smallholder farmers in Nepal to improve their productivity and livelihoods. Here she leads a workshop with female farmers in Surkhet, Nepal. Photo by C. de Bode/CGIAR]