Data for Civic Engagement: Full RFP details

Now through December 13, Knight Foundation is seeking ideas that develop innovative approaches to this question:

In what new ways can we transform how data is collected and used to build stronger, thriving, and more engaged communities?

Background            
Knight Foundation works to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. Our work in Smart Cities seeks to support stronger, more engaged communities by enabling the voice of the community to be reflected in the design and use of technology..

The growth in available data through digital technology is already reshaping communities around the world. It’s estimated that ninety percent of all the world’s data was generated in just the last two years. Data.gov, the home of the U.S. government’s open data, houses more than 250,000 datasets. In 2013, McKinsey research identified seven areas of the U.S. economy that could generate an additional $3 trillion a year through open data. Now, more private organizations are actively publishing open data, such as Uber Movement’s Open Data portal, which provides anonymised data from over two billion transportation movements for non-commercial re-use. 

The Challenge
These sources of data, while often “open” in a technical sense, require knowledge, expertise and experience to collect, analyze or put to use. The potential of data to bring residents together and solve problems is immense: data can help us better understand and improve the communities we live in, serve as a spark for civic dialogue and conversation, and enable us to hold governments and other institutions accountable. 

These data, like the community newspapers of John S. and James L. Knight’s era, are the common set of facts about a community. Taking advantage of data requires that residents make use of and put data to work in the service of community.

What We’re Looking For
Knight Foundation is seeking innovative proposals for projects and programs that put data in the service of more engaged communities. This includes, but is not limited to, projects such as:

  • New ways to collect and analyze data that support civic engagement to strengthen the community and address community challenges.
  • New approaches for displaying, interpreting and communicating data to serve, empower and engage residents. 
  • More ways to bring residents together to discuss and use data for civic and social purposes.
  • Efforts that help residents improve their ability to analyze and use data for civic engagement.

Proposals don’t need to focus on a particular topic or issue, nor will we only consider proposals that seek to develop or implement a new technology. 

We encourage ideas that help people of diverse backgrounds, interests and views, and without technical expertise, to understand and take advantage of data. This may also include efforts that change how residents interact with existing uses of data.

Who is eligible?
We will consider projects from individuals and organizations from both public and private sectors. While this opportunity is open to projects operating in any of the 26 communities where Knight invests, we will seek to concentrate awards in fewer communities where there is a greater confluence of interest.

How do you apply?
If interested, submit a proposal by Dec. 13, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Your proposal should address the following questions:

  • What is your idea?: a brief description of your proposed project.
  • Why?: a description of how your proposed project supports greater resident engagement with and through data.
  • Why you?: a description of why you, your team or your organization is right for this project.
  • Resources?: the estimated total project budget. 

After an initial review, a smaller set of finalists will be asked to submit additional information for consideration.

RFP Schedule

  • RFP opens: Nov. 12, 2019
  • Informational webinar: Nov. 20, 2019
  • Submissions due: Dec. 13, 2019

Have questions?
For more information, view  our FAQa blog post by Lilian Coral and the press release on this RFP. You may also watch a recording of our informational webinar or email [email protected].