General Services Administration
Built in 2014 in the spirit of America's top tech startups, 18F is a digital consultancy for the US government inside the US government, working with federal agencies to rapidly deploy tools and online services that are reusable, cut costs, and are easier for people and businesses to use. 18F is a growing team of technology experts that build custom solutions to pressing problems and also help agencies buy better products from private vendors. In 2015, 18F doubled the size of its team from 80 to over 160 as its product and consulting work increased. Unlike other technology teams in the federal government, 18F is a fee-for-service organization, helping customer agencies deliver on their mission-critical projects. In fiscal year 2015, the 18F team delivered over a dozen products for their customer agencies and released a number of tools and platforms that help make their team more efficient and effective.
Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program
State of Alaska
The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) began in 1995 as a scholarship program for university students and has evolved into a longitudinal education model that provides a continuous string of components beginning with students in sixth grade. The program continues through high school, and into science and engineering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through to the PhD level for approximately 2,000 students from 96 communities that are performing far above national averages. ANSEP serves those from some of the most underserved communities in the nation, with geographically isolated students who are often the first in their families to attend formal schooling and traditionally struggle with literacy rates, and math and science skills.
Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative
State of Arkansas
Confronted with a ballooning budget and potential shortfall in 2011, Arkansas Medicaid formed a unique public-private collaborative to design new financial incentives to reward effective stewardship by health-care providers in concert with patients, policymakers, and payers. They designed a mandatory, retrospective reconciliation payment process that offered shared savings or cost sharing with a principal accountable provider (PAP), either a physician or hospital, based on risk-adjusted average cost per case. The design and implementation process involved broad outreach to facilitate stakeholder input and engagement. Extensive data mining of administrative data created innovative report cards posted on a new internet portal that gave providers meaningful data about the patient journey and resource consumption during their acute episode. The program launched its first five episodes in July 2012; several episodes of care have completed payment and rewards cycles, which have shown costs decreasing or maintaining. In 2013, Arkansas Medicaid designed a patient-centered medical home program to reinvigorate primary care and promote preventive and chronic disease management, which would in turn reward effective total cost of care and quality performance. It also invested in a risk-adjusted $5 per member per month to the practices with the expectation of achievement of specific practice transformation goals such as 24/7 live voice access and care plans for high-risk patients. The program offered substantial savings for achievement in managing total cost of care. In addition, it provided practice coaches to assist clinical sites in transformation planning. In January 2014, the program launched with 100 practice sites and over 600 physicians. In its third year, there are now have 180 practice sites, nearly 900 physicians, and enrollment of 85 percent of eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. It has become a popular and highly accepted facet of Arkansas health care with replication by private payers. Since the start of the program, Arkansas Medicaid has analyzed nearly 1.5 billion claims to create 35,000 quarterly reports for 2,500 PAPs.
City of Atlanta, GA
The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in the city of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. It represents a new framework for the region’s growth, centered on Transit Oriented Development, an unprecedented expansion of parkland and public spaces, and vital expansion of the regional transit and transportation network. As a major new transportation corridor with direct connections into downtown and midtown, the Atlanta BeltLine provides critical first- and last-mile connectivity. With links to the existing commuter rail system (MARTA) and other transit services from outlying suburban communities, the transit component of the Atlanta BeltLine is critical for long-term transportation initiatives benefiting everyone in the entire metro Atlanta region and beyond. Four trail segments and six new or renovated parks are now open for public enjoyment. More than 6,000 new permanent jobs have been created by $3 billion in economic development in the planning area in the past 10 years. Nearly 15,500 new housing units have developed within a half-mile of the corridor, and more than 1.2 million people used the two-mile Eastside Trail in 2015 alone.
B'More for Healthy Babies
City of Baltimore, MD
Baltimore City has historically had one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country: in 2009, 127 babies died before their first birthday — a mortality rate nearly twice that of the national average. Disparities were significant as well: black babies in Baltimore were at the time five times more likely to die than white babies were. To tackle this challenge, hundreds of organizations were working across Baltimore to improve health outcomes for infants, but this resulted in program and data silos, as well as duplication of work. B’More for Healthy Babies (BHB) was developed in response to this public health crisis and the subsequent fragmentation of efforts. It is a comprehensive, collaborative initiative that brings together city agencies, health-care institutions, community-based programs, and leaders from multiple sectors including private, nonprofit, academic, and public to tackle the multiple causes of infant mortality. Key features include home visits, early Head Start, the Sleep Safe initiative, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, a prenatal health literacy program called Baby Basics, a family planning program, and a program to prevent substance-exposed pregnancies. Five years after the launch of BHB, the gap between black and white infant deaths has closed by almost 35 percent. The infant mortality rate has decreased by 23 percent over the past seven years. Infant sleep-related deaths have decreased by 50 percent since the initiative was launched. In 2014, there were 13 sleep-related deaths, the lowest number in Baltimore in recorded history. Teen birth rates in Baltimore have also seen a significant reduction of 36 percent from 2009 to 2013.
Becoming A Man
Chicago Public Schools, IL
Chicago Public Schools Youth Guidance’s Becoming A Man (BAM) program provides school-based clinical counseling to address challenges confronting low-income, minority male youth. Implemented in 2001 to guide young men as they learn, internalize, and practice social skills, make responsible decisions for their future, and become positive members of their school and community, University of Chicago researchers found statistically significant evidence that BAM participation decreases arrests and increases school engagement, resulting in higher graduation rates. Throughout expansion, BAM paid close attention to effective hiring and staff development, program fidelity, and cultivation of effective school partnerships. During 2013–2015, the Crime Lab conducted a second randomized controlled trial of BAM to disentangle impacts of specific program components on student outcomes. Preliminary results from the study replicate impacts from their earlier study, suggesting that Becoming A Man continues to produce socially significant impact at scale.
BiblioTech Digital Library
County of Bexar, TX
Bexar County's BiblioTech is the first all-digital library in the United States. BiblioTech was established in September 2013 and built on the Southside of San Antonio to bridge the digital divide in Bexar County. The county is almost 1,200-square-miles and one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The library allows access to a digital collection of books, periodicals, and additional assets 24 hours a day. This model represents significant savings for the county. For instance, the Southside location of the library total cost was $2.3 million; by comparison, the city of Austin opened a new library at a cost of $120 million, plus the operating cost of maintaining paper books.
City of New York, NY
The New York City BigApps Competition is the largest city-run civic tech competition in the country. The annual competition is the brainchild of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). First announced in June 2009, the BigApps Competition was designed to be an annual contest spanning several months that would incentivize software developers and members of the public to use newly released city data to create web and mobile applications with the chance to win cash prizes. BigApps aimed to diversify New York City’s economy by strengthening the information technology and digital media sectors of the city’s business community, foster a culture of innovation, and make city government more transparent, accessible, and accountable to its citizens. As part of the competition’s initial launch, NYCEDC worked with more than 30 city agencies to release more than 170 datasets, including information on census figures, restaurant inspections, property sales, and traffic. BigApps empowered the public to use this newly released data to build applications that could improve life for New Yorkers. In the competition’s first year, 85 applications were submitted and 10 winners were awarded a total of $20,000. Since then, the program has evolved to themed competitions that address specific problems. For instance, in 2015, BigApps called for participants to build products addressing four specific city challenges consistent with the mayor’s priorities: affordable housing, zero waste, connected cities, and civic engagement. NYCEDC partnered with over a dozen city agencies, policy advocates, and tech experts to create a network of mentors that helped competition participants create impactful products addressing these issues. Recognizing that previous competition winners were often left with limited support after the contest's conclusion, NYCEDC also provided the 2015 winners with four months of programming and support services tailored towards civic tech innovators in addition to a total of $125,000 in cash prizes.
California Citizens Redistricting Commission
State of California
For decades, the California state and congressional districts were gerrymandered districts created by either a Democratic- or Republican-controlled legislative body. This process allowed legislators to choose their voters and virtually guarantee re-election, rigging outcomes and preventing voters from having a true voice in the selection of their representatives. Years of effort to work with partisan legislative bodies to prevent gerrymandering were unsuccessful. In 2008, Common Cause, The Irvine Foundation, and other nonprofit civic organizations launched the Voters First Act, a public initiative to take the drawing of district boundaries away from the state legislature and to give it to a 14-member citizen commission. California voters approved the ballot measure in the general elections and the Commission became an independent division of the State Government. The Commission, incorporating an unprecedented level of public involvement and transparency, completed the 2011 redistricting and it’s maps were used in the 2012 California general elections. Presently, the Commission is preparing the foundation work for the next Commission, who will be selected in 2020, to help smooth the process and to ensure future underserved communities and communities of interest are actively engaged in the democratic process.
The CCPL Way: A Revolutionary Approach to Reference
County of Chesterfield, VA
In 2012, Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) implemented Your Personal Librarian, a reference service in which customers meet once with a librarian for help with a learning question (e.g. setting up an email account). This laid the groundwork for later fleshing out the broader concepts of The CCPL Way, their revolutionary new reference approach. During the summer of 2014, as part of the next CCPL Strategic Plan, Library Services Administrators wanted to improve the reference experience in order to address the complex needs people often face today such as job, finance or education related challenges. They believed the library could redefine its role and be of greater value by breaking out of the traditional reference desk mold wherein the customary approach delivers just one “right” answer to a simple question.
The CCPL Way encompasses two goals:
- Turn outward in all that they do, break down the walls between the library/librarian and the customer/community in a way that staff can embrace in their daily performance. CCPL replaced the physical reference desk in some locations with inviting “living room” furniture and trained staff in how to appreciate and capitalize on their own engagement style to maximize approachability.
- Create transformative 21st century library experiences by cultivating a learning-charged environment: engage customers with unique learning opportunities. A Learning Plan is the flexible, outcome-based reference application created to help customers collaboratively achieve personal goals through a series of sessions with a librarian. Designed to support this process, The Learning Plan Toolkit is a tangible adaptable guide that informs interactions between librarian and customer via specific steps, goals, resources and plans for follow-up.
In October 2014, this strategic plan was approved and carried out at two libraries via a “soft launch." In January 2015, implementation was slowly rolled out in all locations, and the number of successfully completed Learning Plans has risen steadily.
Cell-ED Pilot Program
State of New York
Cell-ED is a pilot program to provide free English-language training via mobile phones to hundreds of immigrants in New York State who may lack regular access to a classroom, a computer, or the internet. Learners will gain access to self-paced audio and text lessons through their personal cell phones. Despite record state investments in English language education, there are more than 900,000 limited English proficient immigrants in New York State. A lack of transportation, fear of being deported when outside of their work or home environments, or a demanding day of work serve as barriers to attending an English-language class. To address this issue, the New York State Office for New Americans partnered with social impact venture Cell-ED to provide free English-language training via mobile phones to hundreds of immigrant in the state. Participants call the program from a cell phone and listen to lessons, and once the lesson is complete, they are asked questions they answer via text messages to demonstrate comprehension. If the learner answers the questions correctly, they will move on to the next unit. If the learner is having difficulty, a coach calls to clarify the lesson. The program is free (excluding minutes and texts billed at the rate of the user’s cell phone plan). Though it was initially difficult to reach the target population through the state agency staff and outreach, office staff increased the program’s reach by working with community-based partners, faith-based groups, immigrant advocates, and the farming community to open access to the program to immigrant farm workers and low-wage Latino workers. Since its inception, more than 220 have completed the 45 units, with 730 currently in the learning pipeline.
Center for Distance Health
State of Arkansas
In a primarily rural and largely medically underserved state, increasing access to health care is an enormous, ongoing challenge. Arkansas represents just one of 15 states in the United States where the population is more than 50 percent rural. In rural communities, there are many daunting realities, like poverty and lack of access to specialty health care. Sadly, these deficiencies contribute to poor health outcomes, with the state ranking 48th in overall health in 2015. Leaders at the state’s only academic medical center, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), responded to this crisis by launching a program that leveraged creative community partnerships to bring medical care directly to the rural population through real-time video technologies known as telemedicine. Initially formed through an alliance with the state’s Medicaid program and UAMS, the Center for Distance Health has partnered with health-care competitors, insurance companies, prison systems, and federal- and state-supported community clinics to bring health care closer to the people of Arkansas. In 2003, UAMS and Arkansas Medicaid established ANGELS, an interactive video consultation service for Arkansas’ rural, high-risk pregnant women and their providers. ANGELS’ success helped establish the UAMS Center for Distance Health (CDH) in 2007, which delivers specialty clinical expertise through interactive video to address Arkansans’ health disparities. The CDH now manages ANGELS and other medical consultation programs that leverage real-time technologies to connect UAMS specialists to patients, hospitals, and clinics to rural locations throughout Arkansas where no such expertise exists. The CDH has brought 21 telemedicine and 10 distance education programs to rural Arkansans, collectively conducting over 77,000 clinical consultations and educating over 3,238 patients and students in 2015 alone. Moreover, the CDH led to the creation of a statewide telemedicine network through federal grant support, which currently provides telemedical connectivity to more than 400 health care entities.
A Center for Innovation and Excellence
County of Hennepin, MN
The Center of Innovation and Excellence (CIE) in Hennepin County government has generated refreshed energy in fostering a culture of problem solving, problem prevention, continuous improvement, and creating a new future. The CIE uses innovative methods and strategies to engage employees and the community. Today, the philosophy of the department is to move the organization toward creating a culture of innovation. Problem solving and problem prevention are still offered in research and policy analysis with a new emphasis on program evaluation. Continuous improvement projects have used LEAN and Six Sigma management methodologies to offer Kaizen events for contracting, human services, land acquisition, and the library. Change management is also offered through CIE. In addition, a new set of tools has been introduced to help Hennepin County create a new future, including design thinking and service design, Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), and civic engagement. While many of these practices were not new to the county or local industry, this new presentation offers a range of services and possibilities to engage county operations, human services, health, public works, and public safety.
Citizens' Initiative Review
State of Oregon
One of the earliest states to adopt the initiative system to introduce ballot measures, Oregon was the first in the nation to adopt the Citizens' Initiative Review (CIR) model after experiencing dramatic increases in both the number of initiatives filed and the amount of money campaigns were spending. Research conducted in Oregon suggested that voters were searching for trustworthy sources of high quality and unbiased information on which to base decisions regarding ballot initiatives, and the CIR was established in response to that need. During the review process, a randomly selected and demographically balanced panel is selected to match the demographics of the state's population concerning party affiliation, voting frequency, age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, and geographic location. Twenty-four panelists meet for several days to review a ballot measure. In order to ensure economic diversity, they are compensated for their time and travel expenses. Trained moderators guide the panelists as they gather information, interview neutral policy experts, question advocates for and against the measure, and deliberate. At the conclusion of each review, panelists draft a “Citizens’ Statement” highlighting the most important findings about the measure and the most relevant arguments for and against its passage. The statement is published in the Voters’ Guide as an easily accessible resource for voters to use at election time. Independent research conducted on the CIR since its inception has indicated that the reviews were unbiased, widely used, and help voters learn more about the ballot measures than other parts of the Voters’ Guide. The CIR was launched in Oregon as a pilot project in 2010, and was later made a permanent part of Oregon elections when the Oregon legislature created a state commission, the Citizens' Initiative Review Commission (CIRC), to oversee the CIR process. The CIRC is comprised of former panelists, former moderators, and appointees from the governor and senate leadership. Oregon held its fourth round of CIRs in 2016, having worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders and participants on continual process improvements. The success of the CIR in Oregon led to a pilot project in Arizona in 2014, which has since resulted in the adoption of the CIR by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, which ran the first publicly funded CIR in the nation in 2016.
Citywide Analytics Team
City of Boston, MA
The Citywide Analytics Team uses data to improve quality of life and enhance government operations in the city of Boston. By combining data analysis and visualizations with an engaged approach, the team works with departments to solve challenging urban problems and build a more effective government for Boston’s residents. Since early 2015, the team of 20 staff people has implemented projects like CityScore, which aggregates and displays key metrics from across the city that help the mayor and department executives spot trends that need additional investigation, and measure the impact of changes to process and policy. Other programs include using data to prevent firefighter injuries, improving traffic flow through a partnership with Waze’s Connected Citizen program, and engaging the public with the Open Data to Open Knowledge Project partnering with the Boston Public Library to re-imagine the city’s data as a resource for public knowledge.
Commodity Distribution Point Program
City of New York, NY
The New York City (NYC) Commodity Distribution Point (CDP) Program is a coordinated, City-led operation to distribute temporarily unavailable life-sustaining commodities such as food, water, baby formula, or other essential items to the public following an emergency that disrupts access to traditional supply chains. Introduced after the debut of the citywide Coastal Storm Plan in 2006, the program was redesigned after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, evolving into a more urban-focused initiative with a structure that is less reliant on external support, which allows NYC to sustain itself with its own resources. Through the process of developing the CDP Program using real-world experience, NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM), in coordination with multiple City agencies, primarily with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), developed pedestrian-based distribution models tailored for the needs of an urban population. NYCEM built the program to incorporate support from the New York National Guard, as well as a robust City employee and volunteer training program to get local New Yorkers involved in the response operation. The program training is designed so that City employees manage command-and-control functions, while volunteers from NYC Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) support field staffing. The incorporation of the CERT training was essential as it integrates a much-needed local community element into the response, allowing the program to respond to the needs of the community using firsthand local knowledge. The local community involvement also ensures that the local languages are spoken and the local dietary requirements are met such as kosher or halal meals. During a full-scale activation, the program could be required to support up to 20,000 people per site at more than 64 individual sites. This effort will require the support of more than 4,000 dedicated distribution staff. The program incorporates both indoor and outdoor site locations, all of which have been surveyed, mapped, and cataloged in a geographic information database. The program is also supported by a third-party logistics provider, which helps map the stockpile management, mobilization, deployment, resupply, and demobilization to support the operation indefinitely.
Community and Regional Development Program
State of North Carolina
In 2009, East Carolina University’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development aggressively worked to identify critical issues that limit eastern North Carolina communities and create barriers to increased competitiveness and economic vitality. University staff reached out to regional and state partners to help define those issues, and frame a programmatic response. Data revealed that eastern communities had an immediate need for financial resources, additional capacity to acquire new resources, professional assistance with project development, and basic administrative and management support to enhance public service delivery. In response to their findings, the university established the Community and Regional Development Program, a comprehensive offering of products and services that target small, rural and limited resource communities. This Program is a multi-tiered approach characterized by increased levels of collaboration, regional investment, and direct engagement on behalf of distressed communities. Components include:
Municipal Management and Innovation is an initiative that focuses on direct engagement with small municipalities and offers training, technical assistance, and capacity building to help increase administrative capacities and enhance public service delivery.
Talent Enhancement and Capacity Building is a partnership with North Carolina Commerce that provides financial assistance, technical assistance, capacity building, and community development training to local governments and nonprofits.
Outreach Network is a collaborative of faculty, staff, and students who work directly with local governments and nonprofit organizations to help prioritize organizational resource needs, identify resources, and prepare grant applications.
The most recent addition to the Community and Regional Development program is the Rural Community Consortium. The Consortium is a formal partnership that directly engages the university with external partners through discussion and policy groups that include the Rural Leadership Group, the Campus Consortium and the Eastern NC Community Consortium.
Community Engagement Division
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
The Community Engagement Division (CED) brings the resources of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office(AGO) to previously underserved communities, engaging people and providing direct access wherever they live. Realizing that many Massachusetts residents were unaware of the assistance and resources directly available to them, Attorney General Maura Healey announced in her inaugural address in January 2015 that she would make community engagement a top priority of her office. CED launched an initiative called Community Action Hours (CAH), which builds on AG Healey’s promise to bring the resources of the office directly to the neighborhoods at times and places that are more convenient for residents. These community events are held all across the Commonwealth to increase the office’s visibility, educate citizens about the resources available to them, and bridge the gap to underserved communities. The AG’s staff take consumer complaints and provide trainings on a variety of topics, such as landlord and tenant rights, consumer protection, and worker’s rights. Since June 2015, CED staff have assisted 8,357 people and oversees the administration of grants to nonprofit agencies across Massachusetts that are funded through settlements achieved by the Attorney General’s Office. During fiscal year 2015, the Attorney General’s Office awarded more than $14 million in grants to support efforts related to consumer protection, financial literacy, public health and safety, youth employment, mitigation of the foreclosure crisis and to support voluntary mediation services. Most recently, the Attorney General’s Office implemented two new initiatives connecting residents of Massachusetts with free legal services; Wage & Hour Clinics and Consumer Debt Collection workshops. The Wage & Hour clinics invite workers who have received a Private Right of Action letter from the AGO to attend the clinic and be matched with legal service providers who can give them advice and potentially represent them in legal action to reclaim their lost wages. In the Debt Collection Workshops, consumers who have been sued over a debt in the Small Claims session at the Boston Municipal Court are mailed a letter by the AGO encouraging them to attend, and at the session are match with volunteer lawyers to represent them at the session. Both initiatives validate AG Healey’s commitment to being an innovator in order to better serve the people of the Commonwealth.
Community Improvement District Revolving Loan Fund
City of Kansas City, MO
Of the almost 200 Zip+4 zones in Kansas City, 98 zones were considered economically distressed in 2011 when the city began its Community Improvement District (CID) Revolving Loan Fund, enabling citizens in a neighborhood to take action and lead change from within. Instead of relying on outsiders to make neighborhoods better, the CID Revolving Loan Fund provided committed citizens with the means to take action. This approach enabled the city to provide resources from a top-down perspective, but also focus on opportunities where neighborhood leaders could identify and solve issues from the bottom up. Leaders in a neighborhood with resources and support can make changes that stand the test of time and fundamentally alter their landscape. Once a CID is formed, those organizations repay the fund, making funds available for additional organizations. As part of this effort, the city worked on a variety of tools that assisted organizations in the formation of their CIDs and keep their expenses down.
The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce was the first organization to work under the CID Revolving Fund ordinance. It established the “Independence Avenue Community Improvement District” on March 21, 2013, which provided for enhanced and reliable improvements, security, services, and activities, such as general maintenance of public areas, continued efforts to address area beautification related issues, as well as other concerns within the Independence Avenue corridor. This CID successfully led “crime and grime” maintenance and landscaping projects, hosted neighborhood pride activities, and supported the construction of community centers. The CID Revolving Fund leveraged the success of a similar program developed by local business leaders in 2006, when the Downtown Community Improvement District helped lead the renaissance of the downtown section of the city. During the last 10 years, these businesses collaborated to generate over $6 billion worth of improvements and established a secure environment into which the city could invest in a modern streetcar line and smart city program. It is the city’s hope that by continuing to enable local citizens to take their communities back, future development across all 318 square miles of Kansas City will follow a similar growth pattern.
The Community Response Team
City of Colorado Springs, CO
Before 2015, when the Colorado Springs Fire Department responded to its 1,400 behavioral health crisis calls per year, 98 percent of those calls ended at the hospital, where patients waited days for placement in a treatment facility. Lack of community solutions for behavioral health crisis meant that emergency responders, without psychiatric training, responded to these situations. In Colorado Springs, since hospitals were designed to handle medical emergencies, not psychiatric situations, patients not transferred to alternative placements were temporarily stabilized and discharged without definitive care. Furthermore, fire and police response to behavioral health crises meant that sometimes they were unavailable for their intended duties: assisting citizens with medical and safety emergencies. Equally important, patients in crisis were not receiving the care they required when they required it. In 2013, a local summit to address the lack of mental health services brought 36 different agencies together to map the existing behavioral health process. Using Lean Six Sigma over six months to visualize gaps in services, the agencies learned that law enforcement and emergency medical providers were responding to these calls, even though a behavioral health clinician would have been more appropriate to assess and address the situation. However, determining complicating health factors required a medical provider and the safety of the clinician mandated law enforcement clearance. In 2014, three agencies signed agreements to launch the Community Response Team (CRT), a three-person emergency response unit to connect patients in crisis with the appropriate level of care. The unit deployed on December 1, 2014. In its first six months, only 6 percent of patients seen by CRT transported to the emergency room led to the deployment of a second unit on July 1, 2015 to fill gaps. The Fire Department contributed a medical provider to perform on-scene assessment and point-of-care testing, enabling direct admittance to facilities, while the Police Department provided an officer to ensure scene safety. AspenPointe contributed a licensed behavioral health clinician to treat the patient in place or determine where in the community could serve the patient. Not only can this team transport patients to various facilities, including the Crisis Stabilization Unit and county detox, they can refer the patient to a navigation specialist for assistance with access to community services. The collaboration from the 2014 summit has continued, as community medical and behavioral health leaders across the public, private and non-profit sectors participate in a committee that defines CRT procedures and continuously improves area behavioral healthcare services.
Community Treatment Units
County of Clayton, GA
Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services is charged with providing health care on an emergency basis to more than 267,542 citizens through 12 Advanced Life Support Transport Units, one Community Paramedicine Unit, and three new Community Treatment Units. Federally designated by the Department of Health and Human Services as a Medically Underserved Area in 2013 and a Healthcare Professional Shortage Area in 2012, Clayton County was experiencing higher than average gaps in the continuity and availability of medical care for its citizens. The Board of Commissioners, through its Fire and Emergency Services Department, sought to remedy some of the access issues by providing non-acute medical care to its citizens through the use of nine nurse practitioners functioning as an integral part of its Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program. In January of 2013, a presentation was given to the commissioners outlining the state of emergency medical services (EMS) in Clayton County and, more specifically, the state of health care and the challenges that lay ahead. During this retreat, several options to address gaps within the local health-care model were presented to the commissioners based on an analysis funded by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The study indicated that approximately 15 percent of Medicare patients transported to the emergency department by ambulance can be safely cared for in other settings if available in a community. National models suggest that if these patients were transported to a physician's office, Medicare could save $559 million per year, and if they were treated at home, the expected savings would be significantly higher. Given the low-acuity nature of many patients being transported, one may anticipate a better patient care experience when patients are either treated at the scene by EMS or taken to a clinic-based provider with shorter wait times than in the emergency department. After just over two years of data gathering, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the $1.9 million budget and the hiring of the nurse practitioners commenced immediately. To date, all nine have been hired and paired with their paramedic partners.
Community Welcoming & Gathering Place
County of Montgomery, MD
The Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza is the community's gathering place, and for citizens, serves as their communal living room and patio. In that space, people from all walks of life, different parts of the world, and across the age spectrum come together to celebrate the intersection of culture and commerce. Today, the space is truly the premier place in the region for community celebrations, festivals, and gatherings of all sorts. There are over 20 festivals a year on the plaza, with community celebrations and gatherings almost every weekend in the great hall and hundreds of community meetings for public discourse. Only a handful of these events are programmed, produced, or funded by the county, with the majority organized and funded by community members.
Comprehensive Strategic Planning
City of Rock Hill, SC
The city of Rock Hill has developed a comprehensive approach to the creation of a strategic plan that aligns citizen input and perspectives with goals, objectives, and tasks. Directly impacting work programs and budgets, these measures apprise stakeholders of progress and guide informed decision-making. The full-circle approach to strategic planning is a three-year process beginning with the National Citizen Survey. Citizens provide thoughts on a wide range of topics including safety, public infrastructure, parks, and their informational sources, and are randomly invited to participate in focus groups through a third party. Business surveys and employee surveys are internally executed as well. The results are then discussed in a retreat setting with city council members and the management team. Through a collaborative process, the strategic plan’s goals, objectives, and tasks are then created under the umbrella of three focus areas: Quality Services, Quality Places, and Quality Community. Following the development of the strategic plan, the city then engages the community through a variety of methods. Specific tasks and large capital projects are reviewed during six ward meetings for citizens. Key influencer meetings bring together different facets of the community, from high school students to retirees, where participants delve into the future of Rock Hill. Annual changes are made to the strategic plan to address new feedback. The cycle continues with biannual reports and presentations, keeping city staff accountable for their responsibilities. Utilization of city dashboards, monthly performance and financial reports, and budget information also promote transparency.
Computer Coding Initiative
State of Arkansas
Arkansas’ 2015 General Assembly unanimously passed the most comprehensive computer science legislation in the nation, requiring a computer science course be made available to all public high school students beginning in the 2015–2016 school year. To attract students, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) amended its graduation requirements to allow a computer science credit in lieu of a mathematics or science credit. Soon afterwards, in fall of 2015, ADE led the development of unprecedented, first-of-its-kind K–8 computer science standards to be taught to all K–8 students in Arkansas public schools by the 2017–2018 school year. To kickstart the initiative and address challenges, the governor’s office set aside $5 million and requested for ADE to hire a computer science coordinator to oversee statewide efforts, primarily by expanding the quantity and quality of teachers available. Prior to this school year, few educators were trained and certified to teach computer science in Arkansas. The state also provides two virtual courses at no cost to Arkansas high schools to fill gaps in districts where no computer science teacher is available. Other groups, such as the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science, and the Arts, have supported these efforts by partnering with high schools to expand computer science instruction and training teachers through a hybrid model. To date, nearly 4,000 students have received training and education through the program.
Computer Vision for Conservation
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
There are only around 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today, making them one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Individuals can be identified by photographs taken from vessels and airplanes, and then compared to the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog run by the New England Aquarium. Knowing the individual identity of a whale opens up many possible avenues of research and conservation management including demographics, social structure, and informed disentanglement operations. The process of matching a photograph to the catalog can be time-consuming, and finding a way to automate this process using the latest in image-recognition technology would free up valuable time and resources so that scientists have more time and energy to devote towards the conservation of these endangered whales. In November 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contracted with Kaggle, a platform for predictive modelling and analytics competitions, to crowdsource a technology solution. The competition ran from August 2015 through January 2016 with a $10,000 prize pool sponsored by MathWorks, and NOAA Fisheries provided the right whale aerial photographs and associated data set. Data scientists competed to create an algorithm to match a photograph of a right whale to its unique individual identity. The winning solution by software company Deepsense.io relied heavily on convolutional neural networks in their solution to achieve 87% accuracy. This is very different than other approaches to image recognition that typically seek to count the number of individuals in the photograph and classify them to species. This solution actually classifies the whales to their unique individual identity. NOAA plans to use this algorithm to create software to automate the process of identifying whales, thereby freeing up valuable time and resources.
Congressional App Challenge
House of Representatives
The Congressional App Challenge is the first effort to leverage the power and reach of Congress to inspire students of all backgrounds to code through app challenges hosted by Representatives. This challenge has unparalleled capacity to reach students nationwide, and represents the largest set of simultaneous challenges ever held. While companies and nonprofits may have widespread reach, no institution has the all-encompassing reach that the House of Representatives does. In 2014, 80 Representatives hosted challenges. In 2015, that number grew to 116. These 116 Members hosted challenges in 32 states, the largest number of simultaneous, independent challenges ever undertaken. More than 1,700 students signed up to participate and over 500 original apps were submitted. Thanks to deliberate efforts targeted at inclusion, the challenge surpassed tech industry averages on many scales: 30 percent of the participants were young women, while over 10 percent and 13 percent identified as Black or Hispanic, respectively. This turnout demonstrates the true potential of this innovative government initiative to elicit interest in programming while addressing the critical problem of diversity.
Consumption Based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program
City of Oakland, CA
The city of Oakland has developed the first municipal greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory in the nation to use a consumption-based approach, which addresses all emissions associated with goods and services consumed by the population of the community. This approach aligns GHG goals, programs, and reporting with traditional demand-side economics and policy, and offers the most direct and comprehensive strategy for reaching the internationally determined GHG reduction targets set by the UN at COP21 in Paris in 2015. The city responded by developing a methodology to assess the lifecycle GHG impacts of goods and services consumed in Oakland. While the data available for this effort is limited, the city coordinated with partners at UC Berkeley, Argonne National Laboratory, and a host of local and regional service providers to estimate the consumption associated with economic activity and develop GHG emissions associated with the development, transport, use, and disposal of all such products. This approach underwent review by ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, a nonprofit that developed the standard software used by cities to conduct these inventories, which found the approach innovative and dynamic. The resulting emissions characterizations were remarkable: The City's emissions under the standard approach were 2.77 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e). Using the new consumption-based approach, the emissions total rose to 7.63 MMTCO2e, highlighting that 64 percent of the emissions profile is not captured under the standard approach and the difference in impact of the various policy options undertaken by the city to reduce emissions. Waste reduction programs were found to have an enormous impact on consumption-based emissions, by not only reducing methane generation in landfills (the only emission counted in the standard approach), but also by reducing the need for raw materials extraction, processing, manufacturing, and transportation. The city's report highlighting these findings was released in April 2016.
City of Austin, TX
Conversation Corps empowers local volunteers to host civil, civic dialogue that gives Central Texans a powerful voice in shaping the future of our community. Brought to you through a partnership between the City of Austin, Capital Metro and the Austin Independent Schools District, the program envisions an Austin that tackles tough issues through the power of dialogue and gives anyone and everyone the opportunity share their voice. Using an accessible model, Conversation Corps offers free training opportunities for anyone interested in facilitating meaningful dialogue and brings conversations to comfortable and convenient settings where volunteers facilitate dialogue that enables participants to hear from others and learn from different perspectives. Feedback from conversations is then shared with decision-makers at one or more of the three partner agencies and participants are kept in the loop about how their feedback is used. Our corps of trained volunteers is at the ready to host conversations in all parts of the city about the things that matter most to the people who live here.
Creating Community Solutions
Department of Health & Human Services
Responding to the Sandy Hook tragedy, in January 2013, President Barack Obama directed Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Secretary Arne Duncan of the US Department of Education to launch a national dialogue on mental health. Secretary Sebelius recognized that mental illness affects nearly every family, yet there is a continued struggle to have an open and honest conversation around the issue. Misperceptions, discrimination, fears of social consequences, and the discomfort associated with talking about such illnesses all tend to keep people silent; but with early intervention, many people with mental illnesses can and do lead productive and full lives.
The challenge facing the administration was how to convene a national participation process that would help Americans to learn more about mental health issues, assess how mental health problems affect their communities and younger populations, and decide what actions to take to improve mental health in their families, schools, and communities.
Officials from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within HHS, understood the need to collaborate with the field of deliberative democracy in order to design a process that integrated multiple levels of collaboration. Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the National Institute for Civil Discourse called together the leaders of five other deliberative democracy organizations to spearhead Creating Community Solutions (CCS). Under the umbrella of CCS, 230 community conversations on mental health have occurred to date.
Cuyahoga Land Bank-Neighborhood Stabilization
County of Cuyahoga, OH
This program is a national model for neighborhood stabilization and community development. Its activities span countywide and are a merger of major Ohio tax foreclosure reform, with a highly transactional, reliably funded government-created nonprofit corporation that partners with all county municipalities, Community Development Corporations, and numerous social service agencies. This work is undergirded by sophisticated research tools that deploy all public databases over which the program has created its own adjacency analyses providing real-time strategic data for property disposition and tax foreclosure initiation. The program’s successes have resulted in over $80 million of recent program grant support. Further, the program has maintained perfect annual financial audits from the Ohio State Auditor.
Development Finance Initiative
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government assists local governments with attracting private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI partners with communities on projects including building reuse, community development, downtown revitalization, economic development, neighborhood redevelopment, and small business finance.
California State University
Digital Democracy delivers a first-of-its-kind online, searchable database of California legislative hearings, enabling users to search video archives by keyword, topic, speaker or date. Through advanced software technologies, inventories of dense, static bill text and vote counts give way to interactive multimedia clips that bring the lawmaking process to life. Prior to its inception, the IT staff within the California state legislature dismissed the concept as technologically infeasible and cost prohibitive. One state software developer estimated the cost to build the platform at $80–100 million. A rough proof-of-concept platform built by the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy at the California Polytechnic State University was demonstrated in June 2014 and caught the attention of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which provided the $1.2 million of funding. Over the next six months, nearly 50 students built the full-scale platform. The site was released to the public in May 2015 and has been live without interruption since. Teams of students continue to develop and deploy new technology innovations to increase the site’s effectiveness. Since launch, significant technology improvements have been made to increase the automation and accuracy of transcription and speaker identification. Additionally, students have developed and deployed new tools requested by users, including an e-mail notification system and a custom video player that enables the clipping, montaging, and social media sharing and embedding of key video moments. With a growing ‘big data’ set underlying the platform, students are currently developing analytics to explore trends and relationships between special interests and lawmakers.
Diplomacy Lab at Stevens Institute of Technology
US Department of State
Launched in 2013 by the Secretary of State’s Office, the Diplomacy Lab at Stevens Institute of Technology was created to enable the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy by harnessing the efforts of students and faculty at universities across the country. Each semester a list of proposed projects is shared with participating universities, and then partner universities identify faculty members to lead teams of students in Diplomacy Lab projects and submit bids. The topics cover a wide array of international issues and challenges, including climate change, weapons nonproliferation, democracy and human rights, counter-terrorism, global health, energy security, gender equality, economic policy, trafficking in persons, food security, and conflict and stabilization. The State Department makes an effort to provide projects matching the strengths and interests of universities participating in Diplomacy Lab. A standard Diplomacy Lab team is generally a group of at least four students led by a faculty member. Over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the State Department. Students participating in the Diplomacy Lab explore real-world challenges identified by the State Department and work under the guidance of faculty members with expertise in a field related to the project. Students also discuss these issues with State Department officials several times throughout the semester. The Diplomacy Lab allows students to contribute directly to the policymaking process, while helping the State Department tap into an underutilized reservoir of intellectual capital. A modification that the program will undergo starting in fall 2016 is to customize the projects to better suit the interests and comparative advantages of Stevens Institute of Technology students.
Embedded Expert Driving Social Transformation
City of Houston, TX
In January 2012, Houston’s then-mayor identified ending homelessness among her top priorities. Throughout the next year, the mayor recognized that despite her political will to address this complex issue, the city alone lacked the expertise and resources to achieve large-scale social transformation to reach the goal. To overcome this, the mayor’s office appointed Houston’s first Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives and articulated their vision of marshaling national expertise and resources to identify the best, evidence-based practices to assist and expedite local efforts. By design, the embedded-expert formula harnessed the power of the entire Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) organization, a national nonprofit working in 40 states to create supportive housing (affordable housing with services), which is a proven intervention for ending chronic homelessness. CSH also helps communities build coordinated services delivery systems to meet the needs of vulnerable people and this approach has been particularly valuable in Houston. By June 2015, the mayor’s office was joined by three federal Cabinet Secretaries and other dignitaries to announce an effective end to veteran homelessness in Houston, and by 2016, over 3,500 veteran households were living in stable housing and there has been a 70-percent reduction in chronic homelessness.
Emergency Tele Health and Navigation
City of Houston, TX
Every year, the Houston Fire Department (HFD) responds to about 300,000 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls. While half of those calls results in patient transport by ambulance to an emergency room, the majority of those transports are primary care-related and do not require emergency transportation or a hospital visit. The traditional response of transporting EMS patients to hospital emergency rooms creates great inefficiencies by unnecessarily tying up highly specialized medical resources with non-emergent patients and receiving primary health care through the emergency medical services does not deliver quality patient outcomes and compromises continuity of care. To alleviate this problem, HFD experimented over the last eight years with different models of what is currently called the Emergency TeleHealth and Navigation (ETHAN) program. Those early models included multiple variations of a nurse phone line and an online triage algorithm used by centralized paramedic units and connected with the field. Those programs produced mixed results and had very limited impact on reducing the number of unnecessary ambulance transports and emergency room visits. Using lessons learned and newly available technology, starting in 2013, HFD brought together over 25 local and national organizations to design and collaborate on implementing a new project, called ETHAN. This includes the major local hospitals, community clinics, Houston Health Department, Clinton Foundation, Harris County Rides program, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, the local health information exchange, and multiple software and hardware providers. HFD obtained a grant from a state-federal government partnership to start the program. ETHAN allows patients who are determined to be non-emergent by the responding units to speak directly with an emergency physician via video conferencing software available on the tablet with each of HFD’s 225 fire and EMS units. Patients are triaged by the physician and navigated to the appropriate care setting and are also provided with cab transportation when needed instead of an ambulance transport. This allows the responding unit to go back in service much faster compared to a traditional non-ETHAN response, saving an average of 44 minutes per response. Health-care navigators from Houston Health Department later engage the patient to address any additional social and human services needs to reduce the patient’s dependence on 911 for the future. ETHAN’s technology infrastructure is integrated in a way that minimizes the effort needed from involved providers and securely shares patient information with all partners (primary care clinics, taxi provider, field responders, ETHAN physician, and health-care navigators).
Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center has strengthened public engagement on environmental issues by successfully institutionalizing the promotion and provision of high quality, easily accessible mediation and facilitation services. Through these services, the Center builds relationships among regulators, communities, and industry to achieve important environmental and social outcomes. Since 2009, the Center has completed an average of 85 environmental collaboration and conflict resolution cases per year. The vast majority of participants in the Center’s agreement-seeking processes say that they would recommend the process to others. The innovations pioneered by the Center include the nation’s first federal contract vehicle to provide access to highly qualified facilitators, mediators, and trainers. The Center developed landmark training in negotiation, dispute resolution, and public participation which is now offered to all of EPA’s staff and management nationwide. Other federal agencies, including the Department of Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers have emulated the Center’s approach and expanded the use of alternative dispute resolution and related services across the entire Federal government. This approach has resulted in improved environmental and social outcomes for otherwise intractable disputes. For example, in 2015 and 2016, the Center supported a facilitated public discussion in Minden, Louisiana, that identified alternative methods to destroy 80,000 pounds of munitions per day, other than the open burning method that was initially agreed to by the state and federal governments but opposed by the local community.
Equity & Environment Initiative
City of Seattle, WA
The Equity & Environment Initiative (EEI) is transforming the environmental movement by putting communities of color at its center through robust, leadership-building engagement. Across the US, race is the most significant predictor of a person living near contaminated air, water, or soil. Research shows that people of color, immigrants, refugees, and low income individuals (EEI communities) experience greater health impacts from environmental hazards than white, upper income individuals (even within same geographies) due to the cumulative impacts of stress, racism, pollutant exposure, disparate health care access, and lack of affordable healthy food. Despite increasing racial diversity in the US, people of color make up only 12% to 16% of those working at organizations, foundations, and government agencies focused on environmental issues. By 2040, people of color will comprise 54% of the Seattle metro area. To maintain its renowned environmental progress, Seattle must embrace policies focused on mitigating burdens for those most-affected and support all residents having greater ownership of and direct benefits from these policies. Seattle’s innovation was a new approach to simultaneously address environmental and social justice while enhancing civic leadership. The Equity & Environment Initiative, conceived in the spring of 2014, builds off Seattle’s Climate Action Plan and the Race and Social Justice Initiative and resulted in the nation’s first Equity & Environment Agenda. The Agenda, co-owned by EEI communities and the City, is a blueprint for advancing race and social justice in the environmental movement. It broadens the analysis of environment beyond natural and built environments to incorporate a greater complexity of issues, ranging from youth pathways for environmental careers to addressing cumulative impacts of environmental hazards and socio-economic conditions to using art and cultural strategies to develop environmental leadership. Considering issues of economic growth, decision-making power, community capacity, cultural assets, and environmental narrative while planning for transit, food access, hazard mitigation, or open space, is a new approach to understanding problems and creating holistic, interdisciplinary solutions.
Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Initiative
Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science
The Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (CCS) developed a collection of resources, designed by and for federal practitioners, focusing on two approaches to open innovation. Both approaches--crowdsourcing, in which organizations submit open calls for assistance from large groups of volunteer problem-solvers, and citizen science, in which public participants engage in any part of the scientific process--promote public engagement as a mechanism to address complex problems. These approaches represent new types of collaboration and engage members of the public, many of whom might not otherwise be consulted, in research and solution development, thus allowing researchers to gain valuable data and insights. Such open innovation in the federal government often faces challenges of awareness, culture, and institutional understanding. CCS initiatives help the federal government produce these new types of collaboration. CCS meetings and events have connected practitioners and built new capacity to develop broad federal understanding of the value of these approaches, as well as specific resources to support their implementation. Through a partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, and the General Services Administration, CCS delivers these resources to the federal community and public through a centralized, high-profile site at CitizenScience.gov. The site contains three dynamic components: a portal to CCS for federal workers, a how-to toolkit, and a catalog containing over 300 federal projects.
CCS mobilized 125 of its members to develop the toolkit, which offers guidance to federal practitioners on every aspect of a crowdsourcing or citizen science project from design through data analysis. Complemented by case studies, the toolkit provides the resources needed to pitch, launch, maintain, and scale projects. The catalog follows up on the toolkit and gives agencies the opportunity to detail the opportunities, results, and benefits of projects ranging from tracking weather to transcribing historical records. These resources are continually updated and improved by federal citizen science and crowdsourcing project managers to reflect the most current information. CCS also worked closely with the White House to shape a memo providing federal agencies with high-level support and guidance to further expand their use of crowdsourcing and citizen science. After five years of momentum-building by CCS and others, on January 6, 2017, President Obama signed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which for the first time gives clear, broad authority to all federal agencies to conduct citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. This bi-partisan bill points to an even brighter future for these approaches in government.
Financing Innovations Encourage Energy Efficiency
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department initiated Keystone HELP (Home Energy Loan Program) in 2006 under its authority as a prudent investor of state assets entrusted to it in a fiduciary capacity — funds held for principal protection and return, not appropriated funds for programs. The statewide program provided capital by purchasing loans made by AFC First Financial for approved energy efficiency (EE) improvements installed by a network of contractors managed for competence, knowledge of conservation principles, and business ethics. Supplemented by state and federal program funds to enable below-market interest rates, Keystone HELP became one of the most successful unsecured EE loan programs in the country. The program made 14,500 loans by the end of 2014 that provided $110 million in financing to Pennsylvania homeowners, and by 2012, the Treasury determined that it would be prudent to recapitalize a portion of its EE loan portfolio by selling some of its loans. Extensive ensuing research and marketing activities revealed that national capital markets were uninterested in the modest size and limited geographical diversity that the Treasury portfolio offered. At the same time, similar energy conservation efforts in numerous jurisdictions began identifying shortages in available capital as constraints on their ability to expand efficiency lending efforts. Treasury recognized the absence of a national warehouse to aggregate EE loans at sufficient scale and diversity as a wide moat frustrating access to capital markets. In response, the Treasury partnered with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to enlist a team of stakeholders to stand up a financing facility to bridge this divide. Private entities such as AFC, Citigroup, and Renewable Funding had each reached similar conclusions regarding the need for a facility. They joined the Treasury and NASEO to design, capitalize, and launch Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), a facility connecting EE loan programs needing capital with secondary market capital investors looking for securities backed by reliable revenue streams. WHEEL began acquiring loans in April 2014, and issued in June 2015 the first securities backed by EE financing assets. The inaugural national bond issuance raised $12.58 million from secondary market purchasers that was recycled to WHEEL’s investors, enabling them to support new lending to homeowners. Having established the new asset class and proven the concept of a national financing facility for EE programs, WHEEL is acquiring loans for a second securitization, with other states now joining Pennsylvania as sponsors of residential EE loan programs for their residents.
First Things First Arizona
State of Arizona
First Things First (FTF) is a voter-created, citizen-led public body overseeing $132 million annually for programs to help children arrive at kindergarten prepared to succeed. Community volunteers in 28 regions recommend to a statewide board the early childhood programs needed to improve outcomes for children from birth to age five in their communities. FTF’s statewide board and 28 regional partnership councils (regional councils) — all volunteers — share the responsibility for these early childhood funds. By law, the board must be representative of Arizona’s diversity; it includes Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, and rural and metropolitan residents. The board sets FTF’s vision, determines priorities within Arizona’s broader early childhood system, and — through approval of local funding plans and contracts — ensures that FTF-funded programs improve outcomes for children from birth to age five. Recognizing not all children have the same needs, regional councils ensure FTF-funded services reflect unique priorities in their communities. Each member of the regional councils represents a specific segment of the community that has a stake in school readiness: parents, tribal representatives, educators, health professionals, and leaders in business, philanthropy, and faith. Regional councils study children’s challenges in their communities and the resources that exist to help them; their recommendations to the state board reflect those local nuances. To date, the board and regional partnership council members have volunteered more than 288,000 hours of service to Arizona. In addition to overseeing early childhood programs and funds, the board and regional councils are charged with building public awareness of the importance of early childhood. This also has been done by engaging Arizonans from all walks of life. Since 2010, through strategies funded by the board and regional councils (including presentations, visits to early childhood programs, media stories and community events), FTF has recruited almost 27,000 Arizonans to help spread the word about early childhood’s importance — from sharing information with personal and professional networks to engaging with policymakers to ensure early childhood remains a state priority. FTF’s regional councils have emerged as a national model that allows citizens to participate in their government in a way that is genuine and directly impacts their communities.
Fiscal Stress Monitoring System
State of New York
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) provides an objective and transparent fiscal stress assessment annually for 2,300 local governments in the state, using self-reported financial data. Scores and reports published annually give local stakeholders robust tools for decision-making on budgets and service delivery. Interest in this project grew out of the numerous municipal fiscal crises across the country in the late 2000s and concern from New Yorkers that a similar crisis could happen in their municipality or school district. Given their role in overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments, the Comptroller’s office convened an internal workgroup, with the charge to develop a statewide, objective process to examine local government financial condition without new reporting requirements. After months of research, consulting with experts and constituents, statistical testing and public comment, FSMS was introduced. Prior to implementation, some local officials voiced concerns that rating agency downgrades might result, along with public discord and political grandstanding, leading the FSMS team to work to ease concerns and emphasize the benefits of the program through regular stakeholder meetings, informational webinars, a dedicated webpage, and a self-assessment tool. To date the office has conducted 11 webinars for 1,300 local officials and 36 in-person FSMS trainings for 2,800 local officials. Internally, FSMS has led to more efficient and time-sensitive reviews of municipal reporting, and more robust verification. The communication process evolved, enhancing the way the Comptroller’s office communicates with all local officials (even for non-FSMS purposes) to reduce costs and provide more timely information.
County of Oakland, MI
G2G (“government to government”) Marketplace helps other participating jurisdictions evaluate and procure enterprise technology solutions and other resources. Participating governments can access pre-negotiated contracts with guaranteed best pricing and terms for tested, successful solutions, a best practices library, a blog, and other resources. The G2G Marketplace operates with a threefold advantage: Oakland County wins by lowering the cost of technology through economies of scale, participating governments win by also lowering their costs, and participating vendors win by gaining access to a greater number of potential customers in the government sector. The end result is an improved economic environment for everyone, including taxpayers who ultimately receive a higher return on investment with more cost-effective and efficient government services. The first-year savings resulting from G2G Marketplace was $207,117. Return on investment payback for G2G Marketplace will be achieved in year three, well ahead of initial estimates. Cost avoidance due to G2G Marketplace is estimated to be more than $163,000 annually, and total cumulative savings are estimated to be more than $514,498 in the program’s sixth year. There are currently 563 registered city, county, and state government users in 49 states, and G2G Marketplace continues to grow. More than 9,700 unique visitors viewed more than 50,000 pages in the Marketplace, and best practices documents have been downloaded more than 1,299 times.
Office of Personnel Management
GovConnect is an initiative sponsored by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve talent development and workforce agility across the federal government. It provides background for federal employees to work beyond their current role, organizational or geographic location to collaborate and innovate against the boundary-crossing challenges of 21st-century governance. Initially, the design team did an experimental demo for the President’s Management Council at the White House; following the demonstration, OPM launched the initiative government-wide in an April 2014 memo, inviting additional agencies to test the concept. The invitation sparked imaginations across the government and many agencies proposed initiatives, including the Department of Commerce’s Skills Marketplace, which helps connect employees with professional development opportunities and mini-projects based on specific opportunities and skill-based matches, not grade or seniority; Housing and Urban Development’s Innovation Time program, which allows employees to use up to 10 percent of their time to develop innovations outside their current responsibilities; and Social Security Administration’s Skills Connect, open to 21,000 staff located in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Boston and enables access to staff’s diversity of thought, talent, and experience without regard to geographic or organizational boundaries. Many other agencies are currently undertaking similar experiments. The General Services Administration developed the Open Opportunities software platform, and the Department of State is continuing to develop new models for collaboration. OPM is using these pilots to identify emerging models suitable for government-wide adoption and is currently supporting agencies through an ongoing community of practice.
Graduation Matters Montana
State of Montana
When the state superintendent launched Graduation Matters Montana (GMM) in 2010, high school graduation rates were flat and thousands of students were dropping out. Fast forward to 2016: over 50 communities have a local GMM school-community team, the state just announced record-breaking graduation rates, and the American Indian student dropout rate has dropped nearly 30 percent. Adopting the GMM tagline “Locally designed, locally implemented based on what works in Montana,” the superintendent built a model that engages students, schools, community organizations and main street businesses in the effort. Communities adopt common language (e.g, “Graduation Matters Billings,” “Graduation Matters Wolf Point”) and a four-step framework (Team, Data, Effective Practices, and Communication) to support the development of initiatives that reflect local needs and capacities. Montana’s private sector has provided $1.3 million to GMM, 90 percent of which is re-granted to local communities to implement the GMM framework.
The Great Game of Government
County of Greene, MO
Greene County, Missouri, implemented and practices the Great Game of Government in an effort to create widespread financial literacy among all County employees. Greene County is one of the first government organizations to adapt Jack Stack's book, “The Great Game of Business,” which emphasizes open-book management. The Great Game of Business office, part of Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation, (SRC), in Springfield, Missouri, provided the training, while Greene County employees accepted the culture change and implemented open-book management’s new way of viewing the County. Raising awareness of how each employees’ actions impact the County’s bottom line has produced tremendous savings for their departments or offices, as well as for the County as a whole.
Growing Experience Environmental Resource Center
County of Los Angeles, CA
The Growing Experience (TGE) is operated by the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, within the Carmelitos Public Housing Community. Carmelitos is home to 700 households totaling approximately 2,000 individuals; an additional 80,000 reside in adjacent North Long Beach, the majority of whom are low-income. TGE occupies land that was formerly a dumping ground with overgrown weeds and debris. The generally unkempt appearance contributed to overall blight of the community. In 2009, TGE started to transform the neglected land into a seven-acre urban farm, which coincided with the economic downturn that constrained Los Angeles County’s budget and created a sobering new economic reality for many. The neighborhood in and around Carmelitos was a food desert lacking grocery stores offering healthful food options. Affordable access to fresh produce was not available, resulting in many of the community’s residents experiencing health problems relating to diabetes and obesity. Additionally, the at-risk population of youth and young adults in the community, aged 16–24, had limited options to develop marketable skills and seek gainful employment. In 2010, TGE formed the city of Long Beach’s first truly local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, in which residents sign up for a weekly share of the farm’s harvest. TGE also began offering a produce stand at Carmelitos’ senior complex. For the first time in the community, affordable access to healthful food options became a reality. Concurrently, a youth/young adult skills training program was developed, focusing on sustainable urban agriculture, providing technical and basic life skills. Along with the CSA program, farm stand, and skills training, TGE engaged the community through programs focusing on healthy lifestyles and environmental stewardship. Activities include educational tours for schools, public events such as Earth Day, internships, workshops, nutrition education, and volunteerism. In 2014, as demand grew for TGE’s high quality produce beyond Carmelitos and North Long Beach, the urban farm implemented an Aquaponics and Vertical Towers Growing System to increase its growing capacity to provide produce for more individuals. This created training opportunities in the science of aquaponics, further engaging the targeted demographic group of underserved youth/young adults, to pursue meaningful employment. Since 2015, TGE has implemented new initiatives to bolster the site as an environmental resource center, including a composting program to divert restaurant food waste from landfills turning it into rich soil amendment, public demonstration drought-tolerant garden utilizing edible, herbal, and medical plants, and planning of a food hub to aggregate locally produced agricultural products.
Growth Accelerator Fund Competition
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) supports small business success by recognizing accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, and entities that support local entrepreneurial ecosystems. SBA provides awards to organizations that foster business growth in overlooked geographic regions with limited access to capital or that focus their support on underserved communities. Leveraging appropriations and the America Competes Act, the GAFC was conceived in late 2013 and planned in just four months, launching in May 2014. To ensure that awards went to the most deserving organizations, the application process was designed to be both intuitive for the applicant yet rigorously reviewed by a team of expert judges, who were drawn from across both the government and the private sector and who had particular expertise in business creation, operations, investment, and technology. To safeguard that winners were able to begin leveraging their awards quickly, the evaluation process was swift: applications closed June 1, awardees were notified in August, and awards were given in late September for 2016 competition. To date since inception, the GAFC has awarded $11.15 million to over 223 organizations across 43 states and will be entering its fourth year. GAFC’s breadth of support ranges from helping accelerate Mom & Pop Shops to High-Tech Gazelles, and earned a highlighted kudos in a recent Brookings Institution study on the economic impact of accelerator programs across the United States. The program has awarded 40 percent of its prizes to women and 20 percent to minority-owned or focused organizations respectively, and in 2015 alone, 45 percent of prizes were awarded to rural communities.
HOME GR/OWN Initiative
City of Milwaukee, WI
HOME GR/OWN Milwaukee is an initiative of Mayor Tom Barrett, led by the city's Environmental Collaboration Office, and is a public-private partnership transforming city and neighborhood liabilities (vacant lots) into award-winning pocket parks, orchard parks, community gardens, and commercial farms. These sites are designed and built by neighborhood residents, creating new, green community gathering spaces emphasizing urban food production and placemaking. The program works at three levels: inside City Hall by removing potential barriers to urban agriculture and vacant lot repurposing, in the marketplace by 1) increasing local food production to meet local demand, 2) local food-based economic development, and at the neighborhood level by building green spaces designed and built by North Side residents and UW-M CDS architecture students. In spring 2014, the City Council passed new urban agriculture legislation making Milwaukee a progressive national food leader. In the summer 2014, HOME GR/OWN built Ezekiel Gillespie pocket park on land that was previously two vacant lots and a razed home. The park has storm water management, fruit trees, berries, and native perennials, and was built by minority workers receiving job training. Gillespie Park was named Milwaukee’s “Best Public Space” in April 2015. In 2015, the award-winning Partners for Places project partnered with 17 community based organizations, eight operating partners, and five philanthropies, to build 20 pocket parks and orchard parks designed by residents and architecture students across Milwaukee’s North Side on 28 vacant lots, employing 16 residents and planting 230 fruit trees with partner Growing Power.
Horticulture and Animal Assisted Therapy for Homeless Youth
County of Cobb, GA
The Center for Children and Young Adults (CCYA) began as a grassroots effort in 1981, and over the next two decades expanded its services to include an emergency children’s shelter, a co-ed home for children age 12–17, and transitional living for youth aging out of care at 18-years-old, eventually expanding to 13 counties. CCYA also began partnering with the Cobb Master Gardeners and initiated a campus community garden. In 2010, their philosophy shifted from a "shelter" model to a "youth development" model and expanded to include a Youth Activities & Volunteer Coordinator, and in 2013 launched its National Certification for Residential Child & Youth Care Professionals through the University of Oklahoma National Resource Center on Youth Services. This research-based certification training teaches staff how to develop a "culture of care" in residential facilities, an approach that empowers youth. CCYA also uses a collaborative problem solving model that engages youth in resolving and addressing their own behavioral challenges. Following the US Department of Health and Human Services finding in April 2013 that generic counseling alone is ineffective with regard to the homeless population being served, in 2014 CCYA formally implemented its innovative therapies initiatives, including Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Horticulture Therapy (a “Farm to Table" garden for children and youth residing on the campus). AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and cognitive function. Tasks are designed to assist with problematic behaviors, communication, patience, self-control, and problem-solving. Lessons are easily transferable to relationships with others.
I Value: Community budget input
City of Hampton, VA
Hit by the housing decline that crippled revenues in 2010, the city of Hampton, Virginia, faced a 5-percent cut for fiscal year 2011. Seeking both public input and buy-in to the plan to manage the budget without a significant cut in value services, the city manager’s office flipped the process of deliberation and began seeking public input at the beginning of its budgeting process, and dramatically expanded programs to engage the community. The “I Value” effort sought to determine and build on residents’ values, aggressively campaigning via social media, e-newsletters, neighborhood organizations, cable interviews, ads, and fliers for public contribution. Input was gathered through community meetings held on weekends and evenings in different sectors, informal chats with neighborhood and civic associations, online chats and social media engagement, traditional drop boxes with comment cards at public hearings, and 311 calls from residents. Because of this engagement, the proposed budget cut 5 percent on the city’s bottom line, yet drew little opposition. As the financial crisis continued, the I Value effort expanded, and each year the polling questions went deeper. Fiscal year 2011 focused on needs versus wants; fiscal year 2012 focused on broad service levels and whether they should be maintained, reduced, or eliminated; and in fiscal year 2013, specific cuts were put on the table, and residents rated whether individual cuts were acceptable or unacceptable during community meetings. Despite significant cuts, the proposed budgets once again met little opposition. Finally, in fiscal year 2014, the city faced another decline in home values and revenue, but data from previous I Value cycles showed further cuts were not acceptable. There was a clear choice: increase revenues or continue to cut programs and services that residents valued. Overall, participation in the input process increased by another 60 percent, and at the meetings, more than 90 percent supported some sort of tax-rate increase. The city manager and council scaled down the top proposal but maintained some money for investment, and ultimately the budget passed with a 20-cent rate increase. Since then, the city manager’s team has added the capital budget planning to input. Residents voiced preferences for fire stations, flooding controls, and prioritized parks. When a large contingent asked for a 50-meter swimming pool, the city commissioned feasibility and cost studies.
Infrastructure of Innovation
City of Philadelphia, PA
Since 2013, the city of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology has methodically established an organizational capacity within Philadelphia’s municipal government that enables innovation. Through purposeful development and integration of the concepts of people, place, and process, it has created a cross-departmental network of employees trained in the principles of innovation. This network governs the office’s Innovation Fund and its associated projects, develops creative programming in the city’s Innovation Lab, and provides in-government consulting to help departments approach their service challenges in different ways. This strategy was developed to address a problem common to government: creative initiatives are often born of one department or individual and lack cross-departmental participation and perspective. As a result, employees lose an opportunity to scale innovative programs to a broader level and have a harder time sustaining them. Additionally, without its own network of trained and talented innovators, government relies on external consultants for services that could be provided more effectively and affordably in-house. By intentionally linking people, place, and process, the Infrastructure of Innovation program comprehensively establishes capacity for innovation by developing human infrastructure, physical infrastructure, and process infrastructure that complement one another. Additionally, the development of the program’s innovation consulting model reverses the traditional consulting role by establishing government as innovator and teacher. This internal innovation network uses graduates from the Innovation Academy to facilitate workshops with city departments and even outside organizations who wish to address their institutional challenges in fresh ways. Now, rather than spending funds on external consulting services to develop new a policy or process, the city can utilize its own innovation infrastructure to provide this service.
Inspection Service Delivery
County of Pima, AZ
Providing building permit inspections in Pima County in a timely and cost-effective manner is a challenge for inspectors grappling with the sprawling geography of a county about the size of New Hampshire, and with the large population in the un-incorporated jurisdiction of 353,264. To improve customer service and reduce the cost to deliver the service, Pima County proposed implementing computer-based auto-routing to achieve the two goals of providing inspection clients with an estimated time of arrival (ETA), and reducing travel time and miles driven. A routing system was designed that automatically distributes the roughly 100 inspection appointments each day between six inspectors in the most efficient route possible, equitably distributing the work load. A pilot test of the ArcGIS Vehicle Routing Problem Solver (VRP) software over several months, compared the actual routes of inspectors with the auto-routes, adjusted the computer inputs and made corrections to the county’s GIS database of streets based on those comparisons. Inputs to the VRP include a calendar of inspector availability, inspector start location, estimated time required to complete each scheduled inspection, inspection location, assignment of geographic areas that require four-wheel-drive vehicles and identifying those inspectors with those vehicles. The VRP also utilizes the street network and associated speed limits that are in the county’s GIS system to calculate drive times. Using county data is essential, as commercially available mapping tools like Google Maps do not update often enough to reflect new subdivisions, a busy location for inspection, reliably. To mitigate the inability of the software to incorporate customer requests for specific inspection appointment times, the team developed a complementary program for just-in-time remote video inspections using Skype and a calendaring app. The client may schedule a remote inspection up to a few minutes prior to the requested inspection time, and inspections are performed by inspectors in the office while the contractor or homeowner acts as cameraperson.
Investing in Innovation (i3)
Department of Education
The Investing in Innovation (i3) program is the flagship "tiered-evidence" grant program within the federal government, linking grant funding in core education reform areas to rigorous evidence of effectiveness. Its core innovation — smaller grants for projects that are innovative but have less evidence and larger grants to scale up proven approaches — is a model for other federal departments and could significantly improve the results produced by the federal government. The central component of i3, and how it addresses the twin challenges of too few proven effective interventions in education and multiple barriers for even effective interventions to spread substantially, is its three-tier, evidence-based structure. That structure links the funding amount that an applicant can receive to the rigor of the evidence that an applicant provides to support the proposed practice or strategy. Applicants that present only a little evidence can receive small grants (up to $3 million) that support the development and initial evaluation of promising practices, while applicants that present the most rigorous evidence, often large randomized controlled trials, can receive large grants (up to $20 million) that support nation-wide expansion. Since 2010, the program has received over 4,000 applications, and has awarded 157 grants and over $1.3 billion, matched by more than $200 million in private-sector matching funds, to schools and nonprofit partners working in all 50 states. The focus on rigorous evaluation, and the incentives for generating such evidence, has had an impact in education and beyond. Some grantees are already using the evidence generated from their i3 evaluations to move up the tiers and apply for larger grants, and other federal programs are using i3's evidence framework, including the Social Innovation Fund and a major community college grant program at the Department of Labor.
Juvenile Community Accountability Board
County of Albany, NY
The Albany County Juvenile Community Accountability Board (JCAB) provides the Probation Department a diversion option for juveniles charged with misdemeanor or low-level felony offenses. JCAB provides the victims, the community, and the juvenile a reparative experience without needlessly expending correctional resources that can used more effectively for serious juvenile offenders. Historically, juveniles arrested for crimes in Albany County were afforded little in the way of graduated sanctions at the diversion level, and as a result, young people, many of whom were being charged with relatively minor offenses, were often referred to court based primarily on the number of times they had been arrested. This resulted in the needless permeation of juveniles into the Family Court System and subsequently reduced the likelihood of a positive outcome for them. As a solution to the growing need for graduated sanctions within the Juvenile Delinquency Diversion process, JCAB was initiated as a pilot program at the Albany County Probation Department in 2006. Modeled after the district attorney’s Adult Community Accountability Board (CAB), JCAB was intended to provide an alternative to traditional responses to juvenile crime and focuses on repairing the harm caused to victims of crime while simultaneously enabling juveniles to learn about the impact of their offenses and ways to avoid re-offending. JCAB is comprised of citizen volunteers from the community who attend an all-day training that covers topics like the juvenile justice system, restorative justice principles, and motivational interviewing. Upon completing training, board members are charged with the task of having meaningful dialogue with the juvenile and their parent in a non-accusatory fashion, and are also asked to assist victims in expressing themselves and conveying to the juvenile the harm they have caused. All of this is done in manner that makes the victim, the juvenile, and the family feel safe and free from judgement. After meeting with the board, the youth and parent will enter into a reparative agreement contract that will include accountability to the victims and to the community and skill-building to help the youth avoid reoffending. Once all activities listed in the agreement have been successfully completed, an exit interview is held with the board members that the youth initially met with, and the case will then be considered successfully closed at the diversion level. The youth’s records will be sealed and the juvenile has avoided the necessity for Family Court involvement.
L.A. SHARES Program
City of Los Angeles, CA
The L.A. SHARES program is a unique public-private partnership that transfers reusable goods and materials from local businesses free of charge to nonprofits, schools, and city programs in need. By turning trash into treasure, this upstream solid waste diversion solution simultaneously benefits the local environment, economy, and community life. The initiative’s champions were unlikely bedfellows — the Bureau of Sanitation within the city’s Department of Public Works and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. In 1991, these two divisions of city government joined with a graduate of the UCLA School of Film Producers Program to form Materials for the Arts, a pilot program that redirects discarded materials from movie sets to arts programs throughout the city. The program quickly gained popularity, especially among aerospace companies that needed an inexpensive way to liquidate office furniture and computer equipment benefiting schools and nonprofits throughout the city . In 1994, the program incorporated as L.A. SHARES, a 501(c)(3) organization, in order to serve a broader constituency of schools and nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles. The program receives continuing oversight from the Bureau of Sanitation, an annual allocation from the general city purpose budget, use of a 14,000-foot city warehouse, city Department of Recreation and Parks involvement, and support from five mayoral administrations. Over the past quarter-century, the program’s key achievements include waste management diversion, strategies to capture discarded items upstream and purpose them for reuse instead of entering landfills; strengthening community institutions, which assists a nonprofit or school in need of items; and fostering corporate citizenship, which creates positive relationships and new opportunities for resource sharing between the corporate and nonprofit worlds.
City of New York, NY
Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Program
State of Colorado
Since 1970, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Family Planning Program (FPP) has provided individuals across Colorado with reproductive health services. In large part due to funding limitations, birth control pills and hormonal injection were the most popular forms of birth control in Colorado for decades. While both are effective forms of contraception, they are not as effective as more expensive long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC). As a result, Colorado’s unintended pregnancy rate remained stagnant for years, until more than $27 million in private funding was invested in CDPHE’s FPP between 2008 and 2015 with dramatic, game-changing results. This program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative (CFPI), was designed with the idea that unintended pregnancy could be reduced, if LARC were more accessible. Prior to this investment, high upfront costs (up to $800) made the devices inaccessible to women served in clinics. This new, private funding allowed clinics to offer LARC methods without barriers, on par with methods like birth control pills or hormonal injection. With an accessible option, more women chose LARC and noticeable effects were seen, including unintended pregnancy rates dropping 40 percent among teens and 20 percent among women ages 20–24, the birth rate for young women ages 15 to 19 falling by 48 percent, repeat teen births dropping 58 percent, and the teen abortion rate falling by 48 percent. This program transformed the FPP: at the clinical- and patient-level, contraceptive counseling protocols changed to allow providers to finally have the resources to seamlessly meet the LARC requests of their patients. At the administrative level, CFPI transformed the way safety-net clinics conduct business. Clinics changed scheduling and staffing patterns to allow immediate response to patient choices (e.g., same day LARC insertions) and are prioritizing insurance enrollment and billing for covered services. Along with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in Colorado, clinics are now getting paid for these vital services and no longer relying solely on safety-net grant funding.
Los Angeles Express Park
City of Los Angeles, CA
For years, economists have advocated that parking rates for on-street meters should be set by the demand for those spaces, arguing that on-street parking spaces required an investment by the government and provided value to the public, particularly to the retail merchants. Because of the high cost of gathering demand data and the limits of parking meter technology, very little had been done to demonstrate these theories prior to the start of this century. By 2005, two important technical developments converged to make it possible to do large-scale testing of these theories: new technology parking meters provided real-time payment data and vehicle sensors provided accurate parking space occupancy data. In 2007, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received a $212 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation as a part of the national Congestion Reduction Demonstration initiative. The city of Los Angeles received $15 million from the grant to fund LA Express Park, an intelligent parking management system for the downtown area, with an additional $3.5 million budgeted by the city for this project. While infrastructure was being installed to support the project, the city engaged city council offices, business improvement districts, neighborhood councils, and other community groups to share details of the pilot and get feedback on how to best tailor policy to meet the needs of citizens. LA Express Park differs from other similar smart parking programs in several significant ways, including a contiguous project area, a more rigorous pricing algorithm, and its policy to make price changes in larger increments. Initiated as a one-year demonstration project, it has proved to be so successful that it is now part of the ongoing operations of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
State of Minnesota
All Minnesotans want clean water, but for too long policy debates over nonpoint agricultural pollution often devolved into finger-pointing and yielded few results. What was clear was that farmers want to be certain the regulatory goalposts will not shift and the public wants to be certain the state’s water quality is improving. The Minnesota Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) was designed to achieve real results for water quality by providing the regulatory certainty farmers need and the assurance the public demands. In January 2012, the State of Minnesota and the federal government announced a partnership to develop a program to accelerate the voluntary adoption of on-farm practices that protect water quality. From its outset, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), in consultation with an advisory committee of diverse stakeholders, sought to design a program that systematically identified and remedied every source of on-farm nonpoint pollution and recognized and rewarded farmers who were doing their part to protect water quality. The MAWQCP was established into state law in 2013, began pilot operations in 2014, and went statewide on July 1, 2015. Agricultural conservation is traditionally delivered locally, so the MAWQCP partnered with Minnesota’s 89 soil and water conservation districts to deliver the program, and has pioneered a new model of conservation delivery that works on a field-by-field, whole-farm basis to identify and mitigate agricultural risks to water quality. Once a farm has mitigated all its risks to water quality, it is eligible to become certified and sign a contract with the state. The certification contract states the certified farmer will be in compliance with any new state water laws or rules for 10 years. Through the contract, farmers receive the regulatory certainty they need to make long-term decisions and the general public is assured that farmers are managing their operations to protect and improve water quality.
Mobile Health for Alcohol Addiction
University of Wisconsin
In 2001, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal government funded The Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to improve care for people with addiction. They chose the Center because its staff had expertise as systems engineers in designing and improving complex systems, using methods from many disciplines. Center staff soon realized that the existing addiction treatment system, characterized by high staff turnover, treatment of only about 10 percent of people who needed it, and questionable success, warranted wholesale redesign. With additional funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center staff convened in 2004 a two-day meeting of technology experts from several fields (e.g., nanotechnology, bioengineering, social psychology) and people with or family members affected by addiction. This group was tasked with imagining a new addiction treatment system that functioned mainly through technology. This meeting produced a vision that was refined in two follow-up meetings, culminating in December 2005 with the decision to build a smartphone app. In 2008, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded the development and testing of the app, called A-CHESS. A-CHESS was tested in a randomized clinical trial with 349 recovering alcoholics, following patients for one year. Those with A-CHESS had significantly fewer risky drinking days and greater abstinence than those without it. The app has also been used by a consortium of 15 addiction treatment clinics nationwide, who agreed to share their results and suggestions with the development team in exchange for using the app with their patients. The Veterans Administration used it in its Bath, New York, facility that serves veterans in the Rochester area. A-CHESS also has been used by the drug court system and in 57 inpatient and outpatient facilities. In a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, clinicians are using A-CHESS to treat addicted patients in primary care clinics in Wisconsin, Montana, and New York City. A-CHESS is now being used by people with opioid addiction.
City of New York, NY
Begun in January 2014, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) committed to changing their approach to policing in the city, implementing a Plan of Action blueprint designed to deliver improved police services in the city of New York and break down the barriers between two parties who should be natural allies: the police and the people they serve. One essential and enabling element of this strategy involved a revolution in NYPD technology, making the police more accessible to the community, and delivering tailored information and analytics to police officers where they need it the most — in the field. To that end, the NYPD used the opportunity to build out its “Platform for Transformation” — a vision to put a smartphone in the hands of all 36,000 officers and place a tablet in every emergency response vehicle. By providing e-mail addresses and phone numbers to the entire uniformed workforce, the smartphones and tablets make officers, including the new Neighborhood Coordination Officers, directly accessible to the community. In addition, the devices come equipped with a number of custom-developed applications, which were created based on the ideas and feedback of officers in the field. These applications enhance the NYPD’s delivery of police services, including a 911 dispatching app, which alerts officers to 911 calls even before they come over the radio, with associated information about the location they are responding to and decreasing response times; a search app, which provides enterprise search of all NYPD and certain state and federal databases, streamlining investigations; form creation apps, which allows officers to take digital reports on scene in the field, and eventually provide them online to the public, paving the way for the NYPD to go paperless; blast messaging, which allows the NYPD to send critical informational bulletins, including officer safety alerts and pictures of missing persons direct to officers’ smartphones; and a training app, which allows for distance learning, which has the potential to fundamentally transform the Department’s approach to educating its workforce.
Music & Memory Program
State of Wisconsin
In an effort to improve the care of residents with dementia and decrease the use of harmful medications, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) used creative funding to bring personalized music to thousands of people in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and their homes. Since 2011 and for the next 20 years, 10,000 US citizens will turn 65 every day. It is estimated that one out of seven patients aged 65 and older, one out of four patients aged 75 and older, and one out of two patients 85 and older will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. One of every four residents with dementia living in nursing homes is taking harmful medications. This equates to a tremendous strain on our health systems. In 2013, DHS, motivated by a video in which a patient with profound dementia showed a remarkable improvement in communication, joy, and memory following exposure to the music he loved from his past, contacted the company Music & Memory and offered a creative funding source to train and support staff and equip residents in 100 nursing homes. Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to recognize personalized music’s potential for improving quality of life for nursing home elders. Not only did DHS staff build on their initial success to rapidly expand the program, which today includes approximately 400 certified facilities and agencies including assisted living, but also, they shared what they learned with other states. Wisconsin’s proactive collaboration has helped launch Music & Memory in 15 other states, with more lining up. Because of this program, tens of thousands of elders with dementia have reconnected with those around them through the power of personalized music.
My Community, My Vision
State of Indiana
My Community, My Vision (MCMV) was created through a partnership with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and Ball State University (BSU), recognizing that young people, particularly those who are college educated, are leaving the state. According to a 2012 study conducted by Indiana University, 50 percent of students who attend that school will leave the state after graduation. The MCMV program was created as an attempt to inspire youth to stay in Indiana by involving them in community planning processes and connecting them to their local elected officials. Through these efforts, the program shows students that they can have a profound impact in shaping their communities.
To apply, high school student groups are invited to submit essays outlining their ideas for enhancing the quality of life in their hometowns. Up to six student groups are chosen to participate in the program based on the essay applications and winning groups each receive a $500 award. Once the communities are chosen, the high school groups are paired with a BSU Urban Planning graduate or an upper-level undergraduate student. The BSU students are mentors to the high school groups throughout the academic year. The BSU mentor leads meetings with the high school groups to teach about urban planning, economic development, and the functions of local government. The mentor facilitates planning exercises, like SWOT analyses and asset mapping, to help the high school students brainstorm ideas for their hometowns. The mentor then creates a planning document based on the ideas generated. During this process, at least four statewide meetings are hosted every year, giving students an opportunity to learn from their peers from different communities around the state. In the spring, the student groups present their final plans to IHCDA, BSU, the Indiana lieutenant governor, and local elected officials. Recruitment for the pilot year of the program began in August 2014. Five student groups were chosen to participate in the first year of the program. Initially, small rural communities were targeted for the program, but during second-year recruitment, program leadership decided to open the program to all Indiana communities. This resulted in an even more enriching learning environment for youth participants as they now interact with students with different experiences and hometowns.
County of Multnomah, OR
In fall 2012, with support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation through The Library Foundation, the library’s private fundraising partner, Multnomah County Library embarked on a project to redesign a fundamental service and redefine the relationship between librarians and readers. Librarians have traditionally offered reading recommendations for interested patrons. During these in-person interactions, librarians make personal and enduring connections with community members while championing the value of reading and its benefit to quality of life. The digital revolution has challenged public libraries to reimagine their services in the context of our increasingly virtual world. Amazon, National Public Radio, and Goodreads are a small sample of readily available tools to which readers may turn for suggestions. But what online self-service amenities favor in convenience, they lack in fellowship. A trained librarian’s connection with a reader cannot be duplicated by an algorithm. The first year of the project focused on exploratory research to uncover reader perceptions and identify opportunities to connect with patrons. In summer 2013, the project team conducted a series of six focus groups with patrons representing diverse demographics and one very important mutual characteristic: all self-identified as avid readers. Taking inspiration from the results of the focus groups, the team developed the concept of an online “personal librarian.” In April 2014, Multnomah County Library launched My Librarian, featuring a photo-based menu of staff members with a wide variety of interests and passions. Each curates his or her own profile page, writes regular blog posts, contributes to a monthly newsletter, and shares reading lists. Patrons may decide on their next read from the immediately available content or opt to contact a featured My Librarian for personalized recommendations. The My Librarian-of-choice then designs a tailored list of titles and shares it with the patron, elucidating on each selection. Depending on a patron’s stated preferences, recommendations may range from fiction to nonfiction, e-books to audiobooks, music to movies. After a year of building, training and revising, the library commissioned an independent evaluation of the My Librarian pilot. In response to user recommendations to expand diversity and to keep pace with the popularity of the service, a second cohort with more cultural heterogeneity joined the team, bringing the roster of My Librarians to its current tally of 17. Since the program’s inception, the number of one-on-one interactions and personalized lists created by the My Librarian team has surpassed 2,200, with more generated every day.
Nature in the City
City of Fort Collins, CO
With a 40-year history committed to protecting nature, the City of Fort Collins undertook a Strategic Planning process to ensure that as the community grows, high quality natural spaces will continue to be conserved to protect healthy ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and offer easy access to nature in the urban core. Phase I (2014) of the Nature in the City program (NIC) consisted of a citizen-driven planning process to identify strategies to further integrate nature into the City’s policies and programs. This phase included extensive data collection on the community’s environmental, social, and economic values regarding nature including community surveys and focus groups to understand diverse perspectives and needs; a visioning workshop to assess residents’ perceptions and values about nature; citywide bird, butterfly, and vegetation sampling; establishment of a Citizen Advisory Committee; analysis of economic benefits; and an online, interactive mapping tool to identify where residents access nature and where barriers exist. NIC utilizes a multifaceted, holistic approach including: public-private partnerships; restoring existing natural spaces to increase the natural quality of sites; implementing neighborhood-scale enhancement projects; establishing design guidelines to illustrate how nature can be incorporated into the urban environment; updated land use code requirements to offer developers guidance and flexibility in meeting NIC goals; education, incentives and resources for landowners, business owners and landscapers; tracking biodiversity trends through citizen science data collection; and targeted land acquisition to create a more connected open space network. As a result of the extensive community engagement efforts, there was significant stakeholder buy-in and political support for the planning process.
The resultant NIC Strategic Plan (Phase II) was adopted by the city council in March 2015, and the following month Fort Collins voters approved $3 million in sales tax to fund NIC initiatives over the next 10 years, demonstrating the community’s commitment to the NIC vision. With the dedicated sales tax funding, the City began implementation of NIC (Phase III) in 2016. Staff members in two departments, Natural Areas and Planning, were identified to collaboratively lead the initiative. Pilot projects identified for 2016 include identification of gaps in connectivity for both people and wildlife, installation of a Living Wall on a new City building, installation of a pollinator-friendly demonstration garden, expansion of the City’s tree canopy improvement program, and collaboration with the Poudre School District to create outdoor classrooms.
The Neighborhood Transformation Project
City of Escondido, CA
The Neighborhood Transformation Project seeks to create safer communities by focusing on environmental transformation, one neighborhood at a time. By partnering city departments, neighborhood groups, and business associations, the program aims to create effective solutions that produce meaningful crime reduction and an enhanced quality of life in targeted neighborhoods. The program began in the summer of 2013 with a gang detective’s observation that, over the years, the same neighborhoods were continually plagued by gang crime despite a continuous police presence. This comprehensive strategy seeks to remove criminals from neighborhoods while simultaneously working to physically improve neighborhoods in an effort to prevent the kind of negative socialization that often leads to future delinquent and criminal conduct. In the fall of 2013, in order to maximize limited resources, the Escondido Police Department sought partnerships with city government, neighborhood groups, business associations, faith-based groups, etc. The partnerships were formed by establishing relationships with city staff in Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement, Planning, Public Works, Economic Development and the City Attorney and City Manager’s Offices. To further engage and empower citizens, the Escondido Police Department held community and business meetings focusing on mobilizing residents and business owners to work toward a common goal. In January of 2015 the City of Escondido began its second NTP deployment, currently in East Escondido.
OC Expediter Procurement & Contract Application
County of Orange, CA
OC Expediter is an enterprise procurement application that has helped county departments and agencies to transform complex, manual purchase requisitions and contract management processes into electronic workflows that increase efficiency, reduce staff processing time, and eliminate errors. The county recognized the value of replacing paper-based purchasing and contract management with a countywide application. This would also enable consistent processing, promote collaboration, and support data-sharing and application consolidation strategies that were needed at the county. A project to build the OC Expediter application began in July 2014, with the Information Technology Agency and Procurement Office working together to identify workflows to provide necessary functionality and business rules to ensure audit compliance. Development was done by internal county staff over a nine-month period, at a cost of $100,000. Existing software licensing was used, while training was handled by the Procurement Office at a cost of $10,000. In total, implementation costs were $110,000. Annual operating costs are $447,000, including IT staff labor and platform maintenance. In contrast, the county estimated the cost of installing and configuring a procurement model in their existing ERP system to be approximately $3 million. Since the launch, OC Expediter has been deployed to seventeen departments and has been well received, with more departments lining up to go live. As the application is rolled out to new departments, additional features and functionality are being identified that can benefit everyone. Enhancements are applied to subsequent releases so that customer satisfaction is kept high while adhering to use of a standardized countywide application. Overall requisition processing time has been reduced by at least 75 percent. In some examples, the time required to process a requisition was cut from 21 days to only three. End users praise its intuitive user interface and ease of use, and since it replaces a previously manual process, the application’s usability is helping to speed adoption and ensure customer satisfaction.
Office of Neighborhood Safety
City of Richmond, CA
The Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) was created in 2007 with the sole mission to reduce firearm assaults and associated injury and deaths. The ONS is a non-law enforcement government department that focuses on reducing gun violence in a city that has experienced epidemic rates over several decades. Under the direction of the Neighborhood Safety Director, the city hires individuals who had formerly been incarcerated for firearm offenses to serve as Neighborhood Change Agents (at the time a new city employee classification) to provide intensive street outreach, case management and life coaching in the city's most impacted neighborhoods. Change Agents were hired in February of 2008 and have proven to be a stable and exemplary group of employees, with most remaining employed with the city today. Between the agency’s launch in 2007 and 2016, the Office of Neighborhood Safety has contributed to a 71-percent reduction in firearm assaults causing injury or death.
State of California
OpenJustice is a transparency initiative that embraces data-driven criminal justice reform. Using core assets of the California Department of Justice (DOJ)—law enforcement data—and in partnership with academia, nonprofits, and the tech sector, OpenJustice applies cutting-edge data science, data visualization, and open data to improve accountability and public policy. OpenJustice was developed to be a start-up in government to address two issues: strengthen the trust between law enforcement and the communities they were sworn to protect, and provide crucial data that can help California understand how we are doing, where we are having successes, and where we can improve. The goal was to provide an open data portal where users — policymakers, researchers, advocates, and law enforcement — could download raw public safety data, as well as data stories and visualization tools that would highlight important insights in an easily understood and interactive way. With no allocated budget, it was a classic bootstrapped effort. A few senior policy advisors, web team, the Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC), and experts from the Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) formed an informal working group to focus on the initiative, and partnered with academics from University of California, Berkeley. After months of research and design, v1.0 of OpenJustice was launched, including three key datasets: deaths in custody, arrest rates, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. The project was one of constant iteration with the DOJ and external stakeholders. Because local law enforcement support was critical to the success, DOJ staff worked diligently to inform them of their efforts and solicit input. The biggest feedback received was that releasing the data was an important step forward, but that they should also make sure to paint a complete picture so the data would be understood in the appropriate context, prompting the team to layer on information like population demographics and total calls for service.
Open Media Project for Governments
Colorado Channel Authority, CO
The Open Media Project for Government (OMP), a groundbreaking suite of government transparency tools, enables government transparency and civic engagement by providing affordable or free live-streaming and searchable video archiving for all government meetings. With proven results in Colorado via the Colorado Channel Authority (CCA), this open-source Software-as-a-Service is poised to scale nationwide, bringing a new level of government accessibility to the people. OMP was designed to leverage emerging, low-cost, and innovative tools (like YouTube’s free live-streaming and transcription services and Archive.org’s advanced archival features) to expand public engagement and reduce costs. Implemented for the 2013 legislative session, the Colorado Channel saw an over 50-percent decrease in cost and a 140-percent increase in total site visitors. After three successful years, OMP service has spread to several municipal government agencies across the state, as well as to the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Program staff is confident that the software is ready for nationwide adoption to help state and local governments expand transparency and accessibility, even on the most limited budgets. With each new client, this open-source solution becomes more advanced and adaptive to a wide range of environments. Expansion has presented new obstacles. Many government entities have never offered the level of transparency that OMP provides Colorado citizens; beyond that, each entity has differing technological and staff capabilities. To address this, the CCA helped develop affiliations with organizations like Colorado’s Statewide Internet Portal Authority, which provides technology solutions to hundreds of government entities, and the Texas Association of School Boards, supporting hundreds of school districts implementing video transparency solutions under new state laws. Toward the end of 2016, OMP was picked up by its first client outside of Colorado - Lane County, Oregon. The project now provides over a dozen government clients cost savings of up to 90 percent when compared with previous commercial service providers.
Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project
Sacramento City Unified School District, CA
The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project began in a racially and linguistically diverse low-income neighborhood in Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) in the late 1990s. Families were painfully alienated from their local school, the overwhelming majority of the kids were not reading at grade level, community support was at an all-time low, and so was teacher morale. While research showed the importance of family engagement, district efforts were geared toward “rule compliance,” and parents often felt they were treated like problems instead of partners. Wanting to change this narrative, a group of parents and teachers devised a creative new approach to an old practice: use voluntary home visits to build relationships between families and teachers in order to support student learning, and end the longstanding blame and distrust between the community and the school district. In 1999, a pilot program began with eight schools, supported by an innovative collaboration between SCUSD, a community group (ACT), and the local teachers’ union (SCTA). In 2002, the successful project spun off into an independent nonprofit, and expanded throughout SCUSD, again with the support of all three partners. Funding came from district Title 1 federal funds, designated for family engagement in schools with 40 percent or more low-income students. Based upon challenges and successes of the pilot program, a protocol was developed with five essential practices that make the program uniquely effective:
- Visits are voluntary for both teachers and families, and arranged in advance at their mutual convenience.
- Teachers go on visits in teams of two, and are paid with a stipend or comp time.
- Visits are done across the general population of students. No targeting for academic or behavioral problems means there is no stigma attached to the visits.
- The first visit is relationship-building, establishing common ground as family and teacher talk about their hopes and dreams for the child, and their expectations of each other. Later contacts, including a second visit, focus on academic goals.
- After each visit, educators reflect upon their assumptions going into the visit, what they learned about their student, and how they will bring their new knowledge to the classroom.
These core practices have proven to be powerful tools in surmounting societal barriers that keep well-meaning people from working together effectively, increasing cultural awareness and improving education equity. The model is now used in hundreds of schools across the United States.
Pathways to College and Careers
Rochester Public Schools ISD 535, MN
Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) and Hawthorne Education Center, the Rochester Public Schools' Adult Basic Education program, united to provide supportive and successful pathways to college and careers for immigrant, refugee, and under-educated adults. RCTC and Hawthorne's pathway partnership expanded to include Mayo Clinic, Workforce Development, Inc., and United Way of Olmsted County. Through a shared interest in the success of all Rochester residents, these public and private institutions began their work together in 2011. They applied for and received grants, explored each other's environments through shadowing and information sharing, removed any unnecessary barriers to collaboration, and utilized the strengths of each institution to build college and career pathways. They share facilities, staff, and materials, and the administrative team meets monthly and are also in daily phone and e-mail contact.
Police Orientation Preparation Program
City of Los Angeles, CA
The Police Orientation Preparation Program (POPP) is an unprecedented and successful public-private partnership between the police department, the school district, community college, and a private donor that helps participants earn an associate degree while transitioning from high school into volunteer reserve police officers, and finally full-time police officers. The POPP is designed to combine the best of pre-academy recruit training programs (such as Cadets and Explorers) with the career and personal values of a secondary education. Additionally, the program was expressly designed to be housed within an active police training facility, allowing students to work directly with instructional officers who mentor students on an individual level, helping them prepare for the application process and avoid behaviors that can disqualify them later in the police hiring process. With the goal of recruiting students of the highest standards and to further improve hiring outcomes, the entrance standards for POPP were strengthened in 2015. Additionally, the POPP model was adapted to focus on community policing while implementing the concepts identified by the Federal Task Force on 21st Century Policing. These concepts include an increased focus on diversity, developing trust and legitimacy with communities, and building partnerships with education. To meet the challenge of providing consistent funding, POPP partner programs leverage resources by sharing the expense of the program. The Los Angeles Police Department provides logistics and staff officer salaries while West Los Angeles College provides for all professors. Additionally, the Los Angeles Unified School District funds an onsite administrator. Through the ongoing financial support from the Weintraub Foundation, POPP is able to absorb the expense of textbooks, supplies, and tutoring services. The POPP excels because each organization works together to monitor individual student progress and help them develop and utilize their skills to achieve their goals.
Pop Up Meeting
City of St. Paul, MN
Pop Up Meeting began as a conundrum about diversifying engagement of St. Paul residents. Few people showed up to existing community meetings to provide information or input, and they were generally older, white, middle-class homeowners, in contrast to the city’s population, which is 40 percent people of color, 22 percent in poverty, and has a median age of 31.2. Engaged by the city to address this shortcoming, a local artist wanted to generate creativity and joy in the practice of public engagement, devising a new method to increase diversity and participation in Saint Paul’s planning processes, and in 2014 ArtPlace America funded the development of Pop Up Meeting. After securing one of the city’s all-electric vehicles, a mobile concept was born. The artist and a designer created an inviting, playful logo for the project, evocative of an ice cream truck, and worked with local confectioner Saint Pops to craft an exclusive “Sweet Saint Paul” flavor to exchange for participation with Pop Up Meeting and acknowledge the value of participants’ input. The Public Works, Parks, and Planning departments worked to identify community meetings that could benefit from Pop Up Meeting, and partnered with St. Paul’s Innovation Team, creating a task force to track the project’s success over the summer. Seventeen Pop Up Meetings were hosted in the summer 2015 and 1,153 residents interacted with the team. At each meeting, passersby could stop for a brief chat related to city projects, and if they gave their input via a survey they received a popsicle. The survey data went back to city staff to inform their planning processes. Because of Pop Up Meeting’s success, $50,000 from the city’s general fund was dedicated across three departments to fund to institutionalize Pop Up Meeting for 2016 and beyond, with the aim of providing 72 meeting opportunities citywide. Based on lessons learned, the departments have also dedicated to provide project ideas, contribute intern and full-time staff, and incorporate the concept into St. Paul’s community engagement infrastructure. In addition, in an effort to get and give a younger resident perspective, Pop Up Meeting will also sponsor a high school student through “Right Track,” the city’s summer youth job jobs program.
Potosi Reintegration Unit
State of Missouri
Since the 1990s, prison populations have increased dramatically while community mental health services have dramatically decreased, resulting in prisons becoming overwhelmed with offenders, many of whom suffered from mental illness, and caused a sharp rise in the rates of misbehavior and violence. In response to what many perceived as unmanageable prisons, corrections agencies throughout the country often turned to administrative segregation as a way to manage the violence and misbehavior, but this proved to have a negative effect on offender management because long-term segregation units were expensive to maintain. Studies also showed that the use of long-term segregation to curb violent behavior had not been successful, noting that idleness and isolation tended to amplify and even create psychiatric conditions or symptoms. In early 2009, dialogue began at the Potosi Correctional Center about the possibility of providing programming to offenders mandated to long-term segregation confinement. Although the idea seemed out of reach at the time, it was in line with the nationwide trend of decreasing the number of segregated offenders. By early 2011, a written proposal had been submitted for consideration and a strategic plan was established. A treatment team comprised of 18 staff members from various departments and disciplines met with the common goal of reintegrating segregated offenders into general population. The safety and security of offenders and staff was the most common concern expressed, as offenders who had committed brutal assaults or murder now had an opportunity to be released back into general population. In October 2011, offenders began to arrive within the Potosi Reintegration Unit. Each offender was individually assessed and was provided IQ testing. After the assessment, offenders were assigned to programming appropriate for their needs. Offender progress though the classes was monitored, as were behavior and conduct. Modifications to classes and privileges were made as offenders earned or forfeited them through their conduct. Since implementation, there has been a consistent decrease of conduct violations, uses of force, staff injuries, and property damage, while there has been an increase in positive behavior among offenders in the Potosi Reintegration Unit. Prior to this, offenders were housed in segregation units with little to no social interaction and minimal opportunities to demonstrate pro-social skills. Through this program, it is now known that offenders can be reintroduced safely to the general population within a correctional center and throughout communities across the state.
Pre-Employment Screening Program
Department of Transportation
Since its establishment in January 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s primary mission has been to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. In support of this goal, FMCSA is responsible for providing commercial driver safety information to the motor carrier industry. In 2005, a congressional mandate required FMCSA to begin offering electronic access to this data for pre-employment screening purposes. Prior to the mandate, commercial driver safety information was only available via paper-based Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. FMCSA fulfilled legislative requirements by developing the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), launched in May 2010, which provides motor carriers and background screening companies with immediate online access to driver safety data. As Congress did not provide specific funding for the development and maintenance of the PSP program, FMCSA found a solution through the use of an innovative no-cost contract. FMCSA is responsible for all of the program’s data and general oversight, while the contractor handles daily operations. The contractor is paid via fees charged to end users that go toward answering hundreds of thousands of inquiries, attending industry events, ensuring the security of the system, and developing system enhancements to encourage widespread usage of PSP data. Within the first few years following PSP’s inception, the program produced measurable improvement in safety on the nation’s roads. A 2013 safety impact analysis study revealed that motor carriers using PSP averaged an 8% reduction in crash rates and a 17% decrease in driver out-of-service rates during the study timeframe. Due in large part to the results of the PSP safety impact analysis, motor carriers continue to enroll in PSP every day, and request more and more drivers’ PSP records each year.
Pre-K for All
City of New York, NY
In January of 2014, the New York City Mayor’s Office released its ambitious plan to implement universal pre-kindergarten to provide every four-year-old in New York City with access to free, full-day, high-quality pre-K by September of 2015. At that time, only 19,287 four-year-olds were enrolled in full-day pre-K in the city. The city’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Planning and Implementation Task Force was formed, even before the incoming mayor took office, to design a sustainable, high-quality Pre-K model for the city. Pulling together experts from within and outside of New York, the task force sought to identify and replicate the core features of high-quality models that produce positive learning outcomes. With funding secured in April of 2014, the city began quickly preparing for the 2014–2015 school year. Filling the gap in full-day Pre-K access could not wait, as children eligible to enroll in September of 2014 would not get another chance to attend Pre-K. To implement the expansion within such an ambitious timeframe required extensive interagency coordination. The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) served as the lead agency for the initiative; expansion efforts were also coordinated with the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. In the summer of 2014, the NYCDOE and partner agencies worked quickly to identify and partner with high-quality community-based providers, ensuring they were ready to open their doors on the first day of school. At the same time, the city launched an unprecedented grassroots campaign to recruit and enroll families. This included establishing an outreach team of dedicated pre-K enrollment specialists to call families and canvas local communities. The city’s comprehensive approach was grounded in creating a sustainable, high-quality model. Pre-K 4 All programs operate in multiple setting types — district schools, community-based providers (“New York City Early Education Centers” or NYCEECs), and charter schools. The NYCDOE provides extensive support, oversight, and training to programs to make sure that the city’s four-year-olds receive a high quality education. Pre-K students receive a full day of instruction — 6 hours and 20 minutes, with 180 days of education. Instruction is grounded in the Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, the New York State Pre-K learning standards covering all aspects of a child’s development and learning.
Presidential Innovation Fellows
General Services Administration
The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program unleashes the principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy to address high-impact public sector challenges through the most effective agents of change we know: our people. These teams of government experts and private-sector doers take a user-centric approach to issues at the intersection of people, processes, products, and policy to achieve lasting impact. Inspired by “lean startup” methodology, PIF was designed to focus on high-impact projects that could quickly research users, build prototypes, test solutions, and iterate. On August 23, 2012, the first class of PIFs kicked off their tours of duty in government. Since then, what began as a grand experiment has yielded results through programs like Project RFP-EZ that proved a streamlined bidding process for small government contracts could lead to a 30 percent reduction in the annual $80 billion federal IT budget, saving taxpayers $24 billion per year. Project Blue Button was launched by young technologists working in the Departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs to help citizens access their own health information. To achieve and sustain these kinds of successes, PIF has adapted to challenges ranging from bureaucratic hurdles in government, to growing pains from expansion. Since federal government hiring processes typically take months, the need to hire fellows in weeks caused tension. Furthermore, some federal agencies weren’t prepared to onboard fellows quickly, which resulted in fellows waiting weeks after they joined for laptops and email addresses.In response, the fellows and those running the program developed hacks allowing them to achieve their missions, such as identifying aspects of the hiring and background check process that could be run concurrently and pre-ordering laptops and email accounts even though doing so was not standard procedure. Once PIFs proved they could deliver value, the demand for fellows from agencies skyrocketed, with 35 agency projects competing to hire PIFs in the second round of the program. There was also increased interest from candidates, with over 2,100 applicants for the second round.
County of San Diego, CA
Project 25 is a 3-year pilot program to identify at twenty-five chronically homeless individuals in San Diego who are among those placing the heaviest burden on public services and resources such as emergency room visits and arrests. The program is operated by Father Joe’s Villages, a non-profit organization in San Diego, and followed the approach of Housing First, which is based on the premise that individuals need to be placed in affordable, permanent housing as quickly as possible and then offered a comprehensive set of services. Although the project’s initial goals were to identify and provide services to the top twenty-five users of public systems, the pool of participants was soon expanded to thirty-six people. Individuals identified for participation in the project ranged in age from 22 to 61, with a median age of 47; five of whom were Veterans. Participants all had some combination of mental illness, a serious physical disability, and/or a substance use disorder. The individuals analyzed were enrolled in the program and housed in their own apartments by the end of 2011. Their use of various public and behavioral health and other services was tracked during 2012 and 2013 and compared with the usage of 2010 prior to program enrollment. At the end of the pilot period, all individuals demonstrated a dramatic decrease in both utilization and costs of public services. A third of the participants still required supportive services to maintain their housing stability and continue their improved quality of life. This intense level of support may be required indefinitely. Another third “graduated” from the program and are utilizing a reduced level of services. The final third is anticipated to graduate after some additional time of receiving intensive support." The County and United Way supported key components of the project
which and was initially funded through a United Way grant. When United Way funding ended, the project received a three year-funding grant from SAMHSA, through which sustained savings were successfully demonstrated to Medicaid Managed Care plans, resulting in the Plans agreeing to continuation funding.
Project Comport: Police Data Initiative
City of Indianapolis, IN
The city of Indianapolis’ leadership teams under several mayoral administrations have believed that transparency and the use of data and data analysis to drive decision-making make government more efficient and effective. When city leadership was introduced to the Code for America (CfA) organization in early 2013, the city’s then-mayor led the city’s charge in applying for a partnership to assist in quality of life opportunities in the city’s focus areas, creating a data retrieval tool for the computer-aided dispatch and records management system as well as understanding open data policies and portals. The city’s project team of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Citizens Police Complaint Office worked with Code for America fellows to create a data extraction tool for use with the Internal Affairs Pro data program. In order to help site visitors’ comprehension, some context and definitions of departmental policies and procedures are provided along with the data. ProjectComport is the tool that was created to marry data and context. It performs an auto extraction of data on a daily basis for upload and review before releasing live on the ProjectComport.org site.
City of Rutland, VT
Project Vision is a proven, verifiable, and holistic strategy that overcomes one of the most vexing problems facing communities in 2016: the scourge of opiate abuse. The initiative recognizes the interconnectedness between all community members and the importance of breaking down organizational silos that inhibit effective, long-lasting solutions. In mid-2012, the police chief launched efforts to change the departmental culture and re-establish trust with the community. Concurrently, the City developed a Community Response Team comprised of in-house assets under authority of the Mayor to reach beyond simplistic policing models with the understanding that they wouldn’t be able to achieve success by arresting their way out of the problem. While some success was experienced, significant resource gaps were identified and subsequently, partners initiated an outreach process to engage disparate community partners. Law enforcement, public health, social services, probation and parole, housing, economic development, education, and faith communities were included to develop a comprehensive, holistic response to the crisis. Following the tragic death of a teenager in 2012 in an auto accident caused by a driver under the influence, community members were mobilized and Project Vision took shape. Over 300 volunteers representing community members and virtually every agency and organization dedicated to the welfare of the region meet monthly to build relationships and share information to reduce criminal activity, provide evidence-based treatment, and revitalize the community. Within the police department’s Vision Center, an embedded mental health clinician, prosecutor, domestic violence and family counselors, correctional officer, building inspector, and crime analyst participate in bi-weekly data-driven CompStat meetings to surgically concentrate resources on locations, offenders, and victims that are driving crime in the community. The housing and economic development team, working with residents and businesses, has revitalized downtown and remediated blighted neighborhoods while providing home-ownership opportunities. Ongoing grassroots community-building projects add to the pride and spirit driving our city-wide renaissance.
Public Engagement Unit
City of New York, NY
At the outset, the City of New York’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) set out to address ramifications faced by the city and its residents by the housing affordability crisis, particularly the effects of gentrification, the rapidly rising cost of living, and stagnating wages. The Unit was created after the success of New York’s Pre-K for All outreach effort, which demonstrated that connecting unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers to services could be achieved with implementation of engagement strategies. New York successfully enrolled 68,500 four year olds in free, full-day, high-quality pre-K programs by 2015. Researchers from Harvard found that hands-on, individualized assistance made a significant difference and that mixing data science with grassroots campaigns and organizing techniques and a commitment to affirmative government assistance can be a winning combination. In early 2015, the Mayor’s Office realized this ‘winning combination’ could be applied more broadly, and an entity designed to deftly tackle major challenges was created. This anticipatory approach begins by identifying challenges and approaching those who are most likely to benefit from services. PEU’s first initiative, the Home Support Unit, focused on homelessness reduction, addressing the difficulty of re-housing families and individuals -- a problem exacerbated by New York City’s low vacancy rate and historically strained relationship with landlords. PEU launched a campaign to reach out to landlords encouraging them to house tenants with rental subsidies, and helped make a bureaucratic, onerous process simpler for landlords and families. On the resident side, the City focused on tenants, particularly low-income tenants, affected by landlords using displacement tactics in rapidly changing neighborhoods. The Tenant Support Unit launched in May 2015, and immediately began engaging tenants experiencing housing challenges. TSU connects tenants with resources to resolve issues including legal assistance, repairs, and health/safety concerns. This was the first time the City initiated a strategy to reach tenants individually at their doors and in their communities, anticipating and tackling the negative effects of gentrification on low-income communities and applying new and existing services.
Public Space Invitational
City of Boston, MA
In 2014, the City of Boston's Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics launched the Public Space Invitational (PSI), a civic design competition that aims to reimagine public space in the city. They invited designers, artists, and engineers to make public spaces more beautiful and intuitive, and selected nine winning projects out of more than 70 submissions. Design teams built projects that brought a tidal vibraphone to the Congress Street bridge, provided pop-up learning opportunities for the community on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and activated the mezzanine of City Hall, a historically unused space, with brightly-colored skateboard tape.
The Invitational was inspired by some of New Urban Mechanics' past work. Their office had been involved with a number of public space interventions, including working with a local startup to install solar-powered benches in the City's parks and City Hall to Go, a project that transformed a former bomb-squad truck to bring citizen services to every neighborhood in Boston.
Once these projects were launched, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics wanted to expand the ways to source, fund, and implement prototypes on the streetscape. Inspired by the idea of inviting Boston's create community to transform public spaces, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics launched the Invitational. Designers were eager to collaborate with City Hall to improve the streetscape, and the challenges of creating durable installations for public space, permitting, and insuring projects led to streamlining City processes and unifying resources for 2016’s Public Space Invitational.
Public Spaces Community Places
Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MI
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) teamed up with Patronicity, to launch a crowdgranting platform to help create more vibrant communities throughout Michigan. Thriving public places help define a community’s economic vitality and contribute to a strong quality of life, help attract and retain talent, and grow stronger local economies. From bike trails, to pocket parks, to alley revitalization projects, they contribute to an overall mission of the MEDC of creating places people want to live, work, and play. This program was created to meet the needs of local communities across the state who needed assistance funding small but impactful placemaking projects. Through feedback from local communities throughout Michigan, MEDC staff responded to an acknowledged gap for funding these smaller projects with a mechanism that now creates active public and social spaces in Michigan communities. This program was a way to spur more public involvement around the their surrounding built environment and engage various stakeholders to decide what they wanted in their community. The practice of crowdgranting aims to fund projects by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people that invites residents to be engaged in the process from start to finish. Contributing patrons also receive project specific incentives depending on the level of donation. The goal of this practice is to have an inclusive platform that allows local residents and stakeholders to play a role in projects that will transform their communities and make visions into reality. This program supports identified projects through a community or non-profit organization and provides the necessary funds to make their vision into a reality. Since the launch of the program in September of 2014, there have been improvements made to better assist the communities across the state. The original match maximum started at $100,000 and due to the expanding pipeline, high demand, and the desire to meet the needs of many different communities, the maximum match is now set at $50,000. If the project receives the initial goal amount set, they will receive all of that money and be backed with 1:1 matching dollars by the State. This change has allowed more projects to be completed and focusing on different areas instead of investing in one primary location.
Public Transit Performance: Analytics and Mobile
District of Columbia
The District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Public Transit Performance: Analytics and Mobile project provides real-time bus reporting and analytics tools for DDOT’s DC Circulator system by utilizing data gathered through affordable, consumer-grade smartphones. The District of Columbia is home to 681,170 residents and is frequented by millions of visitors. To accommodate the city’s many transit users, DDOT created the DC Circulator system in 2005 to provide links to the District’s many cultural, entertainment and business destinations. The DC Circulator system did not have high-frequency reporting capabilities, which sometimes led to unreliable bus arrival predictions. In 2014 DDOT decided to tackle this issue by improving DC Circulator service reliability. To this end, DDOT installed generic smartphones inside DC Circulator vehicles to improve tracking of the system’s fleet. Such a tracking method existed as proof of concept; many transit agencies were hesitant to adopt it and instead resorted to legacy “black box” solutions to track transit vehicles. DDOT embarked on a pilot project to track several DC Circulator buses through smartphones that were installed on DC Circulator buses. The vehicles were also tracked via customary “black box” hardware, which ultimately proved to be much less reliable tracking devices.
Since the initial pilot, the entire DC Circulator fleet has been outfitted with smartphones, which report bus locations in three-second intervals. Additionally, these smartphones allow DDOT to gain insights into operational issues, such as headway reporting, bus bunching, bus monitoring and other customized business intelligence tools. Aside from the improved data collection and analytics that have come from this project, this system greatly reduces legacy costs as well. DDOT now has a bus tracking and analytical service based on data collected through affordable, consumer-grade hardware (smartphones); it is not tightly coupled with a specialized hardware vendor. Hardware maintenance has been considerably simplified as well – replacing a phone is a relatively clear and simple task. Additionally, this initiative helps District residents and visitors by incorporating the real-time bus locations that are pulled from this project’s data into a mobile app (rideDC Trip Planner) that offers rail and bus predictions and a DC Metro map that features various transit options (rail, bus, bikeshare and carshare) near a user's current location.
Pure Water San Diego
City of San Diego, CA
Pure Water San Diego offers one solution to two major challenges – it will produce one-third of San Diego’s water supply locally and reduce the City’s ocean discharges by half. Pure Water’s innovative solution relies on leveraging cutting-edge technology, formulating a new regulatory pathway and gaining public acceptance through multi-faceted outreach since 2004. Through a highly advanced process to produce one-third of the City’s potable water, wastewater is treated to recycled water standards at a Water Reclamation Plant, recycled water goes through a cutting-edge treatment process at the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF), resulting in purified water, purified water is blended in a reservoir with other water supplies, water is pulled from the reservoir and treated further at a Drinking Water Treatment Plant, and potable water is distributed to consumers. The City has operated a 1-million-gallon-per-day demonstration AWPF to confirm the safe and reliable production of purified water since June 2011. In addition, the City has implemented a comprehensive public outreach and education program that has been a key part of Pure Water and has led to increased support of Pure Water as the City’s final solution. 28,000 water quality tests confirmed that the AWPF technologies produce water that meets all federal and state drinking water standards. Based on the demonstration AWPF results and close coordination with regulators, the State Water Resources Control Board granted conditional approval of the concept in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, the City procured a Program Management Consultant to help solidify Pure Water planning and complete pre-design efforts. The Detailed Design phase started in April 2016, with construction beginning in 2019.
Quincy Police NARCAN Program
City of Quincy, MA
During the time period of 2008-2009, the City of Quincy, MA was experiencing a significant spike in opioid overdoses and deaths, and in that same period, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health was also monitoring those statistics. The normal procedure for law enforcement was to arrest the individual should they survive, but this was not a solution to addiction — rather it placed the individual in the criminal justice system in lieu of much needed treatment and counseling. Police officers, fire fighters and ambulance personnel responded to incidents of overdose, but each tier by law was prevented from possessing or administering Narcan, an opiate antidote. To overcome this barrier to life-saving treatment, a pilot program joined law enforcement and public heath into an exclusive partnership allowing trained police officers to administer Narcan to those experiencing an opioid overdose. The program created a new approach and outcome to the long-term wellbeing of the overdose victim, who are now seen as family members rather than carrying the stigmatized, dehumanizing label of “drug addict.” In October of 2010, all Quincy Police Officers completed training according to the guidelines set forth by the Department of Public Health, and the program was operational. This was indeed a lifesaving triumph, as the first overdose reversal quickly followed. Following the implementation of the new program, Quincy Police saw a 66 percent decrease in the death rate compared to the previous year officers were prevented from administering Narcan. The 300th reversal was recorded three years later in 2013 and the 500th recorded in April of 2016. The program has since been deemed “The Quincy Model” by Office National Drug Control Policy. In addition, the Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law was amended in 2012 to exclude from arrest an individual calling 911 for assistance for themselves or another in an opioid overdose state, a landmark decision. The second pioneering change allowed any person trained with a prescription for Narcan to administer without fear of civil action. These two intersecting major amendments created an atmosphere where the community now accepted the police as a public service rather than only an enforcement body with an astonishing sense of community and trust.
Race and Social Justice Initiative
City of Seattle, WA
When the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) began in 2004, no U.S. city had ever undertaken an anti-racism initiative. For many years, communities of color had repeatedly called on the City of Seattle to address institutional racism in its internal operations and community engagement. In 2004, then-Mayor Greg Nickels introduced RSJI as an internal program of Seattle City government. The goal was to “get our own house in order” – to end institutional racism in the City’s programs, services, policies and procedures. The Mayor’s Office asked the City’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to lead the effort on behalf of all City departments. OCR envisioned RSJI as an internal community organizing campaign, and asked departments to establish annual RSJI work plans and RSJI employee change teams to drive the work. They also developed a set of Central Concerns for all departments to focus on, created an 8-hour RSJI training that all 10,000 City employees were required to attend, and developed a Racial Equity Tool for departments to utilize as part of any budget actions, program planning and community engagement. Over time, City of Seattle employees adopted the language of racial equity and departments began to apply equity tools to their programs and services. In 2009, RSJI created the RSJ Community Roundtable to build a working partnership between the City and a wide range of community organizations. RSJI’s 2012-14 Three-Year Plan formally expanded the Initiative to focus on ending racial inequity in the community. The current 2015-2017 Three Year Plan envisions a broad racial justice movement that includes grassroots community, organizations, philanthropy, and active partnerships with other governments and institutions. Today, RSJI is changing the way departments conduct the City’s business, and building authentic relationships with communities of color. All City departments are required to document annual use of the Racial Equity Toolkit; in addition, the City has publicized its use of a racial equity analysis for several high-profile initiatives. For example, Seattle City Council has directed OCR to develop an action plan for the City to work toward zero criminal detention of youth in Seattle, as well as coordinate citywide efforts to remove barriers for formerly-incarcerated people, including making it easier to find jobs and housing.
Radio Frequency Identification in Utility Street Cuts
City of Dayton, OH
Within the City of Dayton, there are thousands of utility street cuts (“cuts”) within the roadways from utility excavation. A utility street cut is an area of the roadway that has been dug into by a utility company or their contractor to do work to their underground utility and then restored at a later date. If a cut becomes a safety hazard, or fails, it is up to the utility company as the “owner” to make full repairs for the lifetime of the cut. When previously trying to identify the owner of an unsafe or deteriorating cut, it could take minutes to days to determine the owner; typically, the city’s utility inspector would head into the field to investigate the complaint on site. Once on site, they would first confirm that this is in fact a utility street cut, and not a pothole, and would then look for any visible clues (manholes, water valves, etc.) to determine the owner. If no success, they would search through a Microsoft Access database on a laptop, based upon an address, for any permits issued. If this yielded no results, they would either look in the office for old paper records or call the Ohio Utility Protection Services to mark all utilities in the area of the cut. This could take days and further extends the unsafe roadway hazard. In 2011, city engineers began to discuss an idea to embed RFID tags programmed with the owner and utility permit number that would be placed in every cut during the restoration process in the field. In April 2013, after working with CDO Technologies, a local systems integrator, the team developed the technology and materials needed to officially begin this project. Since inception, when the utility company or their contractor pulls a permit with the city, they are issued preprogrammed RFID tags that will be placed within the asphalt during the restoration process of their cut. The tags are durable and strong enough to read several inches below the pavement. Now, when a complaint is received on a post-2013 cut, the utility inspector uses their handheld device to scan the cut for the RFID tag and instantly the owner is displayed on the screen. To date, the city has issued over 10,900 RFID tags to utility companies or their contractors with few obstacles observed, and has seen an increase in overall workmanship since inception.
Rapid Housing Program for Veterans
District of Columbia
In 2008, the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) was awarded the first of several allotments of vouchers under the then new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, in response to a growing number of homeless veterans. The HUD-VASH program combines rental assistance via Housing Choice vouchers for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services. DCHA administers the housing component, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) through the Veterans' Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) is responsible for identifying veterans to participate and providing case management and clinical services. Challenges became apparent early on. VAMC referrals to DCHA took five to six months and veterans waited an average of eight months to be processed and housed. Clients had difficulty providing required documentation and once vouchers were issued, it took up to five months to locate, approve and lease-up a unit. Challenges were twofold: it was taking longer than anticipated for VAMC to reach optimal case management staffing levels. In the meantime many clients struggled to navigate the process without someone to assist them and DCHA’s eligibility and housing processes for this program did not allow for a streamlined approach to processing veterans once referred to the agency. DCHA adapted to the challenges by tapping into the existing capacity of partner agencies and streamlining some of its own processes. DCHA developed the “DCHA-VASH Rapid Housing Model,” a nationally recognized best practice. Case management was the biggest challenge and vital to program success. To address it, DCHA facilitated a partnership between the city’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and VAMC, whereby DHS identified and referred a set number of homeless veteran clients to DCHA on behalf of the VAMC, assisted DCHA in locating landlords to rent units; and provided case management through their existing structure. DCHA utilized an existing DHS database technology to establish and jointly manage a database of DCHA pre-inspected and approved units targeted specifically to house chronically homeless veterans (many living under bridges or on our sidewalks). In addition, DCHA provided training for case managers at VAMC and DHS on its eligibility and documentation requirements for a more seamless veteran referral and eligibility process. DCHA also created the “Meet and Lease for Veterans.” The Meet and Lease is designed to bring together in one room, all landlords with available DCHA pre-inspected units for rent and homeless veterans with VASH vouchers searching for units. Since 2013, DCHA facilitated eight “Meet and Lease for Veterans” highly successful events in collaboration with public and private partners that has resulted in several hundred homeless veterans quickly securing housing - including close to two hundred homeless veterans being able to come to an event and leaving with the keys to their new home the very same day. Before each event, DCHA reaches out to its private landlord partners to ask them to offer units for the veterans. DCHA then expedites a pre-inspection of each unit and pre-approves a contract rent with the landlords. Veterans are also offered opportunities to take a tour of the pre-inspected units. At many of the Meet and Lease events, DCHA partner organizations also provide additional services for the veterans such as security deposits, furniture, food services, free manicures and pedicures, grooming kits, moving expenses, employment (training and on the spot employment offers) as well as health services.
Recreation Mapping Project
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated the recreation mapping project to ensure that the public can go online from any device and access consistent, informative and interactive maps of BLM’s recreational opportunities. Information for recreational opportunities on public land has been inconsistent, difficult to locate, or does not exist, and none of it was available in a mobile-friendly format. BLM did not have the ability to portray any geospatial information for recreational activities. Due to declining staff and budget, the capacity of agency employees to obtain and validate quality data and information has been limited. Beginning in November 2014, BLM staff and leadership met to develop a strategy in which the agency could utilize the recreational community and partners to help gather and showcase specific recreational opportunities, beginning with mountain biking. The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), with a broad user base and proven use of technology, was enlisted to help gather website content and crowd-sourced geospatial data for twenty exceptional mountain bike destinations showcasing a range of trail experiences. The BLM, IMBA, local partners, City of Moab and the mountain bike community, engaged people by using social media to capture exciting trail photos and content. Participants in the event shared photos of the Top 20 sites from BLM National’s Flickr album or individual state pages, Tweeted photos and content on state Twitter accounts, and shared posts from the My Public Lands Instagram account and Tumblr. While the BLM was able to align its limited resources for one small effort, it has had to develop new processes, data standards and partnerships to grow this effort beyond 20 mountain bike trails. Since the October 2015 rollout of the mountain bike websites, agency staff have been working to develop processes for gathering and validating crowd-sourced data from numerous partners, and procedures for merging it with corporate data and serving it back to the public, partners and other agencies. A strategy for highlighting additional recreational opportunities by area and by activity is in place and efforts are underway to showcase at least two more specific activities and a state-by-state “bucket list” of exemplary recreational activities and destinations by the fall of 2016.
Regulatory Roadmap Initiative
State of Washington
When state of Washington businesses asked the state Department of Commerce (Commerce) to help simplify regulatory requirements, the agency set out to Lean state permitting processes. While businesses appreciated improvements at individual agencies, Commerce soon realized the problem was much more complex than any single regulation – businesses were spending large amounts of time researching all of the state and local regulations and then trying to navigate through them. For example, opening a restaurant can involve requirements from more than 17 different city, county and state regulatory agencies. Guided by businesses’ ideas of what would provide the most value, Commerce worked with the restaurant community, local jurisdictions and regulatory agencies to develop a better approach. The result was an online “roadmap” that distills all local and state requirements into easy-to-understand, sequential worksheets and checklists for opening a new restaurant. Examples of typical restaurant start-ups and planning tools that identify “trigger issues” help business owners avoid costly regulatory surprises. The pilot Restaurant Roadmap, started in Seattle in 2013, is saving prospective restaurateurs time, money and mistakes. The concept was adapted for other cities throughout 2015 and 2016. Building on this success, the roadmap approach is expanding into other industries. Commerce convened manufacturers to learn about their regulatory concerns, and heard once again that regulatory information was unpredictable and difficult to find. They wanted access to technical details to quickly make feasibility decisions – before hiring a consultant or architect. Based on the manufacturers’ input, Commerce produced a Manufacturing Roadmap that includes interactive tools to assess costs, timelines and overall feasibility of potential facility sites. Manufacturers reported that the roadmap could have saved them two months of combing through city codes and agency websites trying to understand if a potential site would pencil out. Like the restaurant pilot, the Manufacturing Roadmap is now being replicated in several other cities. A new roadmap for the construction sector is also under development.
Smart Chicago Collaborative
City of Chicago, IL
Smart Chicago was born in the conversations of the early to mid-2000s around closing the digital divide. The culmination of these conversations was the May 2007 report titled, "The City that NetWorks: Transforming Society and Economy Through Digital Excellence". There were eight central recommendations in this report, including that the city should recruit committed civic leaders to organize and launch the Partnership for a Digital Chicago, a new nonprofit entity, housed at The Chicago Community Trust and led by corporate, philanthropic, city, community and technology industry representatives. Its mission will be to ensure that all of Chicago achieves digital excellence and takes advantage of the social and economic opportunities that arise from universal use of digital technology. This idea — the Partnership for a Digital Chicago — became the Smart Chicago Collaborative. Smart Chicago’s first undertaking was to help distribute Chicago’s funds under the National Telecommunications & Information Association’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Grant Program. Since 2011, Smart Chicago has created and implemented several nationally recognized community technology programs that fill gaps in the civic technology ecosystem and disseminate the benefits of technology to middle and low income Chicagoans: the Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup), Smart Health Centers, Youth-Led Tech, the Chicago School of Data, the Chicago Health Atlas, and Connect Chicago, to name a few. Smart Chicago has also documented and published all of its methods through blogs and books, encouraging and sometimes directly assisting other cities seeking to replicate its success.
Smartphones Enable Smart Supervision
State of Oregon
Outreach Smartphone Monitoring (OSM) uses predictive technology to recognize changes in behavioral patterns by tapping into human/smartphone interaction, based on the belief that the smartphone is the perfect vehicle to distribute resources to individuals and collect the data needed to determine the best ways to reduce recidivism. Working with community supervision agencies, a district judge and an official from the Federal Judicial Center, an application was designed that would replace the use of an ankle bracelet. This was accomplished by incorporating a Bluetooth biometric wristband, remote blood alcohol testing using a Bluetooth breathalyzer, providing rehabilitative resources, and traditional electronic monitoring. The OSM smartphone and web application is now in use in over 20 states and customer groups include Drug Courts, Pretrial Services, Probation, Reentry, Juvenile Supervision, Treatment Facilities, and DUI law firms.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Team
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
For decades, academics and policymakers have seen tremendous potential for intersections between behavioral science and policy. Any time the government engages with people — whether it’s by offering low-income students free or reduced-price lunches at school or by offering veterans employment benefits — there is an opportunity to improve that interaction using insights about human behavior. In 2014, a small group of five behavioral scientists inside the U.S. Federal Government worked together to build a team of behavioral scientists that could help realize these opportunities. But there were some major obstacles in the way of the work: the team didn’t have a high-level mandate inspire government agencies to partner with them on proof-of-concept pilots. They also didn’t have a budget to build a team, nor was there a budget to run pilots with government agencies. In short, this effort was going to require some serious coalition building and creativity. The plan was to develop project proposals that used behavioral science insights to address problems from Federal agency colleagues were already trying to solve. This way, they could align incentives and more successfully build an appetite for this work in agencies, in the face of many competing demands and priorities. One year later the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team briefed President Obama on its successful collaborations with over a dozen Federal agencies. On September 15, 2015, the President signed an executive order titled “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People” that institutionalizes the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team and issued a directive to agencies to apply behavioral science to their programs. The General Services Administration (GSA) also created an entirely new office, the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES), to recruit behavioral scientists into the government. To date, OES has recruited over 20 behavioral scientists to work on this effort.
Sparking the Green Bank Movement
State of Connecticut
The Connecticut Green Bank was established in a bipartisan manner by the Office of the Governor and General Assembly on July 1, 2011 through Public Act 11-80 as a quasi-public agency that supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. As the nation’s first state green bank, the Connecticut Green Bank makes clean energy more accessible and affordable to all citizens and businesses in the state by creating a thriving marketplace that accelerates the growth of green energy. The Green Bank’s mission is to support the Governor’s and Legislature’s energy strategy of achieving cleaner, cheaper and more reliable sources of energy while creating jobs and supporting local economic development. The Green Bank facilitates clean energy deployment by leveraging a public-private financing model that uses limited public dollars to attract multiples of private capital investments. By partnering with the private sector, the Green Bank creates solutions that result in long-term, affordable financing to increase the number of green energy projects statewide. The Green Bank is demonstrating how public resources can be better invested in ways that attract more private investment in our communities, lead to deployment of more green energy by local contractors, and most importantly providing positive value to our consumers. The Connecticut Green Bank is leading a movement to use public funds more responsibly. By attracting and deploying more green energy related private investment both its economy and environment benefit. In a September 2014 study done by the Center for America Progress, “Green Growth: A U.S. Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities,” it was estimated that the U.S. requires at least $200 billion to be invested annually in efficient and renewable energy for 20 years to reduce carbon emissions and avert climate disaster. The Coalition for Green Capital estimates that based on Connecticut, its market size, growth rate, and private-public leverage ratio, a successfully operating green bank in every state would yield $200 billion in national annual investment within 5 years. And like Connecticut, 90 percent of funds would come from private sources with all public contributions returned over 10-20 years.
SPD Safe Place Initiative
City of Seattle, WA
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) Safe Place allows Seattle’s business owners and organizations to collaborate with "their police" to assist the victims of hate crimes. This concept is the first in the nation designed to educate the public, define their role in reducing crime and generate a productive dialogue regarding historically sensitive information involving the LGBTQ community. Adapted from a 1970s-era program that utilized window decals to indicate homes that would shelter children who felt unsafe on public transportation, this concept was feasible, inexpensive to replicate and with some alterations (using businesses and organizations instead of residences) would be equally as effective with adult victims of crimes. The SPD Safe Place concept utilizes a 4”x6” rainbow-colored police badge with basic information that identifies each participating business or organization as a Safe Place for the victims of any crime (especially LGBTQ hate crimes). There is also an Anti-LGBTQ Student Bullying phase to this initiative in progress as of 2016. Training to the businesses, organizations and schools is provided by the SPD, free of charge, as are the deacls. During development, it was imperative to get buy-in from the City’s businesses associations, school administration, LGBT media and input from the victims of these hate crimes. The programs ongoing operations and achievements include over 4,000 Seattle area businesses and organizations participating in SPD Safe Place, with more online requests being received daily. There has also been a visible increase in LGBTQ hate crimes being reported resulting in arrests. The U.S. Department of Justice Monitor also reported that there was a 17 percent increase in the trust between the LGBTQ community and the Police in 2015. The SPD Safe Place concept is currently being adopted and/or examined by over 50 U.S. and Canadian police agencies.
Startup in Residence
City and County of San Francisco, CA
Startup in Residence (STIR) connects the public sector directly to innovative technology entrepreneurs to help solve challenges faced by City government, and make government more accountable, efficient and responsive. For 16 weeks, startups help departments unpack issues with data analysis and prototype solutions refined through user testing. Startups gain insight into civic needs to develop products that support critical community services. Announced in 2014, San Francisco, the first cohort had nearly 200 startups from 25 cities and countries apply to the program, from which the 6 most promising startups were selected to collaborate with government agencies across 16 weeks to build new products and services. All 6 of these collaborations resulted in innovative products for government. One of the most exciting outcomes from these collaborations was a solution to guide blind and visually impaired airport customers to their gate and other services. The application was built by a company from Vienna called indoo.rs in collaboration with our airport and in consultation with Lighthouse for the Blind, a SF-based non-profit that advocates for the blind and visually-impaired. The San Francisco International Airport installed nearly 500 ibeacons in Terminal 2 and shared detailed maps and resources down to the location of power outlets, and is planning to scale the technology and adapt the software into multiple languages. With the lessons learned from the initial cohort and a three year grant from the US Commerce Department, STIR was formally announced and expanded in January 2016 regionally with Oakland, San Leandro and West Sacramento. This multi-city collaborative has shared nearly 27 challenges for technologists and entrepreneurs to tackle. After the 16-week program, the government agencies and startups have the potential to enter into a commercial arrangement through the usual competitive process which means an RFP, and has been streamlined in San Francisco based upon our experience from 2014, reduced from months or years to weeks by having the call for startups be an RFP itself.
Storefront Improvement Program
City of Cambridge, MA
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted twenty-six years ago, many small businesses still struggle to make their storefronts ADA-compliant. The necessary upgrades are often cost-prohibitive; tax credits and deductions do not minimize the substantial initial cash outlay required. In Cambridge, business owners were avoiding making any renovations for fear of triggering the city’s ADA compliance requirement. As a result, people with disabilities and older adults, an estimated 20 percent of Cambridge’s population, were unable to patronize many retailers in the City, and parents of young children encountered obstacles while navigating strollers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people with disabilities have $175 billion in discretionary spending power, over four times the spending power of teenagers, whom many businesses target. Baby boomers, 30 percent of whom will have a disability before retirement, have more discretionary income than any other age group. Businesses therefore suffered lost revenues as a result of these excluded customers. Since 1996, the City of Cambridge’s Storefront Improvement Program has offered technical assistance and 50 percent matching grants for signage, façade, and accessibility improvements, but many of these funds remained unused.
In the spring of 2014, the Cambridge Community Development Department, Economic Development Division investigated why they had a $91,000 backlog sitting in the budget and reconfigured the Storefront Improvement Program’s benefits to specifically target the ADA hurdle. Now, business owners continue to receive 50 percent matching grants for signage and façade improvements, but ADA-related improvements became eligible for 90 percent matching grants up to $20,000 — the average price of an elevator lift or ramp. The funding has been fully utilized every year since; in the first full year of the revitalized program, business owners used over $134,000 in grant money on ADA-focused projects alone — more than double the previous year’s total. Since its inception, the program has made 25 businesses accessible. In recognition of the program’s benefits, the City administration and Council increased budgeted funds each year, growing the program funds by 75 percent. Currently, business owners are requesting two-to-three-times more money per application on average, indicating more ambitious projects and increased private investment in commercial districts. It has also provided incentive for some business owners to move into older, vacant properties, knowing they will have substantial help in making them ADA-compliant. Ultimately, this program benefits not just those with limited mobility but enhances storefronts for all.
Strengthening Information Exchange after Ebola
Agency for International Development
Access to more accurate, timely, and complete information during an epidemic -- including infection numbers, geographic spread and bed availability -- can save lives. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) responded to this need for traditionally underfunded pieces of digital health information systems (HIS) to enable better prevent, detection and response to future epidemics. As a part of a broader Agency-level response and recovery strategy and portfolio of programs, the post-Ebola recovery program to strengthen digital HIS targets investment gaps to link other donor investments and support the broader health information ecosystem. The four-part strategy includes 1) supporting ministry-led coordination of digital health investments, 2) creating interoperability between existing digital health platforms, 3) building local engineering expertise to maintain and improve HIS, and 4) helping develop and scale mobile tools that extend ministry investments to frontline health workers through two-way communication. This strategy plays an innovative role in Ebola recovery efforts by targeting historical weaknesses that promote better utilization of donor resources and the ability of Ebola-affected countries to rebuild.
Substance Abuse Family Recovery Program
State of Louisiana
In June of 2010, Steven Hoyle Intensive Substance Abuse Center’s (SHISAP) administrative staff recognized a vital need for provision of reentry services for family members of incarcerated offenders and initiated the Family Recovery Program to offer evidenced-based treatment and direct support services to the families of offenders. The program consists of treatment and services that support the program goals of strengthening family relations, developing recovery-based life skills for families, developing risk prevention for offender’s children, and reducing recidivism. The inception of the Family Recovery Program was made possible by funding from the Governor’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program awarded to FWCC for a twelve month period, and the $45,000 award was utilized for start-up costs for the family-based program. The first component of the Family Recovery Program is Family Day where staff utilize the Strengthening Families curriculum, one of SAMHSA’s National Register of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), for parents and children ages 3-16. They begin by having the offenders go through weekly family dynamic group sessions with the family therapist. After 6-8 weeks with the therapist, the offenders’ families are invited to attend Family Day. The session lasts approximately 3.5 hours. SFP consists of parenting skills, children's life skills, and family skills training courses. Outcomes include increased family strengths and resilience and reduced risk factors for problem behaviors in high risk children, including behavioral problems, emotional, academic and social problems. The second component of the Family Recovery Program, Life Lessons for Families, offers lectures recorded on DVD’s to family members who are unable to travel to Family Day. These videos include psycho-educational lectures on anger management, substance abuse treatment education, family structure and dynamics, parenting, and other topics.. The third component of the Family-Based Program is Reading to Our Children, which consists of two reading programs that focuses re-connecting fathers’ with their children through books, either fictional stories or stories regarding life lessons. A father is videoed reading a children’s storybook or a book that is focused on life lessons including: self-esteem, respect, self-confidence, telling the truth, bullying, anger, saying no to drugs, and standing up to peer pressure. The DVD and book are then mailed to the children. Studies have shown that regular contact during a parent’s incarceration helps family reunification upon release. The stronger and more current the incarcerated parent’s relationship with his/her children, the smoother the parent’s reintegration into the family.
Success in Schools
County of Wilson, NC
The Success in Schools initiative of the Wilson County Department of Social Services ensures that teen parents are able to navigate becoming a nurturing parent while working towards high school graduation by providing case management and concrete support services. Success in Schools is designed to address Wilson County’s graduation rate, and strengthen the parenting ability of the teens receiving services by focusing on academic success and providing varied learning opportunities with a goal of interrupting a cycle of poverty at its earliest stages. Implemented in 2008, Success in Schools leverages the county’s childcare subsidy to allow social workers to provide intensive case management services with teen parents. This approach allowed the agency to address teen pregnancy, the high school dropout rate, and poverty in an innovative manner. By engaging community stakeholders like the local school district, the the county health department, and community health-care providers, the initiative provides specific supportive services as well as concrete guidance on implementation through a Community Advisory Council. This work has not only shown consistent progress with regard to the county’s high school dropout rate but also has grown to serve teens with an evidence-based curriculum called Partners for a Healthy Baby.
State of Texas
The biennial state of Texas budget for 2016 and 2017 totals more than $209 billion, a massive sum that provides vital services for nearly 27 million Texans. Given the state’s size and the magnitude of the challenges facing it, transparency is critical to building confidence in government. Prior to the Comptroller’s Texas Transparency initiative, various state agencies provided web access to fragments of fiscal information but the state had no centralized, user-friendly website providing comprehensive data on public finances. In January 2007, the Comptroller’s office began by publishing simple web pages featuring agency expenses. By October of that year, the agency had published its award-winning “Where the Money Goes” site, which featured a searchable check register for state expenditures. In November 2008, the agency launched its “Texas Transparency Check-Up” site for Texas local governments, and in December 2009 launched the Leadership Circle, a program recognizing local government transparency. From its inception through 2015, the program granted 1,878 Circle awards to local governments that provide the public with easy access to their financial documents. In May 2010, the agency launched an expanded Texas Transparency site that included “Where the Money Comes From,” a visual tool depicting revenue trends, and the Data Center, a central repository for downloadable datasets. New visual tool features, including spending by agency and category of expenditure, were added in 2013. Since then, the agency has continued to build and enhance the site’s features, as with the recent addition of a dashboard on economic development spending by fund, “Explore Economic Development Funds.” Texas Transparency continues to evolve in response to increasing public demand for open and accountable government, particularly in the areas of debt and local finance. In 2016, the aforementioned Leadership Circle program was re-vamped to provide even greater transparency among local governments when the Comptroller introduced the Transparency Stars program, which awards Stars to entities that go beyond just providing basic financial documents on their websites.
County of Montgomery, MD
The Thingstitute is a first-of-a-kind living laboratory for internet of things (IoT) technology, providing an unparalleled testbed for start-ups, established companies, and research institutions. Housed in Montgomery County’s Offices of the County Executive, the Thingstitute designs and operates test beds to enhance the quality of life for local residents. In 2014, the County launched its first IoT Project, Smart Community Alert Network (SCALE), in NIST’s GCTC. SCALE was envisioned as a testbed to pilot IoT Technology that would help seniors aging in place live independently longer and have easier access to services. Interest in SCALE grew quickly and it was eventually recognized by the White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park at a GCTC event. Based on this positive response the County Executive decided to expand the project, and the Thingstitute was created. Announced in January 2015, the Thingstitute is the first initiative of its kind in a local government. Its sole focus is to create IoT testbeds that help attract the latest technology resources to the County through innovative pilot, prototype and proof of concept projects that help improve the lives of County residents. To date, the Thingstitute is operating three projects: SCALE, Smart Agriculture (enhancing economic opportunities in small-scale agriculture), and Smart Transit Spotlight project (improving transit rider experience and exploring connected vehicle technology). The Thingstitute has also integrated community education into its mission. To address concerns regarding privacy and security, the Thingstitute works with residents to help build awareness and acceptance of smart city, IoT-based deployments. The Thingstitute delivers workshops and media that help explain what new technology can and cannot do. Most importantly, the testbeds make the technology real. Policymakers, residents and community organizations can see, touch and experience the technology firsthand. This goes a long way towards building public trust in technology that could save lives if deployed.
Tribal Defenders Holistic Defense Program
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
The Tribal Defenders Office (TDO) is a public defender agency for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) representing American Indians accused of crimes committed within the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation in northwestern Montana. CSKT has 7,779 members, comprised of the Bitterroot Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai Tribes. The Flathead Reservation is also home to American Indians from 200 other tribal affiliations and half of TDO's clients are members of other federally recognized tribes. American Indians are grossly overrepresented in Montana’s criminal justice system. Only 7 percent of Montana’s total population, American Indians make up 36 percent of the female prison population and 20 percent of the male prison population. The overrepresentation in the criminal justice system is due in part to historical trauma from colonization, broken treaties, and forced relocation. The resulting anxiety, depression, and anger, have manifested themselves in mental illness and chemical dependency, and in turn, contact with the criminal justice system. Prior to 2009, TDO approached public defense in the standard, adversarial way – a cog in the punitive justice system that focused on one aspect of the problem — the alleged crime. It was a reactive approach, dealing with clients on a case-by-case basis. As a result, clients simply cycled through the system with high rates of recidivism, proving ineffective in reducing over-incarceration. In 2009, with the help of a federal grant and technical assistance from the Bronx Defenders in New York, TDO implemented an innovative public defense model called “holistic defense” that views the client as a whole person and addresses all aspects of the case, including underlying issues and collateral consequences. TDO started a mental health collaboration program that offered psychology and case management services to individuals most at risk to recidivate due to mental illness and substance use disorders. TDO’s program successfully reduced recidivism for its clients. Without grant funding since 2011, TDO kept its program running through minimal funding from CSKT Tribal Health. Despite positive results, TDO still encountered barriers to services for their clients. . In response, TDO increased its efforts to educate stakeholders and address the needs of CSKT’s indigent community. TDO implemented a bad check diversion program, driver’s license restoration, cultural mentoring, civil assistance for collateral consequences to criminal charges, community service, community education and, in 2015 a reentry program.
Using Instagram to Address Blight
City of Mobile, AL
The City of Mobile is the first city in America to develop a comprehensive, digitally-mapped inventory of every blighted residential structure. To conduct the city-wide survey, Mobile, led by the city’s Bloomberg Philanthropy funded Innovation team, utilized Instagram to geo-locate blighted properties while documenting the impact to residents of more than $83 million in lost market value. Capitalizing on the capabilities of Instagram, the City created a brand new mobile app that allows rapid cataloging and city-wide assessment. With new data on the exact scope of the problem, the City can ensure the right resources are being deployed at the right time to the right property. The data collected through this effort revealed that blighted properties comprise two percent of Mobile's housing stock and 25 percent (13,188) of Mobile's homes are within 150 feet of blight. Each of those homes sees an average negative $6,300 to their value, an $83 million loss city wide. Historically, the Nuisance Abatement Ordinance has fallen short of producing dramatically better outcomes for neighborhoods in Mobile. Tougher penalties for owners of unsecured structures, which can become a haven for criminal activity and bring down surrounding property values, will remove incentives to abandonment and neglect. If the owner has taken no action after a violation, the City will take immediate steps to remedy the problem with the costs being borne by properties owners, and not the taxpayers. With stronger enforcement tools in place, the City will have the ability to free 2,600 homes from the effects of blight restoring more than $10 million in real estate equity to local homeowners. Beyond gathering the raw data, Mobile has worked to understand why blight occurs and how it became so pervasive. Over the next two years, the city will raise the profile of blight as an issue and look to businesses, nonprofits and community groups to invest in neighborhoods and help residents keep their properties updated. The Instagram initiative only helped define the blight problem, but it is not often a city process can be completely changed at almost no expense. The initiative has been hugely successful from that standpoint.
Village Green Project
Environmental Protection Agency
The Village Green Project provides local-level, robust, real-time air pollution measurements using low-cost monitoring sensor technologies housed in a community-friendly park bench. This solar- and wind-powered system is in demand by cities across the US because it provides real-time information on the local quality of the air. Each Village Green station continuously measures two common air pollutants (ozone and fine particulate matter), as well as wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity. The measurements are transmitted to a website every minute. The stations are currently all located in public environments, including elementary schools, public libraries, the National Zoo, a national park historic site, and a public children’s garden. Not only do the stations engage the public into learning about local air quality, but the stations have also been shown to closely compare with higher-cost monitoring stations and produce data suitable for research studies on air pollution trends. Engaging the public in learning about local air quality is just as important as the technological advances. While the first prototype was in its infancy, the Village Green research team engaged with the public through blogs and videos. Continuing outreach has been significant, with Environmental Protection Agency and partner social media efforts amplifying the project. In one case, the launch of the Philadelphia station had over 3 million impressions and nearly 300,000 accounts reached on twitter, and the Village Green Project has been covered in media outlets ranging from Fast Company to local news stations.
Voter Line Wait Mobile Application
County of Collin, TX
In 2012, a new state program allowed Collin County voters to cast ballots at any polling location within county borders for early voting and Election Day. The concept of a voter’s particular polling location was no longer valid, and the county Elections and Information Technology departments worked on finding ways to let voters know that they could vote anywhere, and to inform voters that they had an option of going to another polling location with a shorter line. Considering it a safe assumption that the County’s 460,000 registered voters in this suburban county had mobile devices, staff chose to use Quick Response (QR) Codes to launch a mobile app to direct voters to the closest polling location, including line waits at each location based on real-time traffic. The Voter Line Wait Mobile Application was a simple extension of the county's website, which had already developed a line wait dashboard that identified a polling location and the approximate line wait time as green (< 20 min.), yellow (21-40 min.) and red (>40 min.). The site included a polling location interactive map link that the voter could view or print. But the dashboard was useless if a voter was stuck in long line at a vote center. The county used a QR Code that tapped location capabilities of voters' mobile devices to determine their location and their proximity to voting centers that included the line-wait dashboard information and basic map layers. The voter turnout traffic was monitored by the Elections Command Center to post any changes at 60-plus locations. Voters merely had to scan the posted QR Code with their mobile device and decide whether to leave or stay.
Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP)
County of Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County spans 88 cities with approximately 5 million registered voters - the largest and most diverse election jurisdiction in the country. Election services for the County rely on technology that was first introduced in the 1960s and is now reaching the end of its life span. In an effort to replace the aging voting system and to continue to provide accessible and secure elections, the County launched the Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP). The necessity and urgency for such project reflected the lack of voting systems in the market that would appropriately cater to the complexities of LA County voter needs, and VSAP was launched to bring together election officials, academics and community stakeholders to find a voting systems solution for the County’s voters. VSAP’s vision is to use an open, transparent and data-driven process to develop a voting system that meets the needs of current and future LA County voters. In support of this vision, a great amount of user testing and public opinion research has been conducted since the launch of the project. The VSAP has partnered with a wide array of organizations including academic and research institutions, design agencies, and community advocacy groups. Furthermore, a set of General Voting System Principles was adopted to guide system development and implementation. Finally, the County established the VSAP Advisory Committee and VSAP Technical Advisory Committee, composed of subject-matter experts, academics and community leaders, to advise the County throughout system design, development and implementation.
The research has resulted in the development of a completely new voting experience model for LA County voters. This includes new technology, systems, and processes. The model provides new options that increase accessibility, usability and flexibility for voters. With the voting experience model now identified, the VSAP now continues to work to refine the systems and develop system specifications for manufacturing with the goal of implementing this new experience by 2020. For the first time in a voting system development project, the VSAP has allowed voters to have a voice in the development of their voting experience. It has turned the voting system development process from one that prioritizes profits for voting system vendors to a process that prioritizes voter needs.
WE: Women's Empowerment
City of Kansas City, MO
The Women's Empowerment initiative, WE, is Kansas City's public/private partnership with the Central Exchange, Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the UMKC Women's Center. The goal is to create and implement a comprehensive blueprint of data-driven strategies that make city government more effective for the women who work in it, wish to do business with it, and want to serve the community on boards and commissions. Many of the solutions proposed after surveying city employees were low or no cost changes, including a City-wide policy on breastmilk pumping facilities and piloting flexible work schedules. The City partnered with the Women’s Foundation on the Appointments Project, which recruits and trains women to serve on boards and commissions. Since the advent of the Appointments Project, female representation on City boards has increased from roughly one-third to over 41 percent.
What Matters for Health, Community PlanIt
City of Boston, MA
Community PlanIt (CPI) is an online engagement game platform designed by the Engagement Lab at Emerson College to create a new space for conversations within a community that is used around the world on local planning topics ranging from water quality to youth unemployment. Frequently, planning meetings are beset by a lack of diversity, learning, and trust and a surplus of one-issue activists, incivility, and misunderstandings; CPI augments existing offline engagement efforts by stepping up where face-to-face meetings often fall flat. Structured within a series of time-limited missions where players are prompted to complete an array of challenges and respond to questions, CPI provides a playful framing that allows planners to guide citizens through the narrative of the planning process, creating opportunities along the way for learning, civil conversation, and meaningful input. Typical CPI games last three weeks and require about one hour of gameplay per week. The outcome of gameplay is data that is directly applicable to the planning process. Community PlanIt not only builds trust between citizens and organizations, but also is itself a powerful data collection tool that allows meaningful analysis of citizen input to incorporate into the planning process. Players learn about local issues, connect with each other, and suggest solutions to problems. Each game ends in a face-to-face Game Finale, where players meet with each other and discuss the results of the game with planners and decision makers. A Tech for Engagement Grant from the Knight Foundation provided seed funding to develop the platform in 2012 with implementations in the cities of Detroit (Detroit 24/7) and Philadelphia (Philadelphia 2035), and most recently with the city of Boston and the World Wildlife Fund (2016). Since then, the game has been used in a wide array of contexts that go well beyond city master planning: from setting public health priorities in neighborhoods to addressing wastewater management at the regional scale, and from social media policy-setting in individual schools to tackling the issue of youth unemployment in developing countries at the national scale.
City of Chicago, IL
WindyGrid is a real-time situational awareness platform that allows Chicago to break-down data silos and view activity in their city in street operations, licensing, and public safety. Recently launched as an open source project which can be adopted by others for internal operations or improvements to open data portals. Initial versions of WindyGrid in the spring of 2012 only existed as a complicated database that combined a handful of data sources: 911 calls, crimes, and bus locations. Later iterations grew the number of data sources, but was not usable beyond trained database administrators. Ahead of hosting a NATO conference that would require significant work from dozens of city agencies, the City of Chicago developed a user-friendly, map-based interface. For less than $100,000, the city was able to develop an application that allowed for a central query of public safety, licensing, transportation, social media, and weather data. Equivalent systems sold by large vendors are typically much more expensive and longer implementation cycles that the city likely could not afford or install ahead of the NATO summit. In the spring of 2013, the city rolled-out WindyGrid to other departments and continued to make improvements to the application. More departments used WindyGrid to aid in their operations, extending beyond the original scope around public safety. In turn, the city implemented new feature requests to help these teams. In 2015, the City created WindyGrid 2.0--a significant rewrite that was entirely comprised of open source solutions and introduced compatibility with mobile phones and tablets. At the same time, the City launched OpenGrid, which is the open source core that drives WindyGrid. Whereas WindyGrid is used internally, OpenGrid is open source and can be adopted by other cities and used for situational awareness. OpenGrid was also designed to be compatible with the rising number of open data portals. Whereas WindyGrid focused on internal city operations, OpenGrid provides the same ability to explore data for the public. The OpenGrid platform is free, whether used for internal situational awareness or navigating open data.
Women's Reentry Assessment & Programming Initiative
County of Chester, PA
In 2013, Chester County faced an increase in the number of women under community supervision (47-percent increase from 2011–2013) and the number incarcerated at the local jail (74-percent increase from 2005). Many of these women were cycling in and out of jail, which caused chaos and disruption in their lives and families without any real chance of addressing the causes of their criminality. Prior to implementation of the program, 30 percent of the women incarcerated were committed on violations of supervision. The 130 women eventually served by the program had experienced 692 separate commitments to the jail. Recognizing that business as usual was not working, and that the traditional male-centric justice system was not providing the connections and interventions that respect the life experiences women bring into the system, the county looked to the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women and the National Institute of Corrections Justice Involved Women’s Initiative for resources and recommendations on evidence-based programming.
In January 2014, the first probation officer was assigned to the Women’s Reentry Assessment and Programming Initiative (WRAP). The program provides gender-responsive, evidence-based assessments, supervision, case management, and programming to at-risk women transitioning from jail or facing violations of supervision. For the first time in the county’s system, trauma — a prominent feature for justice-involved women — is screened. All staff receives training to understand the impact of trauma on behavior, which in turn drives trauma-informed approaches to supervision, services, and decision-making, allowing for better engagement and outcomes for the women. A gender-responsive risk assessment tool identifies women’s individual needs and strengths allowing for a strength-based model of case planning and supervision. Research has concluded that considering both gender-responsive and gender-neutral factors increases the accuracy of predicting reoffending and improves the quality of case management plans targeting the highest risk factors for women. Community Case Management, using the Collaborative Casework Model for Women, allows for women’s needs to be addressed holistically. Additionally, cognitive-based training and psycho-educational trauma groups are delivered to engage women in their own recovery-building skills, self-efficacy, and community connections. The WRAP program has transformed the traditional criminal justice paradigm of control and compliance, hierarchical relationships, and a focus on presenting problems, to a model where problems are seen as trauma-driven coping mechanisms and supervision emphasizes collaboration and relationships.
Work Boot Tuesdays
City of Glendale, CA
The Glendale City Council began Work Boot Tuesdays (WBT) in February 2015 as an outgrowth of the Mayor’s effort to conduct more outreach to the community, as well as edify the City Council team about significant public service and infrastructure efforts underway. WBT occurs on a monthly basis in lieu of the City Council’s customary afternoon session. The sessions are technically special City Council meetings, with roll call and public comment, with the purpose of putting boots on the ground and allowing Council Members and residents to familiarize themselves with the people and operations that deliver services to Glendale residents and businesses. The idea is to provide the City Council and the community with a better understanding of operations in a relevant and timely manner, prior to Council making a decision regarding that operation. This allows Council to make well-informed policy decisions, and allows the public to better understand both the operation and the decisions made by their elected officials. The idea of Work Boot Tuesday is not to cover the entirety of departmental operations in one session, but rather to allow policymakers and residents to work alongside one another and delve into the details through tours, live demonstrations, and in-person interactions.