Investing in Data Capacity for Community Change

Report by Leah Hendey, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Jake Cowan, Marcus Gaddy
June 2020

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

Communities are hungry to be able to use data as a tool to bring stakeholders together and make progress on ambitious goals such as reducing persistent poverty and advancing economic mobility. Despite the widespread interest in using data, actors across sectors too often lack the necessary data skills and resources to fulfill these aspirations. And the capacity to use data that does exist in communities is not held equitably. Foundations, whether national or tied to a place, are positioned to use their resources and influence to help remedy both the overall shortage and the unequal distribution of skills and resources to use data. To enhance a community’s ability to achieve change, they can promote the use of data by grantees, champion community data resources and capacity, and invest directly in building community-wide capacity.