Data for Change
At Family Independence Initiative (FII), we’ve learned that information can lead to social change. By documenting the successes of the families enrolled in our Demonstration Projects, we are growing a rich body of data that shines a light on the initiative, creativity, and leadership of low-income communities. Families can leverage that data to further their goals, and we can use that data to ultimately drive a shift in how this country views and responds to low-income communities.
With our growing set of data and stories, supported by academic research, FII is using the information families provide on their initiative to dispel negative stereotypes. FII is modeling how that information can be used to develop vehicles through which families can access the capital they need to move forward. By working together with friends, these families can re-establish America’s lost social and economic mobility.
Repurposing a data management platform being utilized by hedge fund managers (InvestCloud), FII has developed a sophisticated cloud-based, real-time data journaling system where families enter their progress and initiatives online monthly. Tied to the journaling system is a social media site (Uptogether.org) where families can advise or encourage one another, and access resources such as crowd-sourced funding, loans, scholarships, and mini-grants.
FII is modeling the creation of a demand-driven marketplace of opportunity and investment. FII’s data system focuses on capturing actions and outcomes around income, social networking, and markers of well-being, totaling about 200 data points. FII analyzes this information to indicate what is important to families as they strive. In response, we can align resources, contacts, or capital for families to access when and how they want. In this way, we utilize technology and analysis like Amazon does when they personalize recommendations to their consumers, or when Walmart determines what to put on shelves during the back-to-school season.
Families use the data as well. They can track their progress online, the same way one might use a mobile app to track daily calories burned or weekly spending. They also can see their peers’ progress for inspiration, or to provide or ask for support.