Today, Alberto and Olga Maria Beeck announced a recommitment to the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University with an additional $5 million gift. The investment will support the Center’s work to improve systems that are the foundation for daily life, using data, design, technology, and policy as instruments for equitable societal change.
“It has been a point of great pride to witness the growth of the Beeck Center—from an ambitious idea nearly a decade ago to a living, breathing representation of our passion for experiential learning and social impact,” said Alberto Beeck. “Our family is honored to continue our support of the Beeck Center as it keeps charting the course for meaningful social impact careers for Georgetown students.”
Since 2014, the Beeck Center’s projects have impacted over 260 million people across the globe and worked with over 300 Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students.
“Eight years ago, the Beeck family brought to life their vision to develop Georgetown students as future social impact leaders,” said Cori Zarek, executive director of the Beeck Center. “That tenet has remained central to our mission. As a result of the Beeck family’s continued commitment, our center has evolved into a space where students work directly with expert practitioners on new ways for public and private institutions to leverage data and analytics, digital technologies, and service design to help more people. Together, we are working toward a better and more equitable future.”
The Beeck family’s continued support will help scale the projects that the Center’s fellows, staff, and students have spent years building and researching while also taking on new and exciting workstreams and research aimed at making systems work for all. This gift follows the Beeck family’s initial $10 million investment to launch the Center in 2014.
“We are deeply grateful to Alberto and Olga Maria Beeck for their continued generosity and leadership in our community,” said John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University. “This gift expands the Beeck Center’s work to pursue impactful policy solutions and to provide practical learning experiences for our students so they can contribute to meaningful and equitable social change for the common good.”
ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON WORK SUPPORTED BY $5M BEECK FAMILY GIFT:
Expanding capacity to support digital infrastructure
This month, Kirsten Wyatt joined the Beeck Center as its newest fellow to facilitate the growth of the Digital Service Network alongside fellow Aaron Snow. She also serves as an elected school board member and has worked in local government in Oregon, Virginia, and North Carolina. She founded the Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) professional association, where she built and cultivated that network to more than 4,800 members from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, the UK, Israel, and Australia. When she’s not leading networks, she’s a co-host of the GovLove podcast—the top-ranked local government podcast—and is on the editorial board for the State & Local Government Review academic journal. In April, Michaela Caudill joined the network as a community manager after several years of experience with data governance, specifically in project management, training coordination, and practice area management. The Digital Service Network and the Intergovernmental Software Collaborative will be supported by researcher Colleen Pulawski. Colleen joins the team this month from the local government innovation space where she conducted research and managed programs for innovation teams in Denver, Boston, and Minneapolis. She also co-founded Free Machine, a nonprofit collective of thinkers and do-ers straddling the borders of emerging technology, public policy, and creative practice.
Creating a more resilient and responsive democracy
The Beeck Center published Congressional Data, Redefined, which discusses Congress’s constitutional duty to modernize its data practices and provides research and recommendations for how to arrive at this future state. The report—written by Beeck Center Student Analysts Jonathan Finch and Ta’Corian Tilley, both Georgetown graduate students—is part of the Modernizing Congress project led by Lorelei Kelly. This summer, Kelly completes her tenure as a Beeck Center fellow. Her tireless work at the Beeck Center and throughout her career has directly informed critical pieces of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, laid the foundation for the newly created House Digital Service, and created a more resilient and responsive democracy.
Convening public interest practitioners working on the social safety net
This spring, Digital Benefits Network, led by fellow Ariel Kennan, launched to support public interest practitioners who work on social safety net benefits policy, service delivery, and technology. Shanelle Roberson joined as community manager. Her previous experience includes serving as the Director of Youth Justice Initiatives at Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice and she previously served in AmeriCorps. Elizabeth Bynum Sorrell will join as a researcher for the network. Elizabeth recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and brings experience researching human-centered design principles and applications.
Partnering local city and county practitioners with community organizations
Alongside partners at the Centre for Public Impact, Knight Foundation, and Google.org, the Center announced the second The Opportunity Project for Cities sprint series with four new communities: Long Beach, CA; Detroit, MI; Macon-Bibb County, GA; and Miami-Dade County, FL. The 20-week design sprint will partner government practitioners and community organizations with pro bono support from Google to research, design, and create digital tools that address residents’ most pressing needs. To help support this exciting work, Harold Moore joined the team in May as a senior technical advisor to work with the cities as they design and build solutions with customized products. Harold has experience creating new digital solutions across various organizations, such as UNICEF, AirBnb, the Special Olympics, and BlueState Digital. He joins fellow Katya Abazajian, who has led this work since 2020.
Documenting data best practices to help decision-makers effectively govern
Over the past year, the Beeck Center partnered with the National Governors Association to release a free online resource to help state policymakers and other public servants use data to develop innovative projects to benefit residents. The Data Labs Playbook reflects lessons learned from Data Labs: Roadmap to Recovery, a program of eight state teams that developed a data project to support COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. The inaugural cohort of Data Labs states addressed a wide range of challenges, including ensuring state procurement practices are inclusive and equitable in Illinois, assessing the effectiveness of workforce programming in Wisconsin, and identifying barriers to supportive housing uptake in Colorado.
DataLabs will add one new fellow and two new program managers to the team in the months ahead—follow the Beeck Center’s social media accounts and check back on the “Join the team” page for those postings.