Oakland Tapped as First U.S. City to Pilot New “Equity Intelligence Platform”

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017 | News Update

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Oakland, Calif. – More than one hundred non-profit, public sector, and philanthropy leaders have gathered in Oakland today under the leadership of My Brother’s Keeper Oakland co-chairs Mayor Libby Schaaf and President & Chief Executive Officer of The East Bay Community Foundation James Head to participate in the national launch of the “Equity Intelligence Platform” (EIP).

The EIP was conceived and developed by Bloomberg Associates, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and PolicyLink, three entities that have worked with mayors across the United States to tackle population disparities. The EIP will provide cities, community based organizations, philanthropic organizations and local leaders the ability to measure and track progress in improving outcomes for boys and young men of color. With a long history and deep commitment to implementing programs and policies to tackle population disparities, Oakland will be the first U.S. city to pilot the program focusing on health, education, workforce, and criminal justice data.  

“The Oakland My Brother’s Keeper plan puts data front and center,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We govern based on facts and hold ourselves accountable to them. This platform will help partners across the city understand what it takes to win the battle in helping our young men of color succeed and thrive in a community that supports them in achieving their very best.”

“Effective partnerships between community groups, non-profit organizations and citizens of the city depends on trust and understanding the conditions as we currently face them,” said James Head, President & Chief Executive Officer of The East Bay Community Foundation. “This platform will be our tool in supporting conversations around the barriers our young men face, and the barometer of whether we are making progress in our goal of eliminating disparities.”

The goal of the EIP is to ease the burdensome and confusing process of collecting, organizing and presenting local administrative data. The platform will be built to standardize that process, connect information across agencies and make a city’s data come alive. Administrative data is often hard to access and kept in outdated data storage systems. The EIP will create a standard template for feeding in and presenting out the data, and will generate a set of governance guidelines and legal and administrative agreements for localities to use that protect existing privacy rights and local data policies. 

Presenting actionable data for a network of policymakers and service providers to track and report data faster, will enable policy makers and community groups to devise solutions to problems based on clear and current facts, and to make course corrections on policy and reform efforts.

To accomplish this goal, the EIP project seeks to integrate broad baseline data, including city-wide population-level information, and initiative-specific data that reflect outcomes of specific programs.

The baseline data platform will create a standardized data reporting approach, provide attractive visualizations to assist in presenting the information, including geo-spatial visualizations, and offer capacity for city-to-city and city-to-national data comparisons to allow users to understand their own experiences in the context of performance in other cities and to national performance.

“So much knowledge sits untapped in agencies across the city. We are not able to act on that knowledge because we lack systems of understanding to allow the data to be shared safely and securely, in a manner that furthers understanding,” said Linda Gibbs, Principal at Bloomberg Associates and architect of the EIP. “The goal of the EIP is to take the guess work and risk out of data sharing for cities, allowing government officials and community members alike to see the challenges clearly and shape effective solutions to our most challenging problems.”

“The challenges faced by boys and young men of color are complex and structural, and no single organization has a solution with all the answers,” said Blair Taylor, MBK Alliance CEO. “For this reason, MBK Alliance is proud to bring local, country, and state officials, community groups and non-profit organizations together to support tomorrow’s leaders. Under the leadership of Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland’s pilot EIP will assist other cities across the nation in understanding their own circumstances, helping to develop a clearer picture of shared challenges and successes in communities of color.”

“PolicyLink made its foundation here in Oakland, fighting for equity in our own backyard, as we lead the conversation nationally,” said Angela Glover Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer and founder of PolicyLink. “Complimenting tools like the PolicyLink National Equity Atlas, the EIP will further the accumulation of facts we need to tackle persistent disparities across the United States.”

Committed to advancing achievement and opportunity for boys and young men of color, Oakland was one of the first cities to accept the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge,” an initiative announced by the Obama Administration in September 2014, with a goal of addressing opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and improving life outcomes for all young people. The Oakland My Brother’s Keeper plan prioritizes data as one of three key areas of implementation and the City will use the platform to track outcomes and remove roadblocks to achieving education and employment, while also improving outcomes for young men affected by the justice system. They will report the incoming data with the public and also with national partners including MBK Alliance and PolicyLink.

The platform will be built by Washington-based firms ByteCubed and ISL, and will have its first beta test in late 2017. Oakland will pilot the build of the platform starting in summer 2017 to help ensure that it is developed in a way that embodies both public sector and community engagement. This start-up phase of the project is made possible by a grant with the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.. The goal is for every community that accepted the MBK Community Challenge to benefit from the use of the platform and advance national knowledge on outcomes for boys and men of color.

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ABOUT OAKLAND’S MY BROTHER’S KEEPER PLAN

Building on the success of Oakland ‘s long-standing, community-led commitment to ending population disparities and ensuring equity, the City of Oakland was one of the first to accept President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Community Challenge,” an initiative announced in September 2014 to ensure that all youth have opportunities to overcome barriers to success. Led by Mayor Libby Schaaf and President & Chief Executive Officer of The East Bay Community Foundation James Head, the Oakland MBK Plan emphasizes sustainable, impactful collaboration, comprehensive data management and systems change, in addition to the six national MBK Milestones. Read the full Oakland MBK Local Action Plan here.

ABOUT BLOOMBERG ASSOCIATES

Bloomberg Associates is an international consulting service founded by Michael R. Bloomberg as a philanthropic venture to help city governments improve the quality of life of their citizens. The organization specializes in eight strategic disciplines for improving urban environments:  Cultural Assets Management, Marketing and Communications, Media and Digital Strategies, Municipal Integrity, Social Services, Sustainability, Transportation and Urban Planning. For more information on the consultancy, please visit bloombergassociates.org or follow us on Twitter @Bloombergassoc. 

ABOUT POLICYLINK

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate, prosper, and achieve their full potential. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of access to healthy food and physical activity, and engage artists and cultural leaders in these efforts to achieve equity.

ABOUT MBK ALLIANCE 

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) born out of President Obama’s call to action to ensure all of our nation’s boys and young men of color (BYMOC) have equal opportunity to live up to their full potential. In order to improve life outcomes, MBK Alliance works to elevate the voices of our nation’s BYMOC and unite business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community leaders, and youth to impact lasting social change. This collaborative, cross-sectoral movement led by MBK Alliance helps break down barriers that BYMOC disproportionately face and creates pathways to promising futures. For more information visit, mbkalliance.org or @MBK_Alliance