August 5, 2020 | Waldo Jaquith and Divjot Bawa

The database below has been created as a part of an ongoing effort to document examples of intergovernmental shared software. These examples have been produced by a government and both used and contributed to by other governments. This initiative acknowledges, that while the criteria for “contributed to” is, as of yet, undefined (e.g., does a single “commit” count, does the work of any one employee represent that government, etc.), collaboration may occur either in an informal way or may be formalized via, e.g., a non-profit organization with government agencies as members or an interstate compact. While many of the examples provided are from the United States, we also include excellent examples from other countries as well. 

This initiative has been developed through the work of the State Software Collaborative (SSC) which helps states collaboratively build and buy custom software and technical infrastructure, utilize modern software development and procurement practices, and develop shared processes to effectively deploy existing commercial software tools where ultimately, instead of 50 states buying 50 versions of near-identical, overpriced software, states can procure high-quality, fair-priced software just once and share it amongst themselves. With this objective in mind, the SSC believes it is imperative to “think out loud” and share our research as it is underway to not only obtain feedback while it is in progress but also publish and begin circulating this useful data as soon as possible. 

We are actively seeking out additional examples and encourage you to complete the following form if you would like to add to our growing repository. Once received, your submission(s) will be reviewed by the SSC project team and will be marked “Reviewed by the Beeck Center” within the Airtable. Additionally, this dynamic repository has been organized with several descriptors that allow users to easily navigate and sort through the database. If there are additional helpful data-points that you would like for the database to track, please leave us a note in the form.

Related Insights

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Unlocking Local Data

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Unlocking Local Data position is part of our Data + Digital portfolio which includes a number of projects that support better data, design, technology, and innovation practices in government and the public interest fields. This project specifically will involve piloting a new project in three communities to co-create tools built on open civic data to solve problems. The student will support a fellow and project partners in designing the pilot project, coordinating with community and civic participants, and writing about the project. 

At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on the Digital Service Collaborative and its projects, it is important that this work integrates with the Beeck Center’s other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting one (1) Student Analysts to work on the Unlocking Local Data project for 15-20 hours a week. You will work as part of the Beeck Center’s Data + Digital team which includes Director Cori Zarek, Deputy Director Taylor Campbell, and Program Associate Vandhana Ravi.

The Unlocking Local Data Student Analyst will:

  • Support the team to design and coordinate a six-month design sprint (inspired by The Opportunity Project model) where community leaders will work alongside city government partners and private sector technologists to develop tools that put data in the hands of communities to enable their recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Managing coordination with the city government partners, civic organization partners, and company partners who will participate in the sprint.
  • Documenting the process so other cities can replicate and scale this model.

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Digital Service Collaborative project outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks related to the project. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation, digital service delivery, and data for social good is a plus. In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail is a must
  • High level of professionalism is a must
  • Strong technology and digital skills including familiarity with data sets and open government data
  • Prior experience in public, private, and/or nonprofit sectors
  • Project management and coordination skills
  • Experience as a writer or editor is a plus, particularly for communications-based roles
  • Event planning experience is a plus

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Social Safety Net Benefits

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Social Safety Net Benefits position is designed to specifically support two of our Fellows focused on researching and disseminating leading data, design, and technology-enabled approaches that make it easier to deliver social safety net benefits. At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on action-oriented social safety net benefits research, it is important that this work integrates with the Beeck Center’s other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting one (1) Student Analyst to work with Beeck Center’s Fellows, Chad Smith and Sara Soka.

The Student Analyst will support this research and evaluation as follows:

  • Conduct and organize research to inform our reports and recommendations on the growing field of tech-enabled solutions to increase access to safety net benefits.
  • With the Fellows, contribute written content for the reports and recommendations, based on interviews and research.
  • Develop interactive content in the form of presentations, blog posts, announcements, and other formats from the landscape analysis to help raise awareness of the work. 
  • With the Fellows, design, facilitate, and distill sessions to seek feedback and input from the project’s Advisory Working Group (subject matter experts from nonprofits, social benefit organizations, and government agencies at the forefront of modernizing social safety net benefits).
  • With the Fellows, prepare for and begin the next phase of the project, implementing select recommendations with Advisory Working Group members. Tasks involved may vary but will likely include assisting with project planning and grant-writing.

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Safety Net Benefits position outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks, related to the Data + Digital portfolio. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the public sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as civic technology, policy/service research and design, and data for social good is a plus. 

In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail is a must
  • High level of professionalism is a must
  • Strong technological and digital literacy
  • Prior experience as a writer, editor, and/or researcher
  • Prior experience across government, nonprofit, and private sectors
  • Visual design abilities and experience with Adobe Creative Suite is a plus
  • Experience planning/facilitating events and meetings is a plus

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst Sustainable Student Impact

Job Description, Fall 2020 

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Sustainable Student Impact position works closely with the Director of Student Engagement, Matt Fortier and the GU Impacts Program Manager, Franchesca Rybar, to support the Beeck Center’s mandate as a training ground for students through the Sustainable Student Impact (SSI) portfolio. In this role, you will support our team in improving and expanding upon experiential learning, such as with the GU Impacts Fellowship program and the Student Analyst program. You’ll also have the opportunity to support broader impact initiatives at Georgetown and beyond, through open-source programming such as the SSI Project Builder, which provides students with guidance and resources for independent social impact work. Students who are interested in social impact education and professional and personal development will find this to be an invigorating, challenging, and fulfilling experience!

We care deeply about our Student Analysts’ academic, professional, and personal development. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you reflect on your journey into social impact work and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career.

Responsibilities

We are recruiting 1-2 part-time Student Analysts to support our Sustainable Student Impact portfolio. This is a unique opportunity to help execute the Student Analyst Program itself, providing administrative and programmatic support to the full cohort of Student Analysts to enhance their learning experience. Moreover, the Student Analyst(s) will help develop and implement the Fall 2020 student engagement plan, helping the Beeck Center develop an engaging and inclusive suite of fall programming to connect students with our work. Finally, the student analyst(s) will support our new Project Builder, taking it from a pilot phase to a sustainable web platform and collaborating across campus to gain interest and support. Additional support may be needed with our GU Impacts Fellowship program, with details forthcoming as there are current developments within these programs that will impact the exact nature of the work this fall.

 Below is an example of core responsibilities for this position:

  • Provide administrative and programmatic support for the Student Analyst program, assisting the Director of Student Engagement to curate an experience for students that enhances their learning in the social impact space by supporting, co-creating, and proposing programming centered on experiential learning, skill-building, and reflection.
  • Lead planning and facilitation for the Discern + Digest lunch series, cultivating a psychologically safe space where students can engage in reflective and provocative discussions that deepen understanding of self and one’s journey in the social impact space.
  • Conduct program assessment; design surveys, collect data, analyze findings to draw insights and inform program refinements
  • Propose, plan, and lead team-building activities, skill-building workshops, and community partner field trips.
  • Identify resource needs and develop relevant resources to support team-based and self-directed learning and development.
  • Assist in preparing and executing our Fall 2020 back-to-school program and events
  • Identify and cultivate strategic partnership within Georgetown, including student organizations, programs, centers, and faculty

In addition to supporting student engagement programming, primarily around the Student Analyst Program, the Sustainable Student Impact Analyst may also provide additional support to either or both the GU Impacts Fellowship Program and the Project Builder. Below are some brief examples of the type of support that might be needed for these two programs:

 

  • GU Impacts Fellowship Program

 

    • Assist in documenting best-practices on “how to” run an experiential learning program and specifically how GU Impacts operates.
    • Identify resource needs and develop resources to prepare for a 2021 cohort.
    • Analyze existing data to culminate more efficient best practices
    • Ideate scaling of a high-touch program (more details to come)

 

  • Project Builder

 

    • Analyze hard and soft data from pilot summer to implement improvements
    • Gather feedback and impressions from collaborators across campus, integrate feedback into second version
    • Develop marketing and communications around advertising the tool to various student audiences
    • Assist in visualizing a transition from google doc to an interactive web platform

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the SSI portfolio and outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team, including the Data+Digital and Fair Finance portfolios. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications and operational tasks, related to student engagement. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in higher education to prepare students for social impact is a plus. In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

Must Have

  • Strong organizational skills; attention to detail 
  • Project and time management skills
  • High level of professionalism
  • Strong writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills
  • An interest in social impact leadership and education

Nice to Have

  • Experience as a participant in an experiential learning program
  • Previous engagement in Beeck programming, including workshops, events, and programs; GU Impacts alumni strongly encouraged to apply
  • Facilitation experience; ability to facilitate dialogue around challenging issues
  • Event planning experience
  • Strong technology and digital skills
  • Visual design abilities and experience with Adobe Creative Suite
  • Familiarity with social media management & scheduling tools
  • Survey design and analysis; data collection and data analysis 
  • Knowledge and understanding of Georgetown campus, including student organizations, faculty, centers, and programs

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job is essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $15-20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Data + Justice

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Data + Justice position is designed to specifically support one of our Fellows who leads the Data + Justice project in partnership with the Justice Innovation Lab. The Justice Innovation Lab project provides data-driven, evidence-based analysis to prosecutors in order to reduce incarceration and racial disparities and improve effectiveness and fairness of justice in their jurisdictions. 

In this role, you will assist with research, data collection, qualitative interviews, and analysis of criminal justice systems, in particular, the decision-making processes and policies of prosecutors in our pilot jurisdiction. The Student Analyst will participate in interviews of criminal justice system actors (such as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court personnel) and members of the community; will assist with creating and analyzing surveys of criminal justice system actors; will conduct analysis of existing policies, procedures, and relevant state and federal statutes; and assist in the authoring or reports, blog posts, and/or articles.

The Student Analyst will work with Beeck Center Fellow Jared Fishman, the founder of the Justice Innovation Lab (JIL). Prior to founding JIL, Jared Fishman served for 14 years as a federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where he led investigations and prosecutions of complex, high-profile civil rights cases involving police misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking in over 20 jurisdictions across the United States and U.S. Territories. He handled some of the nation’s most significant prosecutions of police misconduct, including the successful prosecution of a South Carolina police officer for fatally shooting unarmed motorist Walter Scott, a case that brought renewed attention to criminal justice reform, and for which Jared received the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s highest award for excellence in advocacy.  

At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on state prosecutors, it is important that this work integrates with the Beeck Center’s other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

The Student Analyst will support this research and evaluation as follows:

  • Research issues related to: organizational culture, prosecutorial decision making, the intersection of data and the criminal justice system, and criminal justice reform
  • Assist in interviewing (note-taking and asking questions) and surveying high-level criminal justice decision-makers, line prosecutors, the defense bar, the court system, and community members
  • Develop organization and case flowcharts documenting processes and procedures in the criminal justice system
  • Collect and analyze data relating to key criminal justice indicators, such as racial disparities in charging, plea offers, and sentences to determine the root causes and drivers of any existing disparities
  • Draft or author articles, social media posts, website content, or other documents related to prosecution and criminal justice reform
  • Assist in the development of a roadmap for prosecutor’s offices to leverage data for issues to improve justice results
  • Participate in and support regularly scheduled conference calls with partners and collaborator

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Justice Innovation Lab and outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks, related to the data collaborative.

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. Background, prior experience or prior course work in criminal law and/or criminal justice is strongly preferred. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation and data for social good is a plus. 

In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail
  • High level of professionalism
  • Prior experience of collecting and analyzing substantive information through oral interviews and surveys
  • Prior experience with data analytics
  • Prior experience working in the criminal justice sector
  • Comfort sharing interim work products, seeking feedback, and working collaboratively
  • Strong technology and digital skills
  • Visual design abilities are a plus
  • Experience as a writer or editor is a plus
  • Event planning experience is a plus
  • Experience with web site coding (HTML and Markdown) is a plus

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

 

APPLY NOW

 

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Public Interest Technology Workforce

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Public Interest Technology Workforce position is part of our Data + Digital portfolio which includes a number of projects that support better data, design, technology, and innovation practices in government and the public interest fields. This project specifically will involve conducting research and making recommendations to support public interest technology workers and professionalization of the broader public interest technology field. 

At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on the Digital Service Collaborative and its projects, it is important that this work integrates with the Beeck Center’s other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting one (1) Student Analysts to work on the Public Interest Technology Workforce project for 15-20 hours a week. You will work as part of the Beeck Center’s Data + Digital team which includes Director Cori Zarek, Deputy Director Taylor Campbell, and Program Associate Vandhana Ravi.

The Public Interest Technology Workforce Student Analyst will:

  • Conduct research to understand the career development needs of those who currently work or are seeking to work in the field of digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation in government and public interest organizations
  • Help identify obstacles and achieved successes in digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation careers in government and public interest organizations
  • Focus on the pathways and placement opportunities for entry-level or early-career workers in this space
  • Draft and edit content including blogs, reports, event materials, and prep materials such as research plans

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Public Interest Technology Workforce project outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks related to the project. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation, digital service delivery, and data for social good is a plus. In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail is a must
  • High level of professionalism is a must
  • Strong technology and digital skills 
  • Prior experience in public, private, and/or nonprofit sectors
  • Project management and coordination skills
  • Familiarity with hiring and onboarding processes
  • Familiarity with career development, training, and skills building practices
  • Experience as a writer or editor is a plus, particularly for communications-based roles
  • Event planning experience is a plus

 ***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Improving Foster Care

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Improving Foster Care position is designed to specifically support one of our Fellows focused on the Improving Foster Care project under the Data + Digital portfolio. At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting one (1) Student Analyst to work with Beeck Center’s Data + Digital Fellow Emily Tavoulareas and project collaborator Marina Nitze, a Public Interest Technology Fellow at New America.

The Child Welfare Playbook is a collection of creative practices that lead to tangible improvements and efficiencies in support of foster children and families, documenting proven best practices that can be easily replicated and scaled by practitioners across the country. These best practices are sourced from, and tested by, members of our Child Welfare Working Group–a growing group of people dedicated to improving how foster care works for children and families. We are looking for someone who can help us manage this growing group of people, and capture the best practices they identify.  

The Student Analyst will support this research and evaluation as follows:

  • Onboard new working group members
  • Schedule monthly working group calls and interviews 
  • Prep and manage the working group calls
  • Take (and share) detailed notes 
  • Analyze interview notes to identify best practices and other patterns
  • Design the working group deck (presentation of themes / patterns / insights from interviews)
  • Build on the playbook, adding new chapters after each month’s working group call

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Improving Foster Care project outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks, related to the data collaborative. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation, innovative social finance, and data for social good is a plus. 

In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail is a must
  • High level of professionalism is a must
  • Strong technology and digital skills, and experience hosting webinars on Zoom is a must.
  • Experience with content strategy and writing for the web is a plus 
  • Visual design abilities and experience with Adobe Creative Suite is a plus
  • Programming skills are a plus
  • Prior experience in public, private, and nonprofit sectors is a plus

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Data + Digital Content

Job Description, Fall 2020

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Data + Digital Content position will include developing content to publicly share the work taking place across our portfolio, which spans 10 different projects led by 15 expert fellows who conduct leading-edge research and convene the public interest technology network to collaborate on solutions and generally build a broader sense of community in the industry. 

At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on the Data + Digital portfolio and its projects, it is important that this work integrates with the work of the full Beeck Center including our communications team and aligns with their strategy for other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting one Student Analyst to work with the Data + Digital portfolio team for 15-20 hours a week. The team includes Director Cori Zarek, Deputy Director Taylor Campbell, and Program Associate Vandhana Ravi.

The Data + Digital Content Student Analyst will work on:

  • Drafting and editing written content to support our projects and fellows including: 
    • Project reports
    • Blog posts 
    • Case studies
    • Social media posts
    • Guides, playbooks, and templates 
  • Conducting interviews and conversations with fellows to be transcribed and translated into shareable content
  • Creating video or other creative content
  • Event prep materials and support
  • Weekly strategy meetings
  • Weekly content briefings

In addition to the specific responsibilities outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation, digital service delivery, and data for social good is a plus. 

In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Excellent writing and editing, including for the web
  • Excellent ability to translate ideas into easily-understandable, shareable messaging and language
  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail
  • High level of professionalism
  • Strong technology and digital skills, and experience working on Zoom
  • Experience with content or communications strategy
  • Visual design, graphic design, web design, layout design, illustration, abilities and experience with Adobe Creative Suite
  • Programming skills

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

** THIS POSITION IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. PLEASE VISIT OUR CAREERS PAGE FOR OTHER OPENINGS **

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

Student Analyst – Digital Service Collaborative

Job Description, Fall 2020 

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center brings together experts and students to surface, accelerate, and scale promising social impact efforts that drive institutional-level change – that to us is impact at scale! These promising efforts are what we call “grasstop” level change in between “grassroot” efforts (such as a disruptive idea or advocacy efforts) and institutional efforts (such as government policy or corporate governance). 

To that end, we’re an experiential action hub at Georgetown University that helps accelerate positive and lasting social change through our projects within two main portfolio areas of fair finance and data + digital tools for the public interest technology community. All of our projects work with thought leaders (fellows) and students (our analysts) that provide an experiential hub to teach our scaling methodology. 

About this position

Student Analysts at the Beeck Center are motivated self-starters looking to drive social change at scale. They are passionate, responsible, detail-oriented, and intellectually curious. As an Analyst, you will be expected to contribute to team efforts, requiring flexibility and a strong work ethic. 

The Student Analyst – Digital Service Collaborative position is part of our Digital Service Collaborative project which focuses on building the network of people working on data, design, technology, and innovation in governments by conducting research, gathering resources, and cultivating community. This includes public interest technology projects that work to improve the social safety net benefits process, to support for new digital service teams at the state and local levels, to researching training curriculum and skills programs that can provide professional development for government digital service professionals. 

At the same time, you are charged to connect this work to the larger Beeck Center portfolio, which is focused on social impact by employing the tools of data, finance, and policy. While this position centers on the Digital Service Collaborative and its projects, it is important that this work integrates with the Beeck Center’s other areas of focus. 

We care deeply about the academic, professional, and personal development of our Student Analysts. The Student Analyst experience centers on experiential learning, where you learn through applying theory to your project-based work at our Center. We complement the experiential learning component with further professional development opportunities, such as conferences and workshops. Finally, you will participate in introspective exercises that are designed to help you discover and design your personal pathway as you embark on your career and (hopefully!) undertake a journey in the social impact space. 

Responsibilities

We are recruiting 1-2 Student Analysts to work with the Digital Service Collaborative team for 15-20 hours a week. The team includes Director Cori Zarek, Deputy Director Taylor Campbell, and Program Associate Vandhana Ravi.

Digital Service Collaborative Student Analysts will work to support multiple Data + Digital portfolio project research tasks including:

  • Desk research, scanning current events, and compiling findings
  • Creating spreadsheets and databases of related project information
  • Drafting research briefings for project teams
  • Facilitating research activities and meetings via virtual platforms (Zoom, Slack, Asana email)
  • Documenting meeting agendas, notes, timelines, and tasks

In addition to the specific responsibilities related to the Digital Service Collaborative project outlined above, Student Analysts will integrate their work with the broader Beeck Center team and portfolio. Moreover, this position will assist with core functions such as communications, synthesis, and operational tasks related to the project. 

Eligibility

You must be a current or incoming undergraduate or graduate student at Georgetown University to apply. This position is the right fit for you if you are looking for a challenge and want to grow professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a strong combination of skills and abilities, with an emphasis on strong writers and students with research and analytical skills and professional workplace experience. Applicants with an interest and experience (related coursework and/or employment) in data, business, and/or finance are encouraged to apply. This position is paid (details below) and students on work-study are encouraged to apply.

The Beeck Center strongly encourages those who hold the following intersecting identities to apply: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

Qualifications

Ideal candidates are comfortable with a start-up work environment and strive to tackle social challenges greater than themselves. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social sector is preferred, but not required. Knowledge of ongoing efforts in areas such as policy innovation, digital service delivery, and data for social good is a plus. 

In addition, the following skills and abilities are desired:

  • Strong organizational, writing, analytical, speaking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail is a must
  • High level of professionalism is a must
  • Strong technology and digital skills
  • Prior experience in public, private, and nonprofit sectors
  • Experience as a writer or editor is a plus, particularly for communications-based roles
  • Event planning experience is a plus

***Positions involve access to confidential material. Discretion, maturity, and confidential management of all incidental information acquired on the job are essential.

Hours and Compensation

During the fall semester, student analysts can work up to 20 hours/week, though typically hours fall in the 10-15 hours/week range. Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of 10 hours per week. Wages for hourly student employees are based on Georgetown University’s Student Employment Office guidelines, starting at minimum wage for undergraduates ($15/hr) and $20/hour for graduates.

To Apply

Please submit your application through this Google Form. Please be sure to upload your (1) resume and (2) a writing sample (both required), as per the instructions of section II of this online application form. 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with final applications due Sunday, August 9 at 9pm. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. We are planning for a start date of September 14, though please note that this may be subject to change and your preferences, as identified in the survey, will be taken into account.

For questions, please check out our FAQ and if you don’t see the answer, you can send questions through our form, here. If you have any specific questions about this position, please contact Vandhana.Ravi@Georgetown.edu.

Location – Remote Work

Please also note that the Fall 2020 Student Analyst Program will take place in a remote and distributed work environment. The Beeck Center’s team, including students, will NOT have an on-campus presence in the fall semester. Applicants should be prepared to work in a remote environment and through this experience, you will learn how to effectively work on a distributed team.

APPLY NOW

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

​The Beeck Center brings together changemakers across multiple sectors and industries with a wide range of skill sets – policymakers, designers, journalists, data scientists, community organizers, technologists, investors, strategic advisors, community development experts – to engage in action-oriented research and dialogue that reimagines how our systems can work towards sustainable social impact. 

 

What is it like to be a fellow at the Beeck Center?

Fellows at the Beeck Center are senior leaders in their field who engage in action-oriented research projects that aim to create a positive social impact at scale. The Center experiments with cutting-edge ideas to shape the way public and private institutions operate and to help them rebuild trust with society. 

Fellows usually conduct research that is connected to a specific project under one of our three portfolios: Data + Digital, Fair Finance, and Sustainable Student Impact. Each fellow works with their portfolio staff and student analysts to produce resources, tools, and events that make research findings actionable. We work in a collaborative, open environment and use our core values to guide the way we approach our projects and team relationships. Our fellowships range from full-time “Resident Fellowships” to part-time and affiliate fellowships, depending on project and portfolio needs. One of the most unique aspects of being a fellow at the Beeck Center is having access to the Georgetown University ecosystem. At the Beeck Center, we sit under the Provost’s Office, which allows us to collaborate with the other academic schools, centers and institutes across Georgetown’s different disciplines and schools as part of Georgetown’s cross-campus Initiative on Tech and Society

 

Do fellows have to be located in Washington, D.C.?

We are a distributed, remote-friendly team and many of our fellows and staff members are not located in Washington, D.C. We rely on tools like Slack, Zoom and Asana to keep in touch with each other and on track with our goals. That said, we do have offices located on Georgetown University’s Main Campus and downtown near the Georgetown Law Center that we encourage all of our fellows to visit and work from alongside our staff and students once campus reopens. Additionally, some roles may require fellows to be based in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

What is the background and experience that a Beeck Center fellow is expected to have?

Our fellows come from a wide range of different backgrounds, experiences and skillsets. Fellowship position requirements are tailored to the specific needs of the project and are detailed in position descriptions.

 

What are a fellow’s responsibilities, apart from conducting research or publishing reports?

Fellows at the Beeck Center join an active, busy Center and their work fits within one of our portfolios which operate as collaborative teams. Our fellows are expected to manage their project timelines and deliverables and routinely report to portfolio staff on their progress. Fellows also engage with their portfolio teams through weekly team meetings and other occasional events, work closely with the Center’s students, staff, and other fellows, and actively contribute to the Center’s events, meetings, publications, and other activities. Fellows are expected to engage with and support the students involved at the Center. We host a range of different events including lunch and learns, professional workshops and a student analyst program that provide avenues for fellows to collaborate with students at the Center. Our fellows are spokespeople for their work as part of the Center and support communications and media outputs for their respective projects, which might include written reports, playbooks, blogs, and social media campaigns.

 

Are Beeck fellows paid? What other benefits are included in a fellowship?

Beeck fellows receive a faculty appointment to Georgetown University. Most fellows are paid, typically through a monthly stipend that correlates to their project work and the amount of time they are committed to the Center. For example, full-time fellows receive a stipend that is commensurate to their experience and the full-time nature of their work. Full-time fellows are also eligible for Georgetown benefits which includes health care. Part-time fellows may be paid a part-time stipend commensurate to their experience and the part-time nature of their work. Part-time fellows are typically not eligible for Georgetown benefits. Affiliate fellows are typically not compensated or eligible for Georgetown benefits.

 

How are fellows funded?

Fellows are typically funded through project-related grants and gifts for the specific project that the fellow will be working on. Some fellows will interact closely with funders depending on the nature of the project and relationship with the funder. This can include project updates as well as additional business development and funding requests or follow-on as deemed appropriate. All interactions would be coordinated with and supported by the portfolio lead and core Beeck Center leadership team. Our current and past funders include: The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Surdna Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and more. 

 

Who can I reach out to for an informational interview or coffee chat?

To ensure that we are conducting a transparent and fair recruitment process for all applicants, we do not schedule meetings outside of the application process.  We make it a point to ensure that our position descriptions are as detailed as possible and provide the general context and background for our work that is needed for a successful application. Position descriptions also list an email address to contact for questions or clarifications about information present in the position descriptions or application forms.

Data is a strategic asset. If it were missing or unavailable, it would severely limit the ability of government to function. Additionally, data has the ability to help government to deliver the types of services expected by the public, to create more effective policy and to operate more efficiently. This is why state governments benefit from having chief data officers. Looking for a model CDO job description, or just a better understanding of what a CDO can do for your state? We’re here to support states in establishing a CDO role. Contact us to get started with your CDO position.

July 16, 2020 | By Saumya Shruti and Shaily Acharya

Small businesses are critical to the U.S. economy: Pre-COVID, they represented 99% of all U.S. firms, generated over 40% of our economic output, and accounted for some of the highest rates of job creation. However, small businesses are facing two critical challenges: recovering from our current, global pandemic, and tackling the longstanding barriers of access to capital related to systemic discrimination that works against entrepreneurs and businesses from historically overlooked and undeserved communities. 

Arguing that “now is the time to re-imagine how we invest into small businesses” and drawing from their previous work together catalyzing investments for underserved communities outside of the U.S., Agnes Dasewicz and Dale Mathias launched a call for creating a new government-funded institution (a U.S. Development Corporation) that would focus on strengthening local economies and small businesses critical to our recovery. 

The Beeck Center kicked-off our new Ideas that Transform series by hosting Agnes and Dale to explore this idea further along with Melissa Bradley, an expert in small and medium business growth, particularly for ‘new majority’ entrepreneurs.

How Would the U.S. Development Corporation Work?     

Tackling the challenges of the current disparate ecosystem, a U.S. Development Corporation (USDC) would drive more private capital to the small businesses and communities here at home that need it the most, focusing on three critical pipelines: 

  1. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs): The CDFI network plays a critical role directing capital to local communities; they need funds to strengthen their systems and operations, and create additional capacity for lending and investments.
  2. Local investment funds (like Bradley’s 1863 Fund): these funds support businesses and entrepreneurs but are often only known in smaller, local circles; the USDC would look to scale these practices to better provide capital to the domestic entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  3. Financial technology (FinTech) firms: known for delivering capital more quickly and using data and AI tools to improve credit risk assessments, the USDC would explore ways to partner with these types of companies to scale up rapid and equitable access to capital while enforcing the necessary guardrails to ensure that the financing is offered on an equitable basis to all communities.

As Dale noted, the current ecosystem of U.S. government programs supporting small businesses is highly fragmented and uncoordinated, like “having a lot of ornaments, but no Christmas tree.” The USDC would connect larger investors to CDFIs, local funds, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, playing a unique role in driving more investment capital to and through trusted intermediaries, creating a more supportive small business ecosystem.

Tackling Systemic Barriers

The recent, high profile financial commitments to support entrepreneurs and small businesses led by Black and Brown leaders,  such as Netflix’s recent $100 million pledge to Black-owned banks, are encouraging, but as Melissa Bradley noted, “you cannot erase 401 years of systemic barriers with the writing of a single check.” To truly remove these barriers, there must be a commitment to difficult conversations between all types of actors in the financial field. 

Even with these barriers, new majority entrepreneurs have been the most dynamic and efficient job creators in the U.S. Minority entrepreneurs created 4.7 million jobs in the last decade. Almost 2,000 women-owned businesses were launched every day in 2018 and women of color founded 64% of all new businesses. In light of the loss of jobs and economic growth caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the recovery of these businesses is critical to the revival of our economy.

The USDC can play an important role as an investor, catalyst and connector directly supporting, and providing incentives for private investors to support “new majority” businesses and those who invest in them.  With a priority focus on developing and supporting ecosystems that focus on underserved entrepreneurs, USDC can drive towards systemic change in racial and gender equity in the financial space. A USDC acknowledges that local communities do have the knowledge and ability to create their own solutions that take into account their unique contexts and economic activity. Thus the USDC will work within local contexts and networks rather than advocating one-size-fits-all solutions, which has been a philosophical barrier in the past.  

A Call to Action

As the ideas for a USDC continue to develop, our panelists expressed their commitment to “continue the drumbeat” on the importance of small businesses to our communities and our country, and encouraged each of us to get involved in a number of ways:

  • Contact your congressional representative and senator to emphasize the importance of investing in small businesses, especially those led by women and people of color, and communicate the urgent need for systemic solutions for small business support – and not just relief packages – to help revive our economy. 
  • Reach out to Agnes to share any people or organizations interested in or doing similar work on small businesses with whom they might collaborate; Agnes and Dale are both committed to expanding their outreach and pushing this idea forward.
  • Collect + share data on businesses led by women and people of color, and the value of their businesses to the U.S. economy (Melissa Bradley is committed to doing this work). Data needs to drive decisions and the research on these businesses is scarce yet necessary.
  • Change the narrative about the potential of businesses led by women and people of color. These firms are creating millions of jobs and are critical to the health of our country and rebuilding our economy. Publishing and speaking about the importance of these entrepreneurs is key to changing the narrative (and continue to support your local businesses as consumers and investors).

This is just the beginning of the conversation and there are many more great ideas out there. Join us August 18 at noon ET, for our next Ideas That Transform event where we’ll discuss Shifting Power From Investors To Communities. And be sure to check #BeeckIdeas on Twitter every Tuesday at noon where we’ll share a thought prompt to foster conversation.


Stay connected to the Beeck Center

Sign up for our newsletter and get regular updates on what’s happening at the Center, news about our portfolio interests, social impact job opportunities and more!

sign up now button


 

Public Interest Technology Workforce Fellow

Beeck Center’s Digital Service Collaborative

The Beeck Center strongly encourages all people to apply (please circulate widely), especially those who hold the following intersecting identities: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

If you have any questions about this fellowship’s objectives, requirements, and/or language used in this job description, please email Vandhana Ravi at vr381@georgetown.edu. If you have questions about what it’s like to be a fellow at the Beeck Center, visit the Fellowship FAQ page.

In recent years, governments have increasingly begun approaching service delivery with modern technology, software development, and service design principles. This has led to creation of digital teams in government as well as the need to designate specialized technologists to carry out the work, such as software developers, human-centered designers, user-experience researchers, and data scientists.

Because these teams and workers are still quite new to government, and the field of digital services or public interest technology is still relatively new overall, there are limited professional resources for workers and limited capacity for governments to meet their needs. For example, most U.S. government offices do not presently have standardized roles, position descriptions, career ladders, and training for digital service workers, and while there are some established professional associations or  activities outside the government, most aren’t currently designed for public interest technology workers.

To better understand the opportunity space including existing research and resources as well as gaps where solutions could be created, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, through the Digital Service Collaborative, is hiring a full-time researcher to conduct research and make recommendations to support public interest technology workers and professionalization of the broader public interest technology field. This work is funded by The Rockefeller Foundation and in partnership with the AGL Association, an emerging organization to support government public interest technology professionals.

Objective

The fellow will work to design and execute an action-oriented research project to:

  • Better understand the career development needs of those who currently work or are seeking to work in the field of digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation in government
  • Identify obstacles and achieved successes in digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation careers in government
  • Explore opportunities to formalize the delivery of career development resources in partnership with the AGL Association’s staff and board of directors

Scope of work

This action-oriented research project will be designed in partnership with Cori Zarek and Taylor Campbell, the Director and Deputy Director of the Data + Digital portfolio at the Beeck Center. The fellow will also work closely with the team at the AGL Association, including Aaron Pava

The fellow will be responsible for:

  • Defining research processes, methods, and outputs in partnership with the Beeck Center and AGL Association
  • Anticipating and managing risks, including methodological and ethical risks and organizational and logistical challenges 
  • Ensuring the collection and proper management of sufficient and appropriate data for analysis 
  • Selecting, working with, and managing student analysts hired to support the project
  • Drafting and editing content in partnership with the Beeck Center and AGL Association
  • Producing research outputs and deliverables as assigned
  • Communicating with key Beeck Center and AGL staff around updates, coordination points, and reporting expectations.

The Beeck Center will be responsible for:

  • Supporting the researchers as they identify sources for consultations and information gathering
  • Logistical and administrative support for project organization and events
  • Providing student analyst support to assist the fellow
  • Publishing research outputs and deliverables from the Beeck Center at Georgetown University and, as appropriate, with the AGL Association
  • Facilitating broader Georgetown University coordination efforts as part of the larger Initiative for Technology and Society

Outputs and deliverables will be determined between the Beeck Center, AGL Association, and the fellow based on recommendations made after initial fact finding. Those deliverables are likely to include:

  • A written report, in the style of a case study, white paper, or policy brief 
  • 2-3 blog posts documenting digital transformation processes and recommendations 
  • 2-3 ad hoc outputs, such as podcast interviews, conference presentations, slide decks, or large-scale convenings, webinars, as appropriate and as agreed

Fellow Qualifications 

The following qualifications are required:

  • Experience working in government digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation
  • Demonstrated ability to produce research outputs in multiple formats and to tailor writing to multiple audiences 
  • Seeking out or being the representative public voice/advocate for the sustained career development of employees in government
  • Experience managing, delegating to, and mentoring junior-level support staff
  • Experience working with students and a commitment to promote their contributions and uplift their skills
  • Build relationships and initiate activities across stakeholder organizations and  individuals

In addition, the following qualifications are desirable:

  • Familiarity with hiring, human resources, management and leadership in government
  • Experience with human-centered design or user research
  • Experience at multiple levels levels of government and an understanding of how the needs and opportunities might vary across each

Salary, Benefits, and Employment Term

The fellow role is a nine-month appointment at Georgetown University. The stipend band for this fellowship is $80,000-$100,000, commensurate with experience, and includes full benefits. The fellowship period is for nine months from the start date, which is expected to begin September 2020, and the stipend will be paid monthly. There is no guarantee of continued employment beyond the nine-month appointment.

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

APPLY NOW!

Unlocking Local Data Fellow


Beeck Center’s Digital Service Collaborative

The Beeck Center strongly encourages all people to apply (please circulate widely), especially those who hold the following intersecting identities: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.

If you have any questions about this fellowship’s objectives, requirements, and/or language used in this job description, please email Vandhana Ravi at vr381@georgetown.edu. If you have questions about what it’s like to be a fellow at the Beeck Center, visit the Fellowship FAQ page.

City residents best know their communities and the problems they face. When empowered, they can readily identify solutions that, if they existed, could improve life for them and their neighbors. Additionally, city governments have data that could turbocharge those solutions, but most residents don’t know where to find that data or how to use it. Conversely, government data leaders know their data well — including how it might help solve problems — but typically do not engage community residents in co-creation or problem-solving. Instead, they identify datasets they believe are valuable, open that data, and hope it will be used — often resulting in low utilization. 

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, through the Digital Service Collaborative, is hiring a full-time fellow to lead a project that will support communities by co-creating tools that run on open data to solve problems. Especially as COVID-19 causes governments to rethink priorities and ways of working, we believe that co-creating data-driven solutions to address community problems — with a focus on equity and trust-building — will give cities new skills and tools for problem-solving with limited resources. This work is in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact, a not-for-profit that works with governments, public servants, and other changemakers to reimagine government.

Objective

The fellow will work to design and execute an action-oriented research project to:

  • Launch and manage a six-month design sprint (inspired by The Opportunity Project model) where community leaders will work alongside city government partners and private sector technologists to develop tools that put data in the hands of communities to enable their recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Plan and manage virtual demo days where tools and platforms developed by participating cities are shared with the general public and other interested cities that can replicate and scale the solutions.
  • Document program insights and solutions created and associated development costs for a microsite that will feature program content and an open-source toolkit that other cities can use to replicate solutions.

Scope of work

This project will be designed in partnership with Cori Zarek and Taylor Campbell, the Director and Deputy Director of the Beeck Center’s Data + Digital portfolio. The fellow will also work closely with the team at the Centre for Public Impact, including Dan Vogel and Josh Sorin.  

Outputs and deliverables will be determined between the Beeck Center, Centre for Public Impact, and the fellow based on recommendations made after initial landscaping. Those deliverables are likely to include:

  • Products: Leading the launch of minimum viable products that address a pressing issue related to COVID-19 in 3-5 cities 
  • Capability Building: Designing programs and partnerships for local government practitioners to build core capabilities in open data and human-centered design.
  • Documentation: Developing and disseminating an open-source toolkit for other cities to learn from and replicate the work done by the Knight cities through this program. 

The fellow will be responsible for:

  • Designing the sprint process, methods, and outputs in partnership with the Beeck Center and Centre for Public Impact
  • Leading coordination with the city government partners, civic organization partners, and company partners who will participate in the sprint
  • Coaching the partners on leveraging open data to achieve civic goals
  • Advising partners as they develop prototype tools, and testing those tools up through the demo day
  • Coordinating and executing the virtual demo day event
  • Documenting the process so other cities can replicate and scale this model

This will also include:

  • Anticipating and managing risks, including methodological and ethical risks and organizational and logistical challenges 
  • Ensuring the collection and proper management of sufficient and appropriate data for analysis 
  • Selecting, working with, and managing student analysts hired to support the project
  • Drafting and editing content in partnership with the Beeck Center and the Centre for Public Impact
  • Communicating with key Beeck Center and Centre for Public Impact staff around updates, coordination points, and reporting expectations.

The Beeck Center will be responsible for:

  • Supporting the fellow as they design the sprint, coordinate with partners, and carry out the project
  • Logistical and administrative support for project organization and events
  • Hiring student analyst support to assist the fellow
  • Publishing research outputs and deliverables from the Beeck Center at Georgetown University and, as appropriate, with the Centre for Public Impact
  • Facilitating broader Georgetown University coordination efforts as part of the larger Initiative for Technology and Society

Fellow Qualifications 

The following qualifications are required:

  • Expertise in open data, including designing technology tools or platforms powered by open data
  • Experience working in or with local government and an understanding of their data needs and opportunities.
  • Experience working in general government digital service, data, design, technology and/or innovation
  • Seeking out or being the representative public voice or advocate for the co-creation of data solutions between local government and the communities they serve.
  • Experience managing, delegating to, and mentoring junior-level support staff
  • Experience working with students and a commitment to promote their contributions and uplift their skills
  • Experience building relationships and initiate activities across stakeholder organizations and  individuals

In addition, the following qualifications are desirable:

  • Experience in community organizing and development.
  • Experience with human-centered design or user research
  • Demonstrated ability to produce research outputs in multiple formats and to tailor writing to multiple audiences 

Salary, Benefits, and Employment Term

The fellow role is a nine-month appointment at Georgetown University. The stipend band for this fellowship is $80,000-$100,000, commensurate with experience, and includes full benefits. The fellowship period is for nine months from the start date, which is expected to begin September 2020, and the stipend will be paid monthly. There is no guarantee of continued employment beyond the nine-month appointment.

Needs Assistance

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please click here for more information, or contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at 202-687-4798 or ideaa@georgetown.edu.

Need some assistance with the application process? Please call 202-687-2500. For more information about the suite of benefits, professional development and community involvement opportunities that make up Georgetown’s commitment to its employees, please visit the Georgetown Works website.

EEO Statement

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

APPLY NOW!

May 15, 2020 | By Nate Wong and Audrey Voorhees

Nearly two months into quarantine, we’re seeing a shift in tone of company press releases from generic COVID-19 responses to something different. Beyond donations to relief and assistance, Target is investing over $300 million in employees with added wages, paid leave, and back-up childcare. Intel granted researchers and scientists open access to its global IP portfolio to pursue an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Actions like these no longer seem like window-dressing, but deeper commitments which may signal how some companies see themselves in a post-pandemic world. 

A newer model of capitalism is emerging– acknowledging that “companies, workers, customers and communities are the engines for achieving success,” says Kavya Vaghul from non-profit JUST Capital. Real commitments to positive social impact are taking center stage as leaders know publicity ploys alone will not attract customers, and certainly won’t keep existing employees or their supplier base safe and healthy. COVID-19 is a litmus test for corporate leaders to think beyond maximizing profit and instead reimagine their relationships with workers, communities, and natural systems. Reimagining will require hard-wiring and building impact into their DNA, not just tinkering on the edges of CSR or marketing. 

Enter born-socials with a playbook

Thankfully, a playbook for this new model of capitalism exists. “Born-social” companies put impact into everything they do, and model how to improve social and environmental outcomes while turning a profit. Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s committed to community-oriented principles early. Warby Parker and Bombas embedded impact through non-profit partnerships. As corporate leaders make the shift from COVID-19 triage to strategic scenario planning, they should be intentional about how they re-form their corporate purpose, taking lessons from their “born-social” peers. 

(Re)define what truly matters and measure it. Born-social companies set clear environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals alongside financial metrics. Sustainable footwear startup Allbirds’ includes carbon as an expense line item on the balance sheet, helping the company reach carbon neutrality before any corporates pledged to do so. Allbirds also plans to reduce the carbon footprint of each shoe produced by investing a portion of the $75M raised in their most recent funding round in regenerative agriculture for raw materials. Prioritizing environmental goals may reduce Allbirds’ profits in the short-term, but it will pay off as they scale a sustainable supply chain that supports their competitive advantage. Even in a constantly changing environment like now, ESG measures can be dynamic in a time of COVID-19. 

Create a stakeholder governance structure to “bake” it in. Leaders both loathe and respect governance. Its true value comes from how these structures help guide decision-making toward shared goals. The B Corp certification provides structure for born-social companies to demonstrate their commitment to creating public benefit and sustainable value for consumers, employees, and investors. Now, with over 3,000 certified B Corporation companies across 70 countries and 150 industries, these born-social companies have tied social and environmental performance to how they make decisions, who’s involved, and how they report it. Others created their own internal structures. Airbnb recently added a new Chief Stakeholder Officer role to execute its commitment to stakeholders in an effort to tie the company to specific principles, for example linking its compensation structure to guest safety and strengthening communities. As COVID-19 ushers in a surge of voluntary executive pay cuts, there’s an opportunity moving forward to better align compensation and incentives with holistic performance rather than stock price

Bring your entire supply chain into the picture. Born-social companies know that each link of their value chain is critical for their long-term success. Sweetgreen carved a fast-casual niche by building a transparent “farm-to-table” supplier network. Rather than just an RFP process, Sweetgreen sees sourcing as long-term partnerships that allow customers to trace back their foods to the farm it was sourced. As this pandemic has made clear, supply chains are inherently linked. Unilever set aside over $500 million for early payment to small and medium-sized suppliers and extended credit to small-scale retailers, reinforcing their long-term value to their operations.


Related Links


Not why, not how… but when

As corporate executives reckon with complex future demands, the question is no longer why value a stakeholder lens (last year’s Business Roundtable corporate purpose statement made that clear). And as the examples above highlight, it can no longer be a question of how to do it. Born-social companies are raising the bar for improving society while turning a profit. It’s just a question of when others will catch up. 

Successful corporate leaders see their actions today as a way to lay the groundwork for tomorrow. These vanguards will use this pandemic to re-tool how they treat their employees, work with community partners, create a resilient supply chain, and source in a regenerative manner. When we emerge on the other side of COVID-19, most if not all companies will need to embed social impact into their ethos to thrive. They will value stakeholders and measure their financial and non-financial performance. Leaders will re-form their corporate governance structure to align compensation with these new performance measures, emphasizing pay equity. Companies will integrate their supply chain more fully into their business with a sustainability-lens, including disaster response and continuity. Let’s start now. A more resilient and inclusive economy depends on it.

Nate Wong leads the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University. He previously helped launch social impact units at Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte Consulting LLP and is passionate about using business assets for the greater good. @NathanielKWong

Audrey Voorhees is a 2020 MBA Candidate at Georgetown University with a focus on private sector social and environmental impact who is passionate about designing innovative solutions across public, private, and social sectors. @VoorheesAudrey

May 11, 2020 | By Alberto Rodríguez Álvarez, Dana Chisnell and Vivian Graubard 

Policymakers, lawmakers, and government leaders are increasingly exploring new ways to ensure that laws and policies are centered around people’s needs while improving how services are delivered to the public. In Mobile, Alabama, community involvement informed updates to blight reduction laws and, at the national level, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services worked directly with doctors and healthcare workers to improve the implementation and delivery of a new value-based healthcare law. 

To help policymakers interested in following these successful models, we are launching the first tool of the Delivering Better Outcomes Working Group from the Beeck Center, New America, and the National Conference on Citizenship: a User-Centered Policy Organization Assessment. It is our hope that teams crafting policy inside and outside government will use the assessment to center their policy-making activities around the people — or users — most impacted by their proposed programs and policy ideas.

In recent months, scholarship has emerged to explain and illustrate user-centered policymaking as a more effective and inclusive approach to crafting policy. At Harvard University, Nick Sinai, David Leftwich, and Ben McGuire examined human-centered policymaking in the context of medicare. Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs offers a graduate course to teach the concept. Code for America’s Jennifer Pahlka published a paper on delivery-driven policy, and the Public Interest Technology team at New America used a human centered design process to generate recommendations for the Farm Bill, adopted in 2018. Government organizations like the U.S. Digital Service and the UK government have been applying design thinking to policymaking and policy implementation as well, prioritizing agile and iterative methodology rather than the more traditional “waterfall” method of designing, building, and executing a policy without pausing for public input and pivots where needed.

Experienced design practitioners inherently employ user-centered methodology in their work, but newcomers may not know where to begin. This tool builds on the existing case studies, reports, and blogs, and gives policymakers actionable, concrete steps to shift their current approach slightly and put users at the center. We learned that the concept of user-centered policy making sounds great to many government leaders and this tool helps them know how and where to start.

There are some natural synergies between the policy design processes and human centered design practices. Grassroots organizers, for example, have long understood the importance of understanding the needs of communities at a human level. With this tool, policy teams can start to expand their outreach beyond experts and community organizations to reach people everywhere.  

This assessment provides public servants with a set of guiding questions that are designed to help teams understand the people who receive government services or benefits, the stakeholders involved in the policy, and the metrics that are being used to define success and measure progress. 

To create this tool, we started with a working group of more than 20 current and former policy makers — some were traditional subject-matter expert policy professionals, others were leaders in government technology, and some had specific design training and expertise. Most worked in the executive branches of their governments and some had legislative experience as well. We interviewed members from this working group between August and October 2019 to better understand their expert take on user-centered policymaking. 

The concept of user-centered policy is still being defined by a wide community of policy makers, designers, and innovators. The Deliver Better Outcomes working group landed on this definition: policy that is intentionally designed and implemented with the end user as a co-designer. In our project, end users are the people who receive a government service or benefit, or that are impacted by a specific policy. That makes users the ultimate experts on what the experience of interacting with the government is like. Our theory is that centering the policymaking process on these end users’ needs and including them directly in the policy design process produces better results, increases trust, and ensures that policies reach their intended outcomes with as few unintentional consequences as possible.

We created the User-Centered Policy Organization Assessment to foster more user-centered policies in government. This project is part of the Digital Service Collaborative at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, which is strengthening the network of data and digital professionals in government through action-oriented research, tangible resources, and user-centered policies that can be shared and scaled throughout the network. 

This assessment tool is being tested now by members of the Deliver Better Outcomes working group in their policy processes. In true agile form, we will take what they learn to continue iterating on our tool. If you test it out in your own work, we want to hear about it so we can continue making improvements and providing useful resources.

Alberto Rodríguez Álvarez is a Beeck Center Student Analyst currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Beeck Center he was an advisor to the National Digital Strategy at the Office of the President in Mexico. Follow him at @arodalv.

Dana Chisnell is a founder-partner at Project Redesign at NCoC.org, co-founder of the Center for Civic Design and served as a “generalist problem solver” for the United States Digital Service in the White House. Follow her at @danachis. 

Vivian Graubard is the Senior Advisor for Public Interest Technology at New America. Prior to joining New America, Graubard worked at the White House under President Obama where she was a founding member of the United States Digital Service and also served as a senior advisor and chief of staff to the United States Chief Technology Officer.

April 2, 2020 | By Kyla Fullenwider

In the midst of the pandemic responding to the Census from home has never been more important.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, our everyday lives have been interrupted in ways that most of us have never experienced before. And as we all rush to respond through physical distancing and other means, government services and their day-to-day functions must carry on, adjusted and sometimes delayed, but not cancelled. Our trash is still being picked up, the United States Postal Service continues to deliver our mail, and the Census — America’s largest non-wartime mobilization — will continue its mission to count everyone in the nation.

As the former Chief Innovation Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau, I understand that the 2020 Census may feel less urgent than trash collection or mail delivery, but I also know census data impacts how our country operates every day. Census data are used broadly and throughout government, determining how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and how more than $800 billion in federal funding is distributed annually for critical infrastructure including hospitals, roads, schools and social safety net programs. This includes funds for emergency preparedness and disaster response, programs we’re seeing on the front lines now. The census you filled out ten years ago is shaping the coronavirus crisis response right now, in real time, because we need an accurate population count to know how and where to distribute federal dollars.

Our civil servants are doing heroic work in this unprecedented time, and they need all of us to step up and do what we can — filling out the Census is an urgent, important way to do your part. The good news is that it’s easy to participate, and people are. According to the Census Bureau’s real time response rate map nearly one in three households have already responded online or by phone. However, response is below where it was at this time in 2010 and average daily increases in response rates are lagging. And the Census still needs to send hundreds of thousands of employees across the country to knock on doors of households that don’t self-respond. In an age of social distancing, this is not only a challenge, but it is counter to the recommendations of public health experts. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau has hit pause, delaying its door-to-door operations.

This is why it’s never been more important to respond early and on your own: we need to maximize self-response to minimize interaction. The more of us who respond now, the fewer home visits the Census Bureau will need to make, and consequently, fewer in-person interactions as we all work to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

So how can you help?

First, stay home and take the Census. Just as we’re discovering new ways to stay connected with FaceTime, Zoom and Skype, the Census Bureau is deploying new technology that will make it easier for everyone to respond from the comfort of their own home. This year’s “digital first” Census is the first time the US Census Bureau is asking the vast majority of us to respond online at 2020census.govNot keen on the internet or have connectivity issues? That’s ok. Use the phone option instead — the Census Bureau is providing support in 15 languages. And if you prefer to respond by mail, that’s ok too.

Second, commit to reminding at least ten of your family, friends, and community members to respond. In a period when trust in the federal government is at historic lows, research shows the most “trusted voices” are the ones you know. Importantly, in a sea of misinformation you can share trusted resources such as this one from the Census Bureau. And remember the rule of ten: The Census is ten questions, takes about ten minutes, and impacts ten years.

Finally, share why the Census matters across your networks online. While it may not feel urgent in the middle of a global pandemic, now is the perfect time to show why facts and data matter both in responding to crises and in informing everyday life.

In my time at the U.S. Census Bureau, I worked alongside some of the most dedicated civil servants in our country. The statisticians, data scientists, and field workers, care deeply about a complete and accurate count and have been meticulously planning for years to ensure we are all counted in this year’s census. But as this moment is reminding all of us: even the best laid plans often go awry. The Census has been conducted in challenging circumstances across its 230-year history- on horseback, during war time, in hurricanes, and now, in the midst of a pandemic. I’m confident that we will get through this and we will get it through it together.

As we continue to see an incredible outpouring of civic spirit and activity across the country in response to this crisis, remember that your country and your community needs you to stay home, and to take the Census.

To learn more about how the Census is responding to COVID-19 : https://2020census.gov/en/news-events/press-kits/covid-19.html

Jameela Sylla | March 2, 2020

What did participation in the 2020 Yale Black Solidarity Conference teach me about systems level impact? 

When I think about my ancestors and how they worked together to advocate for access to higher and equal education, it becomes surreal to realize I am part of the impact that they wanted for minority groups. I carry along that impact and now take advantage of the opportunities and blessings made available to me. Changing systems isn’t easy, and as a participant in the 2020 Yale Black Solidarity Conference, I’ve expanded my knowledge on how to generate systems level impact. 

Jameela with her 2020 class

The first conversation centered on the “Intersectionality in Activism,” which really resonated with me as a Black woman. Activist Carmen Perez highlighted that because she gained access to higher education, she became equipped with not only the knowledge but the skills and passion necessary to be the best leader she can be.  

In terms of activism and organizing, intersectional feminism requires collaboration and empathy to foster change in a system that denies women (specifically, women of color) equality. A remarkable quote that stuck with me was “when you see your liberation bound in someone else, then organize with them because activism is about collective power.” Perez’s bravery and collective work as one of the leaders of the Women’s March made me realize that a system level impact cannot be done alone and how important unity is. A second conversation was “Organizing Protests in the Face of Resistance,” where a student, an organizer, and an attorney worked to advocate for Black lives in Connecticut. They talked about the lives that have been degraded, mistreated, and lost to a brutal system that is often at odds with their livelihoods. Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes, it is crucial that activists of different professions partner together to change systems for justice, and fix the parts of the legal system that disproportionately targets Black bodies. 

Speaking on legends such as Thurgood Marshall, who made a great impact in the Supreme Court, and cases like Graham v. Connor, that ruled law enforcement must be able to point to objectively reasonable facts that justify their use of excessive force, further put into the perspective how we can make a systems level impact. This level of change needs to be brought to life not only in the streets during protests but also in the legal justice system. Oppression can foster internalized discouragement and defeat. Despite this, I know that systems level change and impact can be brought to fruition within communities, which is crucially necessary and powerful. The conference was eye-opening, empowering, and encouraging in terms of bringing to light how much power I have to unite and uplift my community.

Jameela with Activist, Carmen Perez and Classmates

February 24, 2020 | By Matt Fortier

Students today have myriad job opportunities presented to them: work in the library, the dorms, or a local retail outlet. Others choose internships (paid or not) in their chosen future industry. But what if you have higher goals? What if you want to make an impact on society? What if you want to dive deeper into your own motivations? We’ve got you covered, and today, we open applications for the Summer 2020 Student Analyst program. 

About a dozen undergraduates and graduates, from both our home here at Georgetown and schools across the nation, will get more than the typical summer job experience because we hold the deep conviction that they’re more than employees – they’re the future of social impact leadership. 

Interested? Read the Job Descriptions and Apply

In fulfilling our mission as a training ground for students and preparing students for leadership in the social impact space, we center our approach on experiential learning. Student analysts gain hands-on experience supporting projects across our Fair Finance, Data + Digital, and Sustainable Student Impact portfolios, learning by doing and applying theoretical concepts to real-world problems. What sets the Student Analyst program apart is that in addition to gaining direct experience tackling social impact projects, we accompany students on their social impact journey through fostering reflection and cultivating mutual investment. Let’s explore how this is achieved. 

A key feature of the program is the creation of a Mutual Development Agreement, where students identify 2-3 learning and development goals they wish to achieve over the course of their semester at the Beeck Center, connecting them to their project and portfolio’s broader goals. The process is iterative, with the analyst and their supervisor working to identify not only the appropriate goals for the semester, but also the responsibilities of both the student and supervisor in meeting each goal. For example, Casey Doherty (College ‘20), works with me to support our Social Impact Navigator. She set the goal of improved communication through different mediums and for different audiences (the Navigator calls this Influential Communication & Collaboration). To help her reach that goal, I provided her with relevant opportunities while developing additional resources to enhance her abilities. For example, we’ve designed a Social Impact Storytelling workshop for this spring, to guide students on how to break from their usual academic style. 


Student Analysts in Action

Read first-hand reports from our student analysts on the work they’ve done.


Another aspect of the program that sets us apart from any old job, is that we provide workshops and team-building activities throughout the semester. In addition to our upcoming Social Impact Storytelling workshop, we’ll also be hosting a training session with Data + Digital Fellow Denice Ross giving students practical skills for creating and leveraging a LinkedIn profile, and navigating formal and informal networking opportunities. The Center’s open workspace serves as a great starting place for such a network, as students develop lasting relationships through team-building activities such as a National Archives field trip and kayaking on the Potomac. 

We encourage students to break down silos and bridge gaps through our Discern + Digest series, where students grapple with challenging questions and strive to discover their personal role in working towards the common good. This weekly series provides students an important opportunity to step back from their daily work activities and gain perspective on their actions through reflection and discernment. Given the busy lives we all lead – all too true at a place like Georgetown – putting away laptops and phones (D+D is a technology free zone) and talking through questions about identity, personal responsibility, personal motivation, and self-care, is incredibly valuable. Moreover, Discern + Digest helps students become comfortable not necessarily solving thorny questions, but rather unraveling them, leaving space for silence, discomfort, and uncertainty.

I’ve written this blog in conjunction with the Summer 2020 Student Analyst Program application launch because we hope to attract students who are interested in social impact, who want to apply themselves to our work, and with whom this concept of “more than just a job” resonates. We want to attract students interested in gaining skills for social impact leadership and developing a mindset that embraces reflection and is motivated towards the common good. For students thinking about their role in the greater social impact space and who are ready to immerse themselves in a unique learning opportunity while taking risks and being challenged, we look forward to seeing your applications and getting to know you this spring! 

Excited by this opportunity? APPLY NOW

January 14, 2020 | By Matt Fortier

We’re excited to announce the Spring 2020 Student Analyst Cohort. They will play a critical role as they both learn about and contribute towards the Beeck Center’s mission of creating systems-level change for social impact. This semester’s cohort welcomes back seven analysts from previous semesters while introducing six new students. 

“The Beeck Center helps students expand their idea of what social impact opportunities look like, which is so important when considering future career paths.”

– Casey Doherty, College ’20

Every semester, Student Analysts work across our different portfolios: Fair Finance, Data + Digital, and Sustainable Student Impact, while helping us explore new areas of work such as Corporate Social Impact. The analysts take on key roles across the team, contributing new ideas, conducting research, managing projects, and supporting our operations, much of which you can see in our Student Analyst Capstone Showcase.

Our Student Analyst program embraces an experiential learning model where students learn to tackle real world problems in the social impact space, put theory to practice and work alongside staff and fellows, including seasoned social impact practitioners. This model is enhanced through a variety of programming, from skills-based workshops on public speaking and dialogue facilitation, to thought-provoking conversations in our Discern + Digest lunch series. Our goal is to provide a holistic education in social impact that enables students to develop their skills for social impact leadership and propel them towards a career that contributes towards the common good, in the spirit of Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition. 

“The Beeck Center does some of the most forward thinking and fascinating work on campus, and I’m so excited to join the center’s efforts. I find their approach of using the intersection of technology and social impact to inspire large scale social change both innovative and effective!

– Saumya Shruti, College ’20

To tackle the most complex challenges of our time, we require an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approach. The 2020 cohort includes undergraduate and graduate students from six Georgetown schools and an even greater variety of majors, interests, and experiences. This rich diversity of skills and perspectives makes our Center stronger and creates an ideal learning environment in which we learn from each other as well as from the work itself. 

Students are a key audience of our work as we seek to develop future leaders for social impact. If you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute to the common good and learn about a cross-disciplinary approach to driving systems-level change for social impact, we invite you to engage with us and our work. Career opportunities with the Beeck Center can be found here and Student Analyst opportunities for Summer 2020 will open in February, so stay tuned! 

Below you’ll find some quick statistics on the 2020 Spring Student Analyst Cohort.

First Name Last Name Graduate Level Year of Graduation School Major(s) Minor(s) Hometown Portfolio Focus
Cristina Alaniz-Ramirez Graduate 2021 American University School of International Service (SIS) Ethics, Peace and Human Rights : Concentration: International Economic Affairs N/A Brownsville, Texas Fair Finance
Tyler Yat Long Chan Undergraduate 2021 COL Economics Sociology/Asian Studies Las Vegas, NV Fair Finance
Casey Doherty Undergraduate 2020 College Government and American Studies n/a Charlton, NY Student Engagement
Elaina Faust Graduate 2021 School of Foreign Service Global Human Development Social Innovation and Global Development Southborough, MA Data + Digital
Forrest Gertin Undergraduate 2020 SFS International Political Economy French Rochester, NY Student Engagement
Hayley Pontia Graduate 2020 Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Communication, Culture, and Technology NA Pittsburgh, PA Data + Digital
Justus Pugh Undergraduate 2020 MSB Marketing N/A Chicago Student Engagement
Taylor Savell Undergraduate 2020 School of Foreign Service International Politics Spanish; Economics Nashville, TN Data + Digital
Saumya Shruti Undergraduate 2020 COL Government, Philosophy N/A San Ramon Fair Finance
Cameron Smith Undergraduate 2020 College Computer Science N/A Saratoga Springs Data + Digital
Donovan Taylor Undergraduate 2020 McDonough School of Business International Business and Management n/a Baltimore Fair Finance
Audrey Voorhees Graduate 2020 Georgetown Business Administration Social Entrepreneurship Des Moines, IOWA Corporate Impact
Tongxin Zhu Graduate 2020 McCourt School of Public Policy MPP N/A Guangdong, China Fair Finance

Stay connected to the Beeck Center.

Sign up for our newsletter and get regular updates on what’s happening at the Center, news about our portfolio interests, social impact job opportunities and more!

sign up now button


 

September 2019

We are well into the fall semester here at the Beeck Center and we are grateful to our six student analysts who spent their summer with us for all of the energy, passion and thoughtfulness that they put into the Data + Digital Portfolio. From their first explorations of the digital government space to becoming active participants in this movement, our student analysts spent their last month of the summer strengthening relationships and building their community(ies). They rounded it out by engaging more deeply in the larger D.C community, fostering cross-collaboration in the civic innovation space, and finishing up their summer capstone projects.

The Beeck Center’s Data + Digital work includes supporting efforts in the public and private sectors to responsibly share and use data to address some of society’s most challenging issues, as well as creating tangible resources and cultivating the community for government digital service leaders to help them share and scale efforts. Our student analysts led research projects around data governance, digital service product rollouts, and service design as a tool for career planning. Learning these skills is a vital part of our mission to create social impact leaders of tomorrow, and we’re excited to have the students share their experiences.

—Vandhana Ravi, Data + Digital Program Associate

August was the final month of our stint at the Beeck Center, which meant we were especially busy as we worked on finishing and polishing our different projects and initiatives. A large part of the month was also dedicated to documenting all our learnings in order to both showcase our work but also paving the road for the next team of student analysts joining the Beeck Center in the fall.

Learning and orienting within a larger community

The opportunity to experience social impact firsthand was one of the highlights of August. We were able to participate in social programs in the Washington, D.C. community and see the impact that organizations can have in local communities. In August, we volunteered for Martha’s Table and the DC Dream Center, nonprofit organizations that support communities through access to quality education programs and familial support. Through volunteering and community immersion we learned that it’s not just helping, but integrating techniques of administration and logistics that really make a difference.


Beeck Center Student Analysts at a Martha’s Table Summer Food Market Program in Washington, D.C. on August 13, 2019. Photo by Alberto Rodriguez.

We were also able to see the power of community building first hand, through our continued collaboration with Coding it Forward, an organization that places students into federal government agencies for summer-long fellowships to use their technical skills to improve government practices. The student fellows came from backgrounds such as design, data science, and computer science and the hosting organizations were as varied as the Department of Labor and the National Institutes of Health. On August 8, these Fellows gathered for a ‘Demo Day’ that included a series of presentations and panels discussing their summer fellowships followed by a ‘poster session’ style event where attendees could hear about the projects directly from the fellows. It was inspiring to see how much impact these driven students had made in such a short period of time. We were reminded that, although it seems as if we are fighting an uphill battle, programs like this are evidence of such a strong demand for being in the civic technology space. This bodes well for the future of government and for technologists who want to serve their country by making its government more effective at delivering services.

At a Coding it Forward Summer of Social Impact panel, “Designing with, not for,” we heard directly from professionals who work in the public and private sectors, as well as the world of contracting. We learned their perspectives on how human-centered thinking is applied in their workspaces and how it’s important to use a shared language to connect with the people involved in your work and understand their perspectives.

Working toward a common goal through cross-functional collaboration

We’ve been learning how bureaucratic boundaries are broken by bringing stakeholders from different sectors into the conversation, which is one of the leading ideas at the Beeck Center. As student analysts coming from different cities and backgrounds, we saw how integral cross-functional collaboration is to spark innovation.

Also in August, we participated as facilitators in a Census 2020 Open Innovation Labs design sprint at New America, which aimed to bring together private and social sector teams to create personas to inform new digital tools that leveraging open census data. Each group tackled four different identified problem-areas surrounding the 2020 Census — the digital divide, digital literacy, recruitment of census takers, and reaching hard-to-count communities — and consisted of a user advocate, government expert, technologist, product expert, census expert, and facilitator. By the end of the workshop, we saw how having a diversity of people that are not usually in the same room addressed real issues and approached problems in a variety of ways.

In the pursuit to collaborate with other interns across D.C. doing similar work in social impact, we held a Summer of Social Change Intern Convening. By bringing together 18 interns from 10 organizations and addressing our experiences as new voices in the civic tech realm, we expanded our network and witnessed first-hand that we share a mission to work better for the people we are trying to serve.

Interns from social impact organizations in Washington, D.C. gather in Georgetown’s Lauinger Library on August 6, 2019. Photo by Dennese Salazar.

Synthesizing and presenting research findings

As we familiarized ourselves with the design and research processes and their roles in social impact, we understood how crucial it is to synthesize large quantities of information and present them to an audience. In our roles at the Beeck Center this summer, we each undertook a research project to practice our synthesizing, writing, and presentation skills.

In one of our research projects, we focused on how to better assist early-career job seekers interested in civic tech and government service design positions. To address a student’s career navigation, we made a How to Get Started in Public Interest Tech” guide designed to break down what we think a student or early career professional would need to get started in these fields. When presenting our findings, we learned how to use the audience to carry out an impromptu beta test to continue iterating on our research. 

Another research project consisted of assembling resources to create effective and responsible data-sharing partnerships for social impact. We presented these resources to the Beeck Center staff through a role-playing exercise that split them into teams and assigned them a role and a challenge. Using the resources we gathered in our research project, we asked our participants to brainstorm the advantages and barriers to potential data partnerships. This allowed them to engage with the material in a way that simply hearing about it could not and to see whether some of our theories around our resources would be validated.

One additional area of research centered on analyzing two specific projects in Latin America to improve services to the public by leveraging technology and digital services. We analyzed how Mexico and Argentina have transformed identity paper-based documents to digital national platforms with a goal of creating case studies that can be used by other government teams in the future. In this research, we hope to see common trends and insight that might help governments better implement digital solutions like these or others. 

In August, Beeck Center student analysts and staff toured the U.S. National Archives, the home of historical U.S. government records including foundational documents such as the U.S. Constitution.

Wrapping up at Beeck 

As we said goodbye after a great summer, and prepared to leave D.C., we wrapped up in the best sense we could think of: by saying thank you to everyone that helped make this summer one of the most memorable in our careers. We are sure that the knowledge and skills that we have developed over the summer will help us bring impact wherever our next step takes us and we are extremely grateful to everyone in the Beeck Center that made it possible. 

Student Analysts on the Beeck Center Data + Digital team who contributed to this piece include Margarita Arguello, Kell Crowley, Jillian Gilburne, Alberto Rodriguez Alvarez, Robert Roussel, and Dennese Salazar.

Interim Executive Director Nate Wong shares his vision of the Beeck Center’s mission.  

Solving complex social problems requires a joint effort across partners. Impact at scale goes beyond growing the efforts of any one organization or program, instead demanding collaboration within a system of players and groups. As Nate Wong takes the helm at the Beeck Center with founding Executive Director Sonal Shah’s leave of absence, he shares the Center’s reinvigorated mission and program goals. 

The Beeck Center’s mission is simple yet ambitious: we exist to help scale social impact globally. This goes beyond replicating the success of a single organization or program. Impact at scale requires cross-collaboration and ultimately behavior change. Societal problems are increasingly complex and cannot be solved in silos. Business, government, and social programs alone will not be able to fully address these issues. We need models where collaboration can flourish, and a new way of training people to adequately solve these intractable problems, using the tools of interdisciplinary and experiential education.

The Beeck Center solves these two needs as an experiential hub located at Georgetown University. To spur greater impact, we hold up scalable models where multiple sectors are solving societal problems. We do this through our two portfolios, fair finance and data + digital, which house our projects that we incubate and eventually scale out of the Center. Using our perch at Georgetown University, we serve as a truth-teller and impact broker to showcase truly emergent impact models and the leaders making an impact through their work. We also are a training ground for students, teaching them the importance of a human-centered, interdisciplinary problem solving approach. Through our experiential programs connected to our real-world problems and our world-class problem solving practitioners, we prepare students with the tools to truly make an impact now and into the future.  

I am excited for the fall not just because students will be coming back to campus, but also because we will be showcasing the full breadth of what we have been incubating over the past few months. A few highlights include:

  • New models for how local governments can better collaborate and use the power of people-centered design and technology to better improve services like foster care or disaster relief. 
  • Emergent collaborations around how investors/ developers can responsibly deploy capital to designated locales called Opportunity Zones.
  • Piloted navigation tools to help students better navigate the impact space by cataloging key skillsets and mechanisms for the 21st century leader.

This is an exciting time here at the Beeck Center, and I’m looking forward to sharing updates throughout the year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The recommendations in this post are for students in general. Information specific to Georgetown University will be updated as it becomes available. [2/26/20]

August 22, 2019 | Kell Crowley

The U.S. government takes a census — a population count — every 10 years, as mandated by the Constitution. The 2020 census’ goal is to count each person living in the United States “once, only once, and in the right place” starting on April 1. The census is a foundation of our democracy and a way for everyone to be represented in our government. The data is used to distribute federal funds to states, to determine apportionment in the House of Representatives (how many representatives each state gets) and to determine redistricting within states. These uses of census data will guide decision-making and federal funding for the next decade, so getting an accurate count of every single person living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020 is absolutely essential.

With record high distrust in government, the fact that this is the first online census, and likelihood of coordinated disinformation campaigns, the accuracy of the 2020 Census count is in jeopardy. That said, here are five ways anyone on a campus can help make the 2020 Census as accurate as possible:

  1. Reach out to clubs. Share the importance of the census, and ask them to raise awareness through their networks. For example, community service clubs that tutor in immigrant communities can ask their tutors to do a lesson plan about the census, including key information — such as the fact that responses are confidential by law. This means other agencies cannot access the data to identify individuals for deportation. With the current distrust in government, hearing about the census from a trusted community partner can encourage responses. You can point clubs to resources like Census 101 from censuscounts.org. 
  2. Spread the word about census jobs. The Census Bureau is hiring and recruiting, and having dedicated workers is essential to getting an accurate count! Let gig workers like your Uber/Lyft drivers and your friends taking a gap year know that they can go to 2020census.gov/jobs to find a variety of temporary jobs around the U.S. Wages are competitive and paid weekly. You must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older, and have a valid Social Security number to be eligible. 
  3. Flier and chalk in the lead-up to April 1, 2020. This is a great way to make sure positive census messaging is everywhere! Students regularly flier around campus, but think about heading into the surrounding neighborhoods. This ensures everyone in the greater community understands the importance of responding to the census. To make fliers, you can use resources such as Census Counts for more details about the impact of the census. 
  4. Incorporate the census into your classes. Most schools have civic courses, but even if yours doesn’t, the census can fit into pretty much any class. Use it as the basis for a project in a computer science class, think about messaging in marketing, or write an essay about it in your language class. Every student in every one of your classes should know about the census and why it’s vital to our democracy.
  5. Flag disinformation and misinformation. As we’ve seen in elections, the Internet provides a space that can spread false information spread by both bad and misinformed actors. Correct this information without amplifying it. For more information about flagging posts on social media, check out this resource.

College students and the census: Where do you count?

Talk to your parents about where you count. Make sure they know to fill out their form, and whether or not you should be on it.

College students living away from their parents’ or guardians’ home while at college in the U.S. are counted at the residence where they live and sleep most of the time

    • If you live in student housing, you do not need to respond to the census. A school administrator will respond for anyone in student housing, which includes dormitories, residence halls, apartment-style housing where residents enter into “by the bed” leases, and fraternity/sorority houses recognized by the college or university.
    • If you live in off-campus housing, your household will receive an invitation in the mail to participate in the census. Designate a time for your roommates to sit down together and have one person to fill out the form for everyone in your household.

College students who are U.S. citizens living outside the United States while attending college outside the United States are not counted in the statewide census.

Commuter students (college students living at their parents’ or guardians’ home while attending college) are counted at their parents’ or guardians’ home. Your parent should include you as a resident when they respond to the census.

The 2020 Census data touches everyone living in the United States. Recognizing and sharing these ideas will have a huge effect on your local community. By ensuring that the greatest number of people are represented, a richer dataset will be collected and the information will have a larger impact in the years to come. 

July 2019 

It’s been a busy second month for the six student analysts supporting the growing Data + Digital Portfolio at the Beeck Center. They’ve moved from learning to leading — developing their own capstone research projects, learning how to hack bureaucracies, and designing and leading their own workshops. 

The Beeck Center’s Data + Digital work includes supporting efforts in the public and private sectors to responsibly share and use data to address some of society’s most challenging issues, as well as creating tangible resources and cultivating the community for government digital service leaders to help them share and scale efforts. Our student analysts are leading research projects around data governance, digital service product rollouts, and service design as a tool for career planning. They have been making the most of opportunities at Georgetown and in Washington, D.C. and we hope you’ll read on for some of their takeaways for the month of July.

—Vandhana Ravi, Data + Digital Program Associate

Learning by Doing: Beeck Center as a Practice Space 

The Data + Digital Student Analyst team has only gotten wiser and busier since our last update in June. After spending our first month obtaining knowledge and exposing ourselves to new perspectives, we spent month number two taking on the challenge of putting into practice all that we had learned. We have been busy designing and hosting workshops, delving into research for our capstone projects, and learning how to be creative within constraints. Overall, we have dedicated the month of July to moving past the orientation stage by putting into practice the skills and insights that we have learned, so that we are able to support both the projects that we’ve been leading at the Beeck Center as well as every project we manage throughout our careers. 

Research

Research is an important part of our work at Beeck and at Georgetown University, and it is a focus area of all of our projects as student analysts. From frameworks about cross-sector data sharing to helping early-career job seekers navigate civic tech career paths, we’re tackling a wide range of complex issues. Through these endeavors, we are discovering new fields and approaches to problem-solving and finding useful ways to share our findings with practitioners. 

To aid us in the development of our research plans, Fellow Christopher Wilson led a workshop providing practical tips and tricks for conducting qualitative research. He shared useful insights on how to organize sources, create bibliographies, manage reading workloads, and how to produce work that is credible, as determined by the standards of our target audiences. We will be applying these skills as we finalize our capstone projects in the weeks ahead and as we continue to conduct research throughout our academic and professional lives.  

While many of us are still working on our projects, the first capstone presentation from our team was a workshop on flagging disinformation surrounding the 2020 Census.

Bureaucracy-hacking 

July has also been dedicated to learning how to navigate bureaucracy. We found this to be a particularly important skill set to acquire as even the best ideas can be non-starters if the right actors are not on board. Phase one of our bureaucracy-busting education took place at NASA HQ, alongside the Coding it Forward fellows, where former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Digital Service and current Senior Advisor for STEM Transformation at NASA Elaine Ho taught us some of the “secret handshakes” for getting things done in government. We covered everything from understanding stakeholder incentives to the importance of knowing how to leverage a crisis, and left with a better understanding of the roadblocks that can impede well-intentioned change and how to navigate around them. 

Beeck Center Student Analysts visit NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on July 22, 2019. Photo by Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation.

Later in the month, Beeck’s Data + Digital portfolio lead Cori Zarek (aka our boss), built on our bureaucracy-hacking knowledge in a presentation where she challenged us to think about government structure not just as a bothersome barrier but as an important failsafe to government overreach. While it may be frustrating for highly-motivated reformers, the bureaucracy is intentionally careful (and sometimes slow-moving) to avoid potential unintended consequences when rolling out a policy. She took us through some of her experiences getting the policy around the U.S. government’s open-source code hub, code.gov, off the ground, as she stressed the importance of involving stakeholders, running pilots, and including the legal and communications teams every step of the way. 

The complexity of pursuing new ideas within structured government hierarchies, while important, has at times felt overwhelming. But thankfully, we had the opportunity to reconvene with our friends at Coding it Forward for part of their Summer of Social Impact event series where panelists encouraged us to pursue careers in the public sector with pitches about mission-driven, high impact projects that will affect the lives of millions of Americans, just one of the many ways the Beeck Center produces impact at scale. But what we really appreciated was how intentional they were about not concealing the complexity of this kind of work — including the advice that the only wrong path one can take into this field is the one that burns you out. 

The last phase of our bureaucracy-hacking education in July included attending a Congressional hearing on Modernizing Legislative Information Technologies: Lessons from the States, where witnesses from California, Washington, and Virginia explained to members how their state legislatures are using technology to improve bureaucratic processes. We found it interesting to hear about how operations that seem simple to us, such as checking for scheduling conflicts on an online calendar, are much more complicated to manage within the House of Representatives due to its size and use of outdated software. Although the process of streamlining intra-government communication is far from complete, it’s reassuring that this is a topic of serious discussion, not just in the Beeck Center, but within the halls of Congress as well.

Leading and Facilitation

As part of our efforts to put into practice all that we learned since joining the Beeck Center team, we knew we had to sharpen our presentation skills. If the utilization of technical and design skills in government is going to become a norm, we, as advocates for this method of public service delivery will have to hone our pitch. To get some practice, we created and facilitated a workshop teaching our fellow student analysts the principles of human-centered design. Specifically, we provided our participants with specific strategies that they could take into their Beeck Center portfolio work and their future careers. 

Thankfully, as part of the Social Impact Skills workshops that the Beeck Center hosts for student analysts, we had the privilege of learning some public speaking tips and tricks during a workshop led by Beeck Center Fair Finance Director Lisa Hall and Public Eye Communications CEO Joia Nuri before our own workshop. They emphasized the importance of having a connection to your message, and the power of alliteration and storytelling. As part of the Beeck Center’s Discern + Digest lunch series, we also got advice on how to facilitate group dialogues about sensitive topics in a way that creates a space for all participants to meaningfully participate and benefit.

Designing Within Constraints

We put these new presentation and facilitation skills to the test during our own workshop entitled Human-Centered Design: Learning by Doing. Many of us on the Beeck Data + Digital team have at least a cursory knowledge of human-centered design principles, so we wanted to learn more about conducting user research given the constraints of government and social impact work. We explained the principles and methodologies that make up the design process and unpacked how they might be used in the public sector. Afterwards, we led the other Beeck Center student analysts through a hands-on mini design sprint. 

Beeck Center Student Analysts lead a human-centered design workshop at the Beeck Center on July 29, 2019. Photo by Dennese Salazar. 

Although applying design concepts to government service delivery is a relatively new concept, we’ve learned that, with the right mindset and team, it is possible. One of our student analysts experienced this firsthand when she joined the Lab at OPM for their federal employee summer design school as an assistant design coach. The week was spent working with federal employees on creating innovative, user-centered solutions given a set of financial and political constraints — including designing interfaces to help Navy fleet officers determine if their teams are mission-ready and helping the National Park Service more truthfully depict and showcase the histories of Native Americans.  

Beeck Center Student Analyst Jillian Gilburne (right) joins the Lab at OPM’s summer fellows as an assistant design coach during a week-long training for federal employees looking to apply human-centered design techniques to their agencies’ most pressing issues on July 17, 2019. Photo by the Lab at OPM.

What’s Happening in the Field

Civic Tech, as a field, is in a constant state of flux. The sheer volume of events, training, and convenings happening in this space are a testament to this. We urge readers who are interested in these issues to follow our lead and consider the rapidly changing nature of the field as evidence that we are in the midst of something exciting that is both worthy of our attention and in need of our skills and passion. 

At Coding it Forward’s Tech Policy 101 event, the importance of this work was further magnified. As Andres Mascumbe, legislative council for Rep. Maxine Waters noted, there is a serious need in Congress to help members quickly understand complex technical topics. He also quoted an often used phrase in the civic tech community, that we must replace our “move fast and break things mindset” with the more intentional “move purposefully and fix things” approach. 

Thankfully, we are not alone in our efforts to understand what role we can play in this ever changing line of work. In an effort to recruit and define the roles of young tech talent in government, many organizations are partnering with current and former government employees to brainstorm potential models. We had the privilege of attending one of these convenings where participants, including Beeck Center Fellows, discussed how to redesign government jobs for the 21st century. It became clear that because government agencies, even branches within agencies, all have different approaches to using data, there is no universal answer to what new tech talent will look like. While it’s far from conclusive, we were excited by the potential to create space for a wide range of talent to join government in the coming decades. 

Conclusion 

As we finalize the second month of our student analyst journey, we are still working (and learning) at the same rapid pace as when we started. We tackled diverse challenges that put our skills to the test, working in horizontal teams and balancing multiple projects, and conducting and presenting our own research to a broader audience in a clear and meaningful way. Above all, we’ve been working together as student analysts and with the entire Beeck Center team to better understand our personal roles in social impact and innovation. This allows us to think about using our existing skills to help support a movement of technologists, designers, and bureaucracy hackers in building a government that truly helps those it has promised to serve. 

Student Analysts on the Beeck Center Data + Digital team who contributed to this piece include Margarita Arguello, Kell Crowley, Jillian Gilburne, Alberto Rodriguez Alvarez, Robert Roussel, and Dennese Salazar.

Data + Digital Student Analysts | June 2019

It has been a busy first month for the six student analysts supporting the growing Data + Digital Portfolio at the Beeck Center. They’ve truly hit the ground running — from attending coding meetups to discussing data privacy for an upcoming PBS special to learning how to facilitate human-centered design workshops. 

The Beeck Center’s Data + Digital work includes supporting efforts in the public and private sectors to responsibly share and use data to address some of society’s most challenging issues, as well as creating tangible resources and cultivating the community for government digital service leaders to help them share and scale efforts. As newcomers, our student analysts are learning about what it means to work in the fields of civic tech and digital service design while simultaneously supporting the team’s ongoing projects. And as students who are already thinking about their own professional futures, they’ve taken the time to explore the diverse range of pathways they can take into government innovation work in the future — including through efforts led by our colleagues in the Georgetown Tech & Society Initiative and the Public Interest Technology University Network

We hope you’ll read on for some of their takeaways for the month of June.

Vandhana Ravi, Data + Digital Program Associate

Beeck Center Student Analysts pose outside of New America in Washington, D.C. before “The Commons Live!” an event about storytelling in government held on June 10, 2019. Photo by Alberto Rodriguez.

Learning while doing: Beeck Center as a training ground

The Data + Digital Student Analyst team had our work cut out for us when we first arrived at the Beeck Center earlier this summer. We are a group of students representing a number of different universities and backgrounds from Rhode Island to Chicago, from chemical engineering to public policy united by our shared interest in using data and technology to make government work better for the people it serves. In our first month, we have worked together to advance the work of the Beeck Center while also developing our own understanding of the major themes within the government Data + Digital space. 

Community Building

One of the major themes we’ve encountered is the importance of building a community of practice, of professionalizing and creating clearer access points to this type of work in order to inject new energy into it. We have seen that systematically recruiting, training, and supporting young technologists represents a major challenge that government agencies at all levels are looking to address. 

Thankfully, there are currently a myriad of different programs and initiatives to provide training opportunities and create a community of practice to help orient newcomers. We had the opportunity to learn about two such efforts early on, including BetaNYC’s Civic Innovation Fellowship and the Coding it Forward Fellowship. Both of these programs have taken on the task of training students in a variety of data, technology, and design skills, giving them exposure to professional experience in various levels of government, and creating networks for them to share their experiences and meet other like-minded practitioners. During a roundtable conversation with former U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil, we further explored the many opportunities and challenges that data scientists and engineers can expect to face when they enter the field of public service and how we can continue to build a support system for newcomers to the field.

We are a group of students representing a number of different universities and backgrounds from Rhode Island to Chicago, from chemical engineering to public policy united by our shared interest in using data and technology to make government work better for the people it serves. 

Aside from the importance of support and training for students and others who are early in their careers and interested in government reform work, we have also been thinking a lot about how to improve communication between the policy wonks and technologists who often have to work together to accomplish civic tech projects. For this reason, some of our student analysts have been attending and participating in Code for DC brigade meetups to get a better understanding of what communication barriers might exist between parties with diverse professional backgrounds, but shared goals. 

Storytelling

Another major theme we have encountered is one that is directly related to the Digital Service Collaborative’s goal of documenting and spreading the work of digital service leaders. Sarah Sullivan, the former Chief of Staff for the United States Digital Service (USDS), emphasized the importance of storytelling at an event hosted by the Public Interest Technology team at New America. Sullivan drew on her personal experiences in the USDS and the Massachusetts State Senate to explain how creating a storytelling culture within organizations is key to promoting truth telling. While she acknowledged that telling the truth and standing up to authority — whether to the public or even just internally in government — can be really challenging, she asserted its importance for those in the business of fixing government. We have also been exposed to story-telling as a powerful tool for helping governments serve the public. At the same event, Aaron Foley, the Chief Storyteller for the City of Detroit, spoke about local news coverage and the role it plays in mitigating feelings of alienation that some residents experience as a result of psychological gentrification.

We have seen that systematically recruiting, training, and supporting young technologists represents a major challenge that government agencies at all levels are looking to address.

In taking on the challenge of documenting the work of the civic tech sector, we have acknowledged the importance of learning what stories have already been told, what resources exist but might be hard to find, and finding new ways to disseminate existing information. To support this, we are working with Code for America to capture and centralize existing informational resources for civic technologists and government service delivery teams across the country.

Data, Ethics and Privacy

As the concepts of digital government and civic tech become more well understood, some of the most pressing questions we will have to confront are about data privacy and the ethical use of technology. We delved deeper into the subject during a conversation with Beeck Center Fellow Natalie Evans Harris as part of a PBS series that highlights the accomplishments of women in STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — fields. Natalie, whose research focuses on the responsible use of data, guided us through a conversation about the privacy implications that should be considered when users give companies access to their data in exchange for a service. Our understanding of data ethics was pressed further during DJ Patil’s conversation when he introduced us to the topic of ethical data management and use as well as the new concept of a code of ethics for data scientists.  

As the concepts of digital government and civic tech become more well understood, some of the most pressing questions we will have to confront are about data privacy and the ethical use of technology. 

To further our knowledge on ethical data use practices, we attended a Deceptive Design and Dark Patterns Capitol Hill briefing. This panel addressed the Deceptive Experience to Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation that protects users from relinquishing their data on online platforms due to deceptive user interfaces, or “dark patterns.” This was a particularly illuminating event given our team’s previous feelings of discomfort about the prevalence of deceptive data practices during our conversation with Natalie. 

Given our concerns, we took the opportunity to hear different stakeholder viewpoints regarding data privacy legislation during an expert panel held on Information-Sharing Ecosystems at Brookings. During the debate, it became clear that many companies want some form of regulation but significant tensions exist on the best approach. We’re particularly interested in this debate between the proposal to allow consumers to own and monetize their data and the ability to more tightly control its collection. 

Moving forward, we aim to continue to spread awareness about the implications of data collection and look forward to learning how to tackle these ethical hangups.

Beeck Center Student Analysts participate in a human-centered design workshop held at the Beeck Center in June 2019. Photo by Estefania Ciliotta Chehade.

 

Human-Centered Design

In order to effectively tackle the incredibly nebulous and complicated problems we’ve been exposed to in the world of civic technology, we’ve sought out training in the principles of human-centered design. Many of us arrived at the Beeck Center having already been exposed to design principles, however, to sharpen our skills, we participated in a workshop led by Beeck Center Fellow Emily Tavoulareas where we learned the tools for designing workshops and applying problem scoping, ideation, and iteration to our own work processes. 

We also had the opportunity to see a human-centered design workshop in action by attending a policy prototyping workshop hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School, Stanford Cyber Initiative and IDEO CoLab, focused on the future of work, including how automation will affect jobs and how we can make these inevitable job transitions equitable. We worked in breakout groups to design prototypes of products to address different aspects of emerging problems, such as the scarcity of high-quality jobs. The diverse backgrounds of the group, which included civic leaders, government professionals, academics, librarians, and industry representatives, helped bring different perspectives to the prototypes, and we left with a better understanding of the problems and tangible next steps for solutions. 

International Perspectives

Finally, our team has been particularly interested in harnessing international perspectives in order to place the U.S. civic tech movement into a larger context. Members of the team have been hard at work designing a case study framework to create detailed accounts of innovation and digitization efforts in different Latin American governments. These case studies are meant to serve as learning tools both in the realm of academia and for practitioner usage. We hope to help key decision-makers expand their frames of reference as they design and draft digital transformation strategies for their own governments. 

As part of the Beeck Center’s mission to support the civic tech community and assist in the delivery of better digital services, we, as Data + Digital student analysts, have been working hard to understand the existing ecosystem in order to better understand the most pressing questions and challenges involved in using data and technology to improve public services. 

By listening to diverse voices in the sector and creating tools to build better government, our team is cultivating the community of digital service leaders and introducing new perspectives into the debate about the future of government work. 

Student Analysts on the Beeck Center Data + Digital team who contributed to this piece include Margarita Arguello, Kell Crowley, Jillian Gilburne, Alberto Rodriguez Alvarez, Robert Roussel, and Dennese Salazar.

July 19, 2019 | Natalie Evans Harris

I’ve learned a few things about the power of data after nearly 20 years leading data capacity efforts in the Federal Government—more recently, under the Obama Administration, as well as co-founding a data technology company, BrightHive, in the private sector. Data can support transforming the human experience through our collective power. Data can inform insights and drive decisions that lead to a more equitable, representative society, creating opportunities for all to thrive. Finally, that Democracy is better when government, civic and private sectors come together.

For this vision to prevail, institutions and organizations must work collaboratively and responsibly to share their data with groups inside and outside of their network. To achieve this vision, a growing number of companies and government agencies are forming data partnerships to link data across institutional and geographic boundaries to support social good. Only when organizations take an integrated approach to addressing the legal, technical and governance challenges facing them will a truly meaningful outcome occur. 

Meaningful outcomes with strong data practices as the foundation opens opportunities for understanding society and driving scalable impact. But as the role of the data scientist—in all its variations—has proliferated (we are the sexiest career of the 21st Century after all), the standards and practices for data governance, in particular, have not kept pace to build the consistencies necessary to trust data as a decision-maker and driver of innovative social change. Our data governance practices need to be improved by using robust frameworks that address major points of risk and ambiguity which typically prevent many actors from engaging in sharing.  

Understanding traditional data sharing structures

Understanding traditional data sharing governance structures is key to improving these practices. Focused on protecting people by controlling the availability, usability, integrity and security of data, organizations traditionally establish clear rules for what data will be collected, how it will be stored, and who will have access to it. These rules are often centered around minimizing risk by setting controls and limiting access to data based on the user or the use case. In an environment where data is used for making funding decisions or evaluating programs, this model is ideal. It’s using internal data to evaluate internal activities. 

But as data is increasingly used for drawing insights about society, the need to bring together diverse data sources is clear and it’s imperative that we move beyond data sharing as a short-term transaction to adopt rules that incentivize data sharing while minimizing barriers.  These traditional data sharing governance structures tend to be:

  • Short-sighted: Addressing only immediate needs using limited bilateral agreements without a plan for sustainability.
  • Isolated: Sustained by a single champion but often failing due to changes in leadership or isolated engagement.
  • Inequitable: Imposed on organizations which lack the capacity to participate on equal footing. 
  • Self-Interested: Lawyers protecting individual interests and eliminating liabilities at the expense of the value to all stakeholders.

Moving toward an improved framework for data sharing governance

Starting at this traditional governance baseline, data sharing governance is now expanding from practices incentivized solely by risk-based decisions to models with  stability and equity of data collaborations at its foundation. This becomes crucial as more and more data is used to draw insights that drive marketing strategies, optimize internal practices, and enhance product development. It means CEOs and policymakers alike must balance individual’s trust that the needs for innovative solutions are balanced with the need to protect individual rights. 

Following the European Union’s adoption of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), states such as California are defining rules for responsibly sharing data by strengthening individual data rights. This ultimately puts organizations on notice that how data is used matters more than the profits made from its use. To comply, organizations will need to demonstrate data sharing practices that are: 

  • Sustainable: Addressing immediate needs while at the same time supporting the potential for long-term growth.
  • Coordinated: Supporting shared decision-making for trust-managed data resources and organizational data ownership.
  • Equitable: Leveling the playing field for all data sharing members, regardless of size, capacity, or incentives to participate.
  • Collaborative: Eliminating liability while creating value for communities and individuals who should benefit most from the data sharing.

As a Beeck Center Fellow, I’ve worked to define a sustainable model for data sharing governance that recognizes the needs of today and into the future. This model takes a more collaborative approach to establishing and managing governance practices. Through a series of interviews and research, collaborators define a process that starts with building coalitions around the policy problem, and taking stock of capacity, motivations, barriers, and potential data solutions. It leads to a governance framework designed with integrated feedback loops and focused on evaluating assumptions, approaches and measurable outcomes. 

Recognizing that when government, civic and private sectors come together, democracy is better for it, the Digital Service Collaborative at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center and BrightHive will build a community of practice around this model to identify and develop best practices for collaborative data sharing governance. Our goal is to collaboratively advance the development and adoption of data sharing governance best practices leveraging the community of data and digital leaders in our network who are working on ways to responsibly share and use data to address some of society’s most challenging issues.

 If you’re interested in learning more and/or joining the community, please sign up for the Beeck Center’s newsletter here. When filling out the form be sure to select, “Digital Service Collaborative” in the interest area to ensure that you get added to the correct listserv.    

About us

The Digital Service Collaborative at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation is building a body of research around government data and digital services, creating tangible resources for practitioners, cultivating the community of data and digital service leaders in governments to share and scale efforts, and exploring policy considerations including ethics and privacy. 

BrightHive helps organizations, networks and communities securely and responsibly link their data to enhance their impact, empower individual and collective decision making and increase equity of opportunity. BrightHive Data Trusts provide a legal, technical, and governance framework that empowers a collective of organizations to securely connect their respective data sources and create new shared data resources, empowering them to better coordinate action, measure their impact and be more responsive to the current and future information needs of their community.

July 18, 2019

Dear Friend of the Beeck Center:

I am writing to let you know about an upcoming leadership transition at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation. Sonal Shah, founding Executive Director, will be taking a leave of absence from the Beeck Center and Georgetown University to become the national policy director for the Pete Buttigieg presidential campaign. Sonal has done a tremendous job of establishing the Center internally and externally and has recruited a stellar management and research team to lead the Beeck Center. After five years (see our origin story), the Beeck Center is well known and respected at Georgetown for its forward-leaning research and for training students on social impact. We hope in Sonal’s new role she can infuse some of the Beeck Center’s leading-edge ideas around finance and leveraging data and government digital services into future policy.

To ensure a smooth transition process, Board Chair Alberto Beeck and I have asked Nate Wong, the current Managing Director, to assume the role of Interim Executive Director. Nate is already leading implementation of the Beeck Center’s strategy focused on “impact at scale” as well as creating structures and processes to help scale the work of the Center. Nate brings more than 13 years of expertise in the social impact space from the private, public, and non-profit sectors, including more recently launching two social impact units at leading consulting firms, and will continue to build on the Center’s past successes. The Beeck Center’s research leads will closely support Nate’s leadership. They include Lisa Hall who leads the finance portfolio and brings more than 25 years of expertise in impact finance, and Cori Zarek, former Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, who leads our portfolio on responsible data use and government digital service delivery. The Beeck Center’s Director of Student Engagement, Matt Fortier, will continue to integrate our leading-edge ecosystem ideas with our student engagement efforts.

Nate and Sonal walking through Georgetown University’s campus on their way to the Beeck Center. Picture taken by Student Analyst, Estefania Ciliotta.

With Nate as Interim Executive Director, Alberto and I will ensure that the Beeck Center continues to play an important role in our efforts across the University, including our growing Tech & Society Initiative, and to promote our research efforts and brand externally.

Our work is further bolstered by the addition of two new Beeck Center board members, Courtney O’Donnell and Olivier Brousse. Courtney is a Georgetown alumna and Director of Strategic Engagements and Planning at Airbnb. Oliver is the CEO of John Laing Group plc. We are excited that both are joining as we further grow our efforts to scale impact through leadership in finance and data and digital services.

We appreciate your continued support of our work and our mission. Please see our latest insights around “Growing The Government Service Delivery Movement” and how our “Opportunity Zones Investor Council Develops New Approaches to Community Investment” and stay connected through our newsletter.

Please join me in congratulating both Sonal and Nate on their new respective roles.

Sincerely,

Robert Groves

Provost, Georgetown University

Get involved at the Beeck Center by signing up for our newsletter and visiting our latest insights:

Growing The Government Service Delivery Movement – What’s next for the government service delivery movement? Growth. Find out how Director of the Digital Service Collaborative, Cori Zarek is bringing teams across public, private and government sectors to help fill the gaps.
Opportunity Zones Investor Council Developed New Approaches to Community Investment – Beeck Center gathers Opportunity Zone Investor Council Members to discuss implementing best practices for engaging the community as an investor.

July 11, 2019 | Cori Zarek

The way governments deliver services to the public is a constant state of evolution. As we turn the corner on 10 years of more organized and active work to reimagine service delivery, there are new skill sets and technologies that continue to inform this work. As this service delivery movement continues to grow, the community of changemakers inside and outside of government leading this work is also expanding its reach.

In some places, we’re growing beyond the small, scrappy skunkworks teams to integrate data scientists and user experience experts throughout offices and departments. We’re seeing government leaders learn design thinking and embrace the mentality to “build with not for” their users. And we’re starting to find the space to take a step back and put some thought into how to support the movement as it turns into the next phase of growth.

Bringing the community together

At this year’s Code for America Summit in May— the gathering place for leaders in civic tech, digital government, service delivery and more— Code for America’s Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka reflected on our need for a “bigger tent” for this movement. As the work grows, so should our gathering spaces and ability to draw in leaders with varying expertise who are creatively working to deliver government services and increasingly looking for support and skills to do so. 

The Code for America Summit is a unique place for learning, sharing, and growing in the work of service delivery. This year, I co-chaired the event along with Dan Hon, a leader in both public and private sector tech. With a small volunteer committee and support from the Code for America staff, we focused the event’s program on the areas we know remain crucial for this work: increasing government’s capacity to deliver services, such as making it easier to apply for food stamps; government operations, examining the policies, process, and people who matter when it comes to serving the public; and the groundbreaking and innovative work taking place in our communities, including helping local agencies save time and money by buying what they need together.

Cori Zarek, Director of the Digital Service Collaborative at Beeck Center, and 2019 co-chair of the Code for America Summit, welcomes the 1,300 attendees to the annual event held this year in Oakland, CA, alongside co-chair Dan Hon. Photo by Drew Bird for Code for America, some rights reserved.

At the event, we also reflected on the changing needs of the civic tech community and of the need for the Code for America Summit itself to continue to grow and change along with its attendees — hence, the bigger tent. While 1,300 attendees make it to the Summit — nearly half of whom were first-timers — there is still a long way to go to make the event, and this work, as expansive and inclusive as possible.

Leveraging multi-sector stakeholders to grow the movement 

As the service delivery field continues to mature, opportunities to support the work from outside of government increase. There is a need for multi-sector stakeholders across academia, philanthropy, and civil society. In April, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, announced the launch of the Digital Service Collaborative, which is working to support the people and teams leading service delivery work in all levels of government. We join a network of supporters including New America, Civic Hall, Code for America, Apolitical, and fellow leaders in academia such as the Digital HKS team at the Harvard Kennedy School and the many other programs in Georgetown’s Tech & Society Initiative.

Beeck Center Student Analysts Alberto Rodriguez Alvarez (L) and Kell Crowley (R) catch up in the hallway with The Rockefeller Foundation’s Durva Trivedi during a break at the 2019 Code for America Summit. Beeck Center colleagues led a workshop and breakout session at the Summit. Photo by Drew Bird for Code for America, some rights reserved.

The Digital Service Collaborative (DSC) team is kicking off our work with a focus on supporting needs and filling gaps to help government teams better deliver services to the public. Government leaders tend — as they should — to focus on addressing the pressing priorities to advance their missions, serving their leadership’s priorities, and responding to crises. Often, there’s little time to reflect on what was learned or how it might be applied to the next team facing similar issues before turning to the next urgent matter. There’s a lot of knowledge transfer that happens from person to person, but so much of it gets lost when it’s not documented in a way that can be shared and scaled. If you don’t have the network to know which people to talk to, you may never know such knowledge exists in the first place. 

The DSC will be working with government teams to better understand their successes and challenges beyond the traditional blog post or press release level, to dive deeper into the mechanics and details of their work with a goal of sharing and scaling that widely. Our team will also identify ways to bring people together around shared work and resources, through working groups, joint projects, and in-person convenings and events. 

The 2019 Code for America Summit was the organization’s largest yet with more than 1,300 attendees, more than 160 speakers, and three days of mainstage remarks, breakout sessions, workshops, lightning talks, roundtables, and convenings. Next year, the Summit will take place in Washington, D.C. from March 11-12, 2020. Photo by Drew Bird for Code for America, some rights reserved

Through all of our work, we’ll be talking to the people and teams inside of government leading this work to continue identifying the best ways to support them. And we’ll keep pressing this community to find ways to bring more colleagues into the fold — to build the tent bigger.  We look forward to joining this great community of practice at next year’s Code for America Summit, here in Washington, D.C. from March 11-13, 2020. Hope to see you there — and in the meantime, follow our work through the Beeck Center’s newsletter

July 2, 2019 | Elizabeth MacBride & Jen Collins

Here at The Beeck Center, we’ve convened the Opportunity Zone Investor Council (OZIC), a group of first mover fund managers, investors and developers working in Opportunity Zones across the country. The council aims to think, act and collaborate differently as one of the most important community development movements in a half-century takes shape.

OZIC will work to drive positive outcomes in underinvested neighborhoods and to create and test new models of community investment, aided by new Opportunity Zone tax breaks. Launched with 15 members, the Council includes: Access Ventures, Arctaris Capital Management, Beekman Advisors, Blueprint Local, Capital Impact Partners, Enterprise Community Investment, Goldman Sachs, Heritage Equity Partners, Lela Goren Group, LISC, MCB Real Estate, Obsidian Investment Partners, Our Opportunity, and Think Food Group. 

The council is a platform to learn and collaborate with peer investors, to incubate new ideas and to exchange best practices. At the Beeck Center, we are focused on outcomes, data, and fair and ethical financial practices.  This makes our center the ideal place to host the council. Members will have access to tools, experts and the collaborative thinking that helps drive social impact and innovation.

At its first meeting in late June, Council members discussed practical ways to adhere to the OZ Impact Reporting Framework guiding principles: community engagement, equity, transparency, measurement, and outcomes. The next meeting is planned for October.

Pictured: Beeck Center Fellow, Jen Collins facilitating council session.

As they begin the collaborative work of real estate and business investments, OZIC members reported a handful of common concerns in the over 8,700 distressed census tracts that qualify for Opportunity Zone tax breaks. There’s no lack of capital, but finding real projects that meet the risk/return profiles sought by impact investors is emerging as a top concern.

OZIC members share a fundamental optimism about the future and the possibility for Opportunity Zones to change the game of community investment. Among the developments, OZIC members expect to see: 

  • Innovative structures and ways to combine Opportunity Zone benefits with other community tools and programs
  • Models for community engagement that work across geographies and across sectors
  • New approaches to impact investing, as Opportunity Zones draw real estate developers and investors who are new to community investment and impact investing.
  • New methods of describing the process of impact investment, and new measures of impact and outcomes.

We are pleased to provide the platform for distinguished investors and developers to gather. We’re looking forward to the first announcements of Opportunity Zone deals that drive positive outcomes in underinvested American neighborhoods.

July 1, 2019 | Forrest Gertin

On June 3, the Beeck Center welcomed its largest Student Analyst program cohort ever! 16 student analysts have joined us from as far away as Peru and China for the summer semester.  The Beeck Center’s Student Analyst program is designed as an experiential learning experience for students who are interested in social impact at scale. This program provides students, thought-leaders, and academics a common space to dream, break rules, collaborate across disciplines, and ideate solutions for rethinking the social sector. Students are paired with a Beeck Center fellow or staff member to work on projects ranging from Righting the Rules for Shared Prosperity to developing workshop methodology on social impact scaling. Get to know our summer 2019 cohort and what they are working on below.

2019 Summer Student Analysts Cohort by The Numbers

  • They hail from 9 different countries: Bangladesh, China, France, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain and the United States.
  • 6 are current undergraduate students.
  • 7 are current graduate students.
  • 2 have completed their graduate degree programs.
  • 1 has completed their undergraduate degree program.
  • They have earned or are pursuing degrees in fields as varied as Chemical Engineering, International Political Economy, Social Enterprise, and Experience Design.
  • 12 are enrolled at or earned degrees from Georgetown. HOYA SAXA!
  • The 4 non-Hoyas study at American University, Brown University, Northeastern University and Northwestern University.

What are they working on? 

Digital Service Collaborative

Student analysts are supporting the Digital Service Collaborative (DSC) in building a body of research around government digital services, creating tangible resources for practitioners and cultivating the community of digital service leaders in governments to share and scale efforts. Students are also supporting the DSC’s work on data collaboratives and multi-party data sharing by exploring policy considerations around ethics and privacy. 

Opportunity Zones Investor Council

Some of our student analysts worked with the Opportunity Zones team to launch the Opportunity Zone Investor Council. The Council includes 15 fund managers, developers, and investors working in urban and rural communities to drive impact through Opportunity Zones. Their work has included supporting membership outreach, developing communication materials, and managing event logistics. They’ve also researched past tax incentives to discover best practices and lessons learned that their team, and investors, can apply to Opportunity Zones investing.

Student Passport Project

Student analysts on the student engagement team are working to help students navigate their social impact journey. Their work centers around identifying the core characteristics of a 21st Century Social Impact Leader, and determining the myriad pathways that students can take to develop and apply those skills. Their work will give students a clear model to reference as they chart their own course towards a social impact career that incorporates their individual passions.

To learn more about our current cohort of student analysts, click here. If you’re interested in joining our student analyst team for Fall 2019, sign up for our newsletter. Applications currently aren’t open but we will send out an announcement when they are with more information.

June 14, 2019 | Lorelei Kelly & Marci Harris (POPVOX)

Problem:

The workflow of Congress presents unique challenges, many that could be effectively addressed with technology. In some cases, a mobile application — an “app” — is an ideal delivery medium. Major app ecosystems — such as the Apple IOS App Store or Google’s Android “Play” Marketplace — allow either for apps to be (1) available in the public app store for all, or (2) to be built as an “enterprise” app for a specific client that is enrolled in the ecosystem’s “bulk purchase” program. At least with Apple, there is no effective way to distribute limited or “private” apps outside of this program.

Neither Congress nor individual chambers of Congress (House or Senate) are currently enrolled in this bulk purchase program. This means that any app built for Congress — whether for staff use or for lawmakers — must be made available in the public app store. The Apple App Store approval process requires that a minimal set of features be available to all users. This means that currently any app built to solve a Congress-specific problem or address a Congressional workflow need must also provide a minimum set of features to the general public — even if they are not the intended user — in order to be approved for the public app store.

This is problematic for several reasons:

  • Scarce resources allotted for creating technology for Congress must also be expended to create a public-facing experience, even if the public is not the intended end user of the app.
  • Availability in the public app store presents unnecessary risk of hacking and phishing attacks by making technology intended for Congressional use visible and accessible by non-Congressional actors.

Recommendation:

Require the establishment of “bulk purchase” institutional accounts with major app marketplaces (IOS and Google Play) to allow for the development of enterprise applications specifically for Congressional use — either through the Office of the Clerk, Office of House Administration, Senate Sergeant at Arms, or a new “Innovation Office” within Congress.

App Examples:

Several apps have been attempted or created over the years with the intent of addressing internal Congressional needs. These apps effectively navigated the requirement to make features available to the public in order to serve Congress, but not without challenges:

  • Capitol Bells: Developed by Ted Henderson and launched in 2014, Capitol Bells was an ingenious solution for providing vote updates to Members of Congress. Mimicking the arcane “bells” that buzz on Congressional clocks — which Select Committee chairman Kilmer [D, WA] has described as “some kind of combination of Morse code and a Ouija board” to signal votes — Capitol Bells had to find a way to receive the bell indications. These are only sent to the Congressional clocks from the Architect of the Capitol and no electronic indicator exists (thought that might soon change). Hundreds of members and staffers — and members of the public — began using the app to receive vote updates bill information. Unfortunately, the public-facing nature of the app also caused the House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to briefly shut down access to the app in 2016, amid fears of ransomware attacks. If, however, the app had been able to exist as a “Congress-only” enterprise version (which would not preclude a public-facing version in the public app store), concerns about phishing and unauthorized access would have been greatly diminished.
  • Cloakroom: Following on the success of Capitol Bells, Henderson launched a new app, Cloakroom, in 2015 to facilitate informal communications on Capitol Hill — a place for staffers to have an anonymous chat to share news, questions, and even jokes. Ideally, the system would have been closed to prevent any outside access but, again, that would violate app store requirements. Therefore Henderson provided a set of public-facing features for anyone to use, allowed geofenced access to anyone on the Capitol Hill wireless networks, and allowed individuals off the Hill to submit a request to access Cloakroom.
  • WhipWatch (Now “DomeWatch”): Also in 2015, then-Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s [D, MD] office launched an app to provide vote notifications to lawmakers. Of course, as the “whip,” the vote notifications were intended to be for members of his caucus, but due to App Store requirements, the app was made available to the public — and used by members on both sides of the aisle. With 50,000 downloads since version 1.0, it has been an unquestionable success, adding live vote tallies in its 2.0.  While a caucus whip normally does not publicize how he or she wants members to vote, Hoyer’s staff began to view and message the (unavoidable) public availability as a “feature-not-a-bug,” providing greater transparency to the legislative process for all. In 2019, now-Majority Leader Hoyer re-released the app under a new name, “Dome Watch,” now includes a high-definition live stream of the House floor and is available on Android and desktop. (Notably, the underlying functionality of DomeWatch requires some creative “civic hacking” because the House Clerk’s office does not offer an electronic source of live vote information. DomeWatch system live-streams and “scrapes” the vote information from the Congressional closed-circuit television to provide updated counts.)

The need for “Congress-only” apps: POPVOX Elevator example

In 2018, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University began to explore ways to provide better resources for what would become the incoming class for the 116th Congress. During the course of her field research, Fellow Lorelei Kelly asked multiple members and staffers for suggestions on how to improve the orientation and transition phase from election to swearing-in, in a way that encouraged bipartisan relationships and mentoring. Representative Jim Cooper [D, TN] noted that new members benefit from safe and private connection with long-time members. He thought that it would be important to create more opportunities for collegiality and friendship among freshmen before the political parties captured so much of a new member’s time and attention.

With support from Democracy Fund, Beeck partnered with POPVOX to develop the concept and build an app based on the initial idea from Rep. Cooper. Kelly enlisted the help of the Former Members of Congress Association to bring on bipartisan “mentors” who agreed to participate and answer questions on the app.

The app was named “Elevator,” a play on the fact that many members actually meet and get to know each other on Capitol Hill at the Members Only-elevator as they rush off to votes. The app spec was intentionally simple: (1) a discussion board where participants could raise new topics or questions, reply to each other, and “like” the responses of others; (2) private, encrypted messaging between individuals; (3) push notifications; and (4) a list of resources for new members. The POPVOX team developed a verification system that limited signup to lawmakers or former lawmaker mentors with email addresses in the POPVOX system.

The app “Elevator” was developed for members-elect to help with the transition from Election Day to swearing-in.

 

The app was completed and submitted to the Apple app store on October 27, 2018. It was rejected by Apple on November 3 because signup was limited to newly-elected members-elect and verified former member “mentors.” It was resubmitted on November 4 with an explanation of the need to limit access to Congress — but again rejected.

Rejection from Apple for POPVOX Elevator 1.0 because it was primarily intended for Members-elect.

 

It was resubmitted on November 8 with the ability for public sign-in for limited access to the “resources” page. Apple then rejected the app again because it claimed that the list of resources was not enough public functionality to satisfy the minimum requirements of the app store. (Of course, significant functionality existed for members-elect and mentors, but was not available to the public.)

Rejection from Apple for POPVOX Elevator 1.1 because the addition of a “Resources” list accessible to the public did not provide enough functionality to meet minimal App Store requirements.

 

The Elevator team then worked with Georgetown’s Chief Technology Officer to have the app listed as an “educational” app through Georgetown’s educational account, which would require the distribution of Georgetown access codes to members. It was resubmitted as an educational app, and then inexplicably showed up on the public Apple store with no forewarning a few days later (in mid-December). By this time, the window to reach members in their transition phase had passed. The team has held off on additional updates to the app because it is almost certain that upon review for updates, Apple will again remove the app from the public app store.

While the app itself was ready for use and built to address an important need, the limitations of the public app store thwarted the ability to distribute and optimize the app during the crucial transition period for members-elect.

The team stands ready to re-release the app for Congress (and for other uses that members requested: special versions for Congressional spouses and chiefs of staff, for example) if and when Congress establishes a bulk purchase account. Until then, however, the approval requirements to make the apps for Congress available in the public app store or work with educational partner for closed distribution are too onerous to make the project successful.

Elevator is just one example of the kind of functionality that makes sense to have in a Congress-only app, among many. Committees have frequently expressed a desire for apps that would enable information dissemination and discussion among staffers of committee members. Basic Congressional operations such as scheduling, travel, procurement, and security updates could be more securely handled through closed apps developed specifically for the institution. Establishing the ability to build enterprise apps for lawmakers and staffers — as organizations and businesses frequently do for their own employees––is a basic and important step towards “modernizing” Congress.

Lorelei Kelly is a Fellow and leads the Resilient Democracy Coalition at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University.

Marci Harris is co-founder and CEO of POPVOX, an online platform for legislative information and civic engagement.

 

 

June 7, 2019 | John Heffern

Today public funding of essential services is shrinking, creating significant challenges.  But there is a solution: public-private partnerships to drive bottom-up change. Enterprise-led development and partnerships can jumpstart innovation, inclusiveness, environmental sustainability, and shared prosperity.  

While serving as Ambassador to Armenia, my wife’s and my interest in Armenian archeology led to a major, multi-stake-holder, multi-million dollar public private partnership to promote rural development, entrepreneurship and innovation.  New enterprises are springing up in fruit processing and crafts. Rural sites, such as Armenia’s unique Areni Cave (below), are contributing to tourism and other rural job creation programs.

Areni Cave: Earliest Known Wine Making Vessels, Photo by Gregory Areshian, UCLA

Now, at Georgetown’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation and Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, I promote such bottom up change by fostering engagement and partnerships among embassies, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship organizations.  As entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship evolve to include more hybrid for profit and not for profit models, we seek to help drive that activity in a positive direction.   

I am connecting entrepreneurs with foreign embassies in Washington and U.S. embassies abroad.  This is uncontested market space, where little is being done to demonstrate to embassies and organizations the potential for mutually beneficial partnerships.  The partnerships are natural because the missions of our embassies and the entrepreneurship organizations overlap in fundamental ways. All these organizations can double their impact through enterprise-led development and partnerships.     

1. Linking our missions. The Department of State and U.S. embassies have long sought to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress.   At least five key American entrepreneurship groups have similar missions:

  • Ashoka: Support social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. 
  • Echoing Green: Support visionaries around the world who are transforming their communities, addressing economic development, racial and gender equity, and environmental sustainability.
  • Endeavor:  Create a world in which the most valuable & influential companies of our time are those solving humanity’s most pressing challenges. 
  • Unreasonable Goals:  Support the most effective entrepreneurial solutions in the world towards each of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Global Good Fund: Invest in leadership development to promote enterprise growth and achieve global good.

2. Creating Partnerships. I am building on these related missions to foster joint efforts.  To do this, I have initiated opportunities for embassies and organizations to meet and explore their shared goals and interests.

  • In March, I helped bring together the U.S. and Norwegian embassies, the Chamber of Commerce, and entrepreneurs from Ashoka and Unreasonable Goals to seek opportunities for collaboration.  
  • In April at the Spanish Embassy, I connected more than two dozen entrepreneurs with embassy and foreign trade personnel to help them double their impact through partnership.  

At both events, lively discussion unearthed several suggestions for changes in foreign assistance policy that could help promote entrepreneurship overseas.  Follow-up meetings to deepen collaboration are in the works. One common theme was the need for European embassies and governments to loosen restrictions on working with for profit social businesses to facilitate partnerships.  At our urging, French and EU officials agreed to look into this suggestion at a round table discussion on social entrepreneurship at the DC-based residence of Halcyon Incubator in April.  France is hosting a major summit on Social Entrepreneurship in July.

3. Building trust between embassies and entrepreneurs. I have devoted the last ten years of my Foreign Service and post-Foreign Service career to building this trust and creating these ties. Let me give one example.  In 2014, as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, I helped The Global Good Fund get established in the country and the region.  I invited the group to local community events and introduced them to key people to further social entrepreneurship in Armenia. Perhaps most effective, was a salon-style event hosted at my residence, which helped launch The Global Good Fund and other social entrepreneurship groups in Armenia and beyond.

Now at Georgetown, I am promoting these partnerships around the world.   Africa, as the continent with the world’s second fastest economic growth rate and fastest youth population growth, holds tremendous potential for entrepreneurs from around the world.  Enterprise-led development and social entrepreneurship have real potential to create jobs with positive social and environmental impact. We are taking advantage of several important near-term Africa-related opportunities to boost this potential and build trust.     

In May, the Department of State hosted a major two-day event on growth, investment and entrepreneurship in Ethiopia.  Government and embassy officials, investors, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship organizations used this opportunity to seek areas for collaboration and mutual benefit.  During this conference, we brought the key stake-holders to Georgetown to foster dialogue and brain-storm about next steps. One take-away was recognition of the tremendous work being done by Echoing Green to promote social entrepreneurship in East Africa and the desire to collaborate.  After the meeting, we linked Echoing Green’s leaders with Ethiopian Government officials, U.S. Embassy leaders and the key NGOs that sponsored the event.

Ethiopia Partnership Forum: Mortara Center, Georgetown

The U.S. Embassy in Togo, a leader in the State Department on social entrepreneurship promotion, hosted an important conference on the movement last year.  We participated in the program, and the excitement that it generated, led the embassy to host a three week boot camp for social entrepreneurs from five West African countries in June this year.   The strong response of local entrepreneurs to these events demonstrates the growing collaboration and trust between the key groups and officials involved.

4. Improving the entrepreneurial environment. The major entrepreneurship event of the year has been the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), co-hosted since 2009 by the United States and another country.  In June, we partnered with the Netherlands on GES2019, which was held in The Hague. Over two days, thousands of government officials and private sector leaders explored ways to advance the impact of entrepreneurship in five key areas:  agriculture, water, energy, health and connectivity. During the summit, we did what we could to build trust, promote partnerships, and improve the climate for entrepreneurship around the world, drawing on the lessons we have learned from this effort.

5. Expanding the vision of our students. A key element of the project has been the tremendous contribution of our Georgetown student volunteers.  Eight graduate and undergraduate students provided essential research on the state of entrepreneurship in the relevant countries, helped organize the events and drafted action plans.  None of the students had prior exposure to social entrepreneurship, so the learning curve has been steep and the experience rewarding. Together, they are working through the stages of the Beeck Center’s student engagement framework – Learn, Explore, Act and Partner.  We are building a cadre of committed and talented young people to help shape the social entrepreneurship movement around the world for years to come.

As this project moves into its second year, I will increasingly use these meetings and events to deepen the policy dialogue on enterprise-led development around the world and produce concrete outcomes. Through public-private partnerships, each organization and stake-holder will be able to double its impact as it seeks to accomplish its social, economic and environmental goals. I thank the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and the Beeck Center for giving me the opportunity to pursue this work.

by Alyssa Alfonso and Afras Sial

Afras Sial (left) and Alyssa Alfonso (right) attended the Sorenson Impact Center Winter Innovation Summit as Student Delegates this past February.

What was your first impression of Utah? What were you thinking on the way to WIS?

Alyssa: As I caught my breath in the Salt Lake City airport before heading to the University of Utah campus for the summit, I was nervous, excited, and a bit unsure of what the week would have in store. A foot of snow was in the forecast, which I had a feeling my work-appropriate flats squeezed into my carry-on were not equipped to handle. Similarly, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for three days of nonstop networking, panels, and ultimately creating a proposal to solve college affordability and the student loan debt crisis. An introvert at heart still learning how to share my narrative, the idea of giving my spiel to a “real professional” at a mission-driven organization made my feet go cold. But soon after arriving at the welcome dinner with each of the other 20 student delegates from social impact centers based in universities around the country, I felt much more reassured. A mix of undergraduates and graduate students, it was comforting to be surrounded by students who were all engaged in and passionate about the social impact space.  

Afras: Arriving in Utah, although I was returning to my home state, I found myself in a different state of mind. Rather than returning home for a winter or summer break, I had come to represent the Beeck Center in the Student Coalition for Social Impact as part of the Winter Innovation Summit (WIS). WIS describes itself as “the premier cross-industry event in social impact, innovation, and investing,” gathering “policymakers, funders, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs to explore the future of social innovation across the globe.” From our dinner on the first night, I could already see how WIS was realizing this vision as I met diverse students from across the country who shared a commitment to leaving the world better, but each in their own unique way. The next day, the summit began with a keynote by Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California. His story of choosing to return to his struggling hometown after “making it” in more elite circles set a reflective mood for the summit, challenging me to recenter my goals on impact, even if they were not nestled in buzzword-laced sphere of social impact.

What experiences prepared you for this moment?

Afras: Without my experiences with the Beeck Center, I would not have had the vocabulary or perspective to digest the discussions and challenges we encountered at WIS. As a student analyst, I learned about the impact investing space, early childhood development programs, and public-private partnerships, all of which featured prominently throughout the summit. Later as a GU Impacts Fellow at the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta, I experienced a more grassroots approach to social impact. That experience enabled me to think more critically during the summit about how policy innovations, like income-share agreements in higher education, affect individuals beyond the data. Nevertheless, the data remains important, which I learned while studying impact evaluation systems as a student researcher at the Sorenson Impact Center, an opportunity the Beeck Center was instrumental in helping me access. Now as a student of economics, I was pleased to hear from panelists on topics ranging from AI to housing affordability and health innovation how the empirical methods we learn and practice are being implemented in real-time (as opposed to multi-year academic endeavors) to achieve better outcomes.

Alyssa: As a junior, I had the opportunity to work with Harlem Commonwealth Council on their annual Impact Report, where I partnered with a team of graduate students to identify a range of measurable factors to correlate with impact. I also had the opportunity to work with Federal City Council as a GU Impacts fellow in summer 2018. Federal City Council worked in a variety of project areas, all centered around helping growth benefit all residents of the District, not just a select few. In writing a grant to pilot an Accessory Dwelling Unit program and working group to increase the amount of affordable housing in DC, building curriculum for students with community-based nonprofits, and attending meetings with BIDs and executive agencies, I was exposed to a huge variety of players and ways to get involved in mission-driven work. As I engaged in conversations with other students and young professionals from social impact organizations like the Lumina Foundation, Third Sector Capital Partners, and the Urban Innovation Fund, I was almost surprised at how much how much my work as a fellow informed my participation in conversations and what I was able to contribute.

What surprised you most about the WIS?

Alyssa: What most surprised me about the Summit was the network of connections I was able to form in just three short days of panels, keynotes, and skiing. While chatting with a student delegate over lunch on the first day, I coincidentally ran into a woman I had the opportunity to work with as a GU Impacts Fellow last summer – at the time of writing this blog, we’re planning to get coffee next week to talk more about her work and how she found her way into the social impact space. When another student delegate heard I was interested in affordable housing, she immediately put me in touch with her peer at Berkeley. We hopped on the phone together and spent over an hour talking about the importance of housing as a social issue that encompasses questions of mobility, equity, and the wealth gap in our country. Engaging in organic conversations like these made me feel much more comfortable sharing my own narrative as well as asking questions about their work. Now that the summit has concluded, I feel confident that I can not only continue but also initiate these conversations. I’m grateful that I was able to build on my previous experience at the WIS Summit to further conversations and my understanding of social impact. In the end, a summit is just a series of questions and conversations. We’re glad these conversations were ones we won’t soon forget.

Afras: One of our final experiences with the Student Coalition for Social Impact at WIS was its first-ever Impact Hackathon on college affordability and student debt. After five hours, our solution was still a bit rough. As a group of twenty-one students, we struggled to maintain consensus and seam together all the solution’s disparate components. However, at the end of it all, even if our solution does not generate impact itself, I know I will not forget the impact of the stories shared by our peers. As we worked to hone in on our issue, we heard from inspiring students like Alex, one of the few to leave foster care and complete an advanced degree, and Huda, who would not give up on the fight to increase student access to mental health resources.

 

By Regina Titi Ofei

I first got involved with the Beeck Center in the summer of 2017, as a student analyst, at a time when the Center was in the early stages of exploring and experimenting with various projects and focus areas for research and thought leadership. As a global health major and economics minor, I long sought after a space on campus where I could further explore the value of the intersection of these two disciplines, and I am happy to say that my time as part of the Beeck Center family afforded me this opportunity and more.  

As a space that prides itself in providing students, thought-leaders, and academics a common space to dream, break rules, collaborate across disciplines, and ideate solutions for rethinking the social sector and improving the lives of people everywhere, my passion to chart a career in the international development space was ignited.

My first project at the Center was to design a new student engagement strategy. Over the course of the summer, we developed a partnership with the Georgetown Weeks of Welcome, joined the steering committee of the Georgetown Student Entrepreneurship Exchange, and strengthened our partnerships with student led organizations on campus that shared the Center’s values.

With time, I took on more research responsibility, working specifically in the innovative financing portfolio. I supported the Center’s pay for success work and attended hill briefings and seminars across the district that explored the role of performance-based financing in accelerating progress and outcomes in numerous projects across the social sector. As part of this research, we worked on a on a case study on innovative public-private partnerships in New Zealand and explored how recidivism can be reduced in public prisons by leveraging innovative financing mechanisms in such settings.

While the Beeck Center has always been committed to investing in top student talent and nurturing students to be innovative and unafraid to take risks, it is undoubtedly at a very exciting period in its history, with a sharper focus and more concerted effort on student engagement with the development of the LEAP Framework, which places an intentional structure around how the center envisions student growth and participation over their four years on the hilltop. 

I share below how my social impact journey with the Center, and at Georgetown more broadly, fit into this framework: 

Learn: I first got introduced to some of the topics and research areas in the international development space through a class I took on the political economy of health and development. In that class, we explored the role of results-based financing in the health sector and the ways in which some international agencies like GAVI, the Global Fund, and UNITAID have leveraged innovative finance mechanisms for resource mobilization in their activities globally.

Explore: This class sparked in me an interest to find a space, outside of the classroom setting, where I can continue to test these ideas and learn more about how they are transferred and applied in other sectors beyond health. Having the opportunity to be sponsored by the Beeck Center to attend the Harvard Africa Business Conference broadened my knowledge and served as the trigger for my interest in social impact and pursuing a career in the international development space. I was also inspired by the voices I heard in an array of seminars and panels including with Shu Dar Yao, Head of Capital Formation at Social Finance INC., and with Beeck Center Director Sonal Shah, who brings a wealth of experience from the finance world to solving some of the most complex and intractable challenges that face the social sector today.

Act: As a student analyst at the Center, I continued to learn, be mentored by some of the brightest minds in the social sector, expand my knowledge in the space and assist in research and publications that seek to push the boundaries of thought in the social sector. One of the most formative experiences I had as an analyst was the opportunity to speak on a panel with Matt Fortier, Director of Student Engagement and Michael Bakan (GU Impacts Fellow ’17) at the annual Georgetown Board of Regents Meeting on our experiences learning and working at the Center and how it has shaped our understanding and interest in the social sector and achieving impact at scale.

Partner: Now as a student analyst alum, I continue to stay plugged into the events at the Beeck Center and look forward to strengthening the relationship between the Beeck Center and the African Society of Georgetown in my capacity as president this year. It will be a great way to get more students, especially from minority backgrounds, involved and interested in the impact at scale agenda and exposed to more opportunities to learn and grow in the social impact space.

As I get ready to graduate in May, I have accepted a position in Dakar, Senegal as an associate with IDinsight, a social impact advisory and impact evaluation firm. I am extremely excited to be entering the world of work, knowing that my experiences at the Beeck Center have created a firm foundation and launch pad for me to pursue my goals in the international development arena.

I remain grateful to mentors like Matt, Sonal, and Marta who were highly instrumental in my intellectual growth and sparked in me this desire to go back home and be part of Africa’s development at such an exciting time. 

Thank you Beeck Center and Hoya Saxa!! 

 

by Matt Fortier

We have an exciting student engagement program prepared for 2019, emblematic of the Beeck Center’s invigorated strategy and growing team. When I joined Beeck at the end of 2015, we were, as an organization, not yet two years old and very much in the exploratory phase of our work, engaging in a variety of projects from impact investing and data for social good, to evolving our flagship student engagement program, GU Impacts. At the verge of our 5-year anniversary, we still love to explore new ideas and concepts – that’s half the fun in our work in fact and core to our identity as an organization that thinks differently and learns from its failures as much as its successes – but we’re also applying a new rigor and proceeding with a sharper focus. Through previewing our Spring 2019 Student Engagement program and introducing our LEAP framework, we find a strong example of how the Beeck Center is maturing and progressing towards its goal of impact at scale.

The LEAP framework is grounded on the concept of a student’s journey in the social impact space. This journey invites students from across all Georgetown’s schools that have a range of interests and who will ultimately work across every sector. The journey is a progression that begins by establishing baseline knowledge and then builds on that knowledge through deeper learning that focuses on introspection, application, experience, and partnership. It pushes students to understand how systems work and to think about how they can be innovated upon to work better; to serve all people, and to promote equity. It pushes students out of their comfort zone and seeks to marry best practices in social impact education with an integration of our own leading-edge research.

LEARN
In the first stage of the LEAP journey, students are introduced to a topic such as impact investing; they Learn. Last semester, students learned about impact investing and Opportunity Zones through our inclusive economies fireside chat with Nonprofit Finance Fund Director Antony Bugg-Levine and Beeck Center Resident Fellow Lisa Hall.

EXPLORE
From there, they are invited to Explore – to dig deeper into a topic through a more hands-on, discussion-based and often client-based workshop or course. Last semester, students explored inclusive finance through our place-based impact investing workshop. This semester, students are exploring Opportunity Zones further through our Social Impact @ Scale course, taught by Beeck Center Executive Director Sonal Shah and through the School of Foreign Service’s Science Technology and International Affairs Program.

ACT
Next, we urge students to Act, engaging them in experiential learning programs such as our flagship GU Impacts fellowship or our Student Analyst program. These experiential learning programs have been a catalyst for the growing movement at Georgetown and more broadly for experiential learning as an integral part of today’s curriculum.

PARTNER
At the final stage of the LEAP journey, we invite our students to Partner. In this stage, Beeck student alumni partner from their own social impact platform; from within organizations or at the helm of a project or initiative. Last semester, we partnered with GU Impacts alumna Camille Bangug as the Co-Director of the Millennium Fellows Program. The inaugural program supported students across multiple universities, including sixteen Georgetown students, all leading social impact projects that addressed the Sustainable Development Goals. We celebrated their work last fall in our Youth Impact Conference, recognizing students like Camille, who joined a breakout panel that examined the role of youth in making the world a better place.

Through our partnership with Camille and the Millennium Fellows program, we engaged three Millennium fellows founding an initiative called Plan-It Earth. The Plan-It earth team was organized around a single idea: to host an annual ideathon at Georgetown that focused on climate change. These student leaders were motivated – they had witnessed the event at Duke and proposed to replicate and adapt the model at Georgetown, but they needed an institutional partner. They approached the Beeck Center to propose a partnership.

We are proud to share that we are leaning in to serve as a thought partner with Plan-It Earth, supporting the leaders of this seventeen-student team and working to make this event not only successful, but to serve as an incubator for our own approach to social impact. For example, we are working to ensure the ideathon is inclusive; that it presents and engages a diversity of ideas and people. We are integrating our own market-research, providing mentors from our incredible team of Fellows and leading breakout sessions on civic voice, data, and finance. On top of all this, we are integrating what we’ve learned from co-hosting our own challenges. This year’s inaugural ideathon examines the link between economic development and environmental protection. It has already attracted some 15 candidates, $20,000 in sponsorship from six different sources, and keynote speakers such as former science policy fellow at the EPA, Barbara Martinez, and noted policy consultant, Professor Jeremy Mathis. This event represents a true synthesis of our prior work and promises to be a great success.

From our founding five years ago, we’ve always hosted events, conferences, workshops, and classes. We’ve always done experiential learning and partnered with student leaders. We’ve always engaged in leading-edge research and worked across sectors for social impact at scale. But 2019 is different. As we celebrate our 5-year anniversary, we have a sharper understanding of how all these disparate pieces fit together. We have a clear and coherent vision that enables us to successfully train students to become the 21st Century leaders our world so sorely needs. Through the framework of the LEAP Journey, we are ensuring that our students have the tools and mindsets necessary to fulfill St. Ignatius’ mandate to “go forth and set the world on fire.”

November 8, 2018 | The Beeck Center

The Beeck Center recently convened 40 leading real estate investors and developers to Georgetown for a dialogue on Opportunity Zones, established under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to drive private capital into 8,700 designated low-income census tracts. Some analysts are predicting that more than $6 trillion in capital is eligible for investment in underserved communities. Annie Donovan, Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the U.S. Department of Treasury, shared remarks at the event.

The 2017 Act offers investors deferrals on capital gains invested in the nation’s most distressed areas — with the potential for full tax forgiveness on additional gains realized through Qualified Opportunity Funds. These funds must hold 90% of their assets in Opportunity Zones, including stock, partnership interests, and business property, encouraging investors to deploy capital strategically while also creating robust social infrastructure in capital-starved, under-resourced communities. With a median household income of $33,345, a poverty rate of 31.75%, and unemployment rate of 13.41%, opportunity zones stand to benefit immensely from newly mobilized equity.

Despite these provisions, however, many of the policy’s elements remained in flux until October 19, when the U.S. Department of Treasury issued its first round of regulatory guidelines and announced a 60–day comment period for stakeholder input. Attendees shared their perspectives on the guidelines, opening up a productive cross-sector exchange on vital matters of policy, regulation, and compliance.

With its sustained focus on innovative and scalable approaches to complex social challenges, the Beeck Center has long anticipated the need for a cross-sector approach to investing in underserved areas, seeking to ensure that this new legislation is used as a tool for community development and not solely for financial gain. The Center, with initial support from the Kresge Foundation, regularly convenes an expert group of community development practitioners to explore how Opportunity Zones can serve a double bottom line. This working group has grown to include over 40 organizations from across the country.

More recently, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, The Center and the Kresge Foundation reviewed nearly 150 letters of inquiry submitted by Opportunity Fund managers. And together with the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the New York Federal Reserve, the Center convened a roundtable of community development investors, researchers, and practitioners in July to discuss the future of Opportunity Zones and the importance of inclusive economic policies.

The real estate convening, supported by the Ford Foundation, furthered that conversation, providing a platform for discussions about potential shared frameworks for meaningful impact and leading-edge policies and practices that can keep people and communities at the heart of place-based investment strategies. This work builds upon the efforts of CDFIs, trusted partners with a record of proven impact in underserved communities.

Significantly, while the 2017 Act allows investors to benefit from Opportunity Zones through tax breaks and competitive returns, it in no way protects community stakeholders from gentrification, displacement, and other consequences that can accompany place-based investment.

The Beeck Center, in collaboration with the working group it leads, has drafted a list of guiding principles for Opportunity Fund investments:

Investors should request that fund managers integrate the needs of local communities into the formation and implementation of the Opportunity Funds.

Opportunity Fund investments should seek to be additive and generate equitable community benefits.

Investors should monitor, measure and track progress against impact objectives, allowing for continuous improvement.

Opportunity Funds should be transparent and held accountable, with processes and practices that remain fair and clear.

Fund managers and developers at this convening offered their own insights into these principles, emphasizing the need to balance support for community-centered investment strategies with fiduciary responsibility to maximize the value of their assets and returns to investors.

Here at the Beeck Center, we believe that economies that are truly inclusive can create sustainable growth across society, affording equitable opportunities through financial innovation. And as protectionist policies at home and abroad destabilize markets and perpetuate injustices that have marginalized historically underserved communities, inclusive practices can help us change course decisively — driving down inequality and ensuring widespread economic and financial well-being.

We believe that the best policies put people first, and that putting people first begins with bringing people together— especially folks who might not cross paths very often, like the investors, developers, and government representatives we welcomed to campus for this dialogue. It’s why a centerpiece of our work is investing in leaders from the public, private, and the social sectors; convening them to explore the most wicked problems we face today; and creating the multi-sector infrastructure we need to deliver positive outcomes across society, particularly for our most vulnerable populations.

We drive impact, rather than implementation, at scale because we see the change around us as a reminder — that well-intentioned initiatives out of touch with everyday life are inevitably out of reach for the people they’re meant to serve. And we challenge ourselves and our partners to rethink the fundamental assumptions that introduce and perpetuate structural injustice, leveraging our work across policy innovation and impact investing to move our thinking forward and more meaningfully serve our communities.

Opportunity Zones offer a great deal of promise to that end, and it’s up to all of us to ensure that everyone stands to gain.