Good Measure is delighted to announce ServeAustin and the collaborative of MEASURE, Huston Tillotson University and Capacity Catalyst as its Special Projects Fund recipients!
In an effort to support the broader Central Texas data ecosystem, Good Measure Steering Committee members created a pooled fund this year to support collaboratives or individual organizations working to advance one or more of the following goals:
- Increasing data and evaluation capacity
- Building a culture of learning around data
- Increasing data availability and accessibility
Good Measure received many high-quality and innovative proposals in response to the Special Projects Fund. “We were thrilled to launch this initiative,” noted Virginia Potter of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “All of the proposals for the funds impressed us in one way or another – there’s a ton of thoughtful, complex, and exciting collaborative work using data happening across our community.”
MEASURE (a community-based organization whose mission is to use data and education to empower communities to eliminate social disparities), Huston Tillotson University (Austin’s Historically Black College and University), and Capacity Catalyst (a nonprofit that works to build bridges between academia, professionally applied research, and the social sector in Austin) came together to create an innovative undergraduate Community-Based Research course set to launch in the fall of 2019. According to Project Coordinator Noah Cole:
“The course aims to build a network of skilled researchers of color who are representative of the communities they serve and are focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The students receive training and mentorship through a hybrid course approach that combines traditional lectures with mentor-guided problem-based learning. In addition, the students will be connected to local nonprofit or community organizations that have an equity focus and may not have the capacity to conduct community-based research.”
The Community-Based Research course seeks to build more connections for students into the applied research sector locally and increase the pipeline of black and brown researchers in our community while supporting the research capacity needs of community-based organizations.
ServeAustin was formed in 2015 by eight state AmeriCorps organizations that provide direct service to youth and adults living in low-income communities in Central Texas: Literacy First, Breakthrough Central Texas, American YouthWorks, Communities in Schools of Central Texas, College Forward, Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, 4-H Capital, and Front Steps. ServeAustin’s Managing Director Natalie Gray shares the following about the collaborative’s goals:
“Through the work our organizations do individually and together to improve local conditions in education, housing, career advancement, and community resources, ServeAustin aims to increase racial and socioeconomic equity in Central Texas. Because we believe that completing a service year can be a life-changing experience that builds skills, expands networks, and creates pathways to higher education and employment, we are working together to dramatically increase access to these opportunities for local residents of color and to meaningfully engage more opportunity youth in service.”
ServeAustin plans to use Good Measure’s Special Projects funding to seek consultation in aligning core metrics, data collection, and tracking across the eight local AmeriCorps programs, with the ultimate goal of creating a shared database.