The volunteers at Code for San Francisco do some amazing work, but there are times when a financial investment would help bring their projects to completion. The goal of the Project Investment Fund is to enable projects to reach their milestones, and to help support projects beyond what can be built for free. Microsoft suggested this idea late in 2016 and Code for San Francisco is glad to be the first brigade to pilot this new funding program. Microsoft is making the funds available as grants to individual brigade projects to help them bridge development gaps, increase impact, and reach sustainability.
Project teams were invited to submit proposals for funding to cover expenses such as event planning, software licensing, application hosting, promotion/advertising, or training. Our review panel was made up of civic tech veterans:
Scott Mauvais - Microsoft, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation
Lawrence Grodeska - CivicMakers, Founder
Krista Canellakis - Deputy Innovation Officer, Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation
We were excited to be able to fund all three project applicants to the first round of the program: the UX Research Group, the Data Science Working Group, and SFSBook!
The UX Research Group is a group of design minded individuals within the brigade that applies user-centered design, design thinking methods, and lots of post-it notes to improve Code for San Francisco projects and the overall Brigade experience. They have made numerous contributions to the Code for San Francisco member experience in the past including: defining personas of brigade membership, improving signage, and prototyping solutions for matching members with projects. With the grant, the group plans to enhance their efforts to serve brigade membership via design application software licenses, materials, and user testing with the intention of fleshing out their ideas for a digital project matchmaking platform, improved brigade signage, and accessibility of the brigade. See their repository to learn more.
The Data Science Working Group’s primary purpose is to efficiently assess, inspire, and tackle Code for San Francisco’s data science needs, as well as to help the City and other brigades with their data science needs whenever appropriate. In the past, they have worked successfully with a number of community organizations to help them answer questions about their data including the California Department of Justice, Friends of the Urban Forest, and the SF Department of the Environment. The grant will help them procure the additional compute resources and services that they need to take on even larger datasets and answering even more complex questions. See their homepage for more.
SFSBook is creating an interactive resource guide based on the PDF referral guide compiled by San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR). This project emerged in early 2016 out of a general interest in providing tools to help women connect with each other and protect themselves from domestic violence. In collaboration with SFWAR (which provides a crisis line to help those in need identify rape and domestic violence resources for their specific locality and situation), the interactive resource guide concept was determined to be the best way to achieve this. They will utilize the grant to pay for hosting the application as well as user testing to ensure the application will be useful to the women it looks to serve and supporting community organizations. See their repository to learn more.
Header photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/af4CeF