Founded by civic technologist Noel Hidalgo, BetaNYC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping key New York City constituencies take advantage of already-accessible open civic data. Hidalgo has identified New York’s borough president offices and community boards as particularly promising sites of leverage where better access to civic data could be of direct and immediate value to local governance, and where better technical literacy and capacity could tangibly improve New Yorkers’ experience of government.
Among its programs, BetaNYC runs a Community Information Fellowship that places CUNY undergraduates in the Manhattan Borough President’s office, where they identify and work to fill gaps in technical expertise at the community board. This grant would build on that program to pilot a “Civic Innovation Lab” in the Borough President’s office that will build prototype solutions to data problems identified by these fellows. The grant is being made to the Fund for the City of New York, a not-for-profit that provides fiscal sponsorship and administrative support to charitable efforts aimed at benefiting the City and its residents.