DataKind connects nonprofits with data scientists who help them make more informed decisions and run programs that are empirically proven to work. Complicated problems get a lot simpler when you hone in on which variables might be addressed to make the biggest change. DataKind helps simplify complex problems for nonprofits in three ways. First, it sponsors weekend-long “DataDives”—reverse hackathons that involve sifting through and analyzing already collected data to prototype new solutions and uncover insights to help organizations advance their missions. Second, it facilitates a network of pro-bono data scientists who work with nonprofits to help them be more efficient and effective. Third, DataKind tackles complex, sector-wide issues through collaborations with corporate, nonprofit, and governmental agencies, which share data in a way that moves all their goals forward together.
Since launching in 2011, DataKind has completed 183 projects for 138 organizations around the world. Previous initiatives include a predictive map that detect crop disease in Ethiopia and a smarter database to help Illinois mental health workers better anticipate different client risks. DataKind recently completed its first DataKind Labs project, working with Microsoft and the cities of New York, Seattle, and New Orleans to create models that could help reduce traffic deaths. Its next big initiative will be centered on financial transparency between citizens and governments. In October 2016, philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network invested $2 million DataKind.