What’s New in Civic Tech: NYC Analytics Leader Departs City

Plus, Code for America names Emily K. Tracy as chief revenue officer; the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge focuses on ideas stemming from COVID-19; City Innovate shares its STIR Lab partnerships; and more.

Rush hour traffic in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City.
Rush hour traffic in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City.
Shutterstock/Ryan DeBerardinis
Kelly Jin, chief analytics officer for New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, is departing city service for a new position with the Knight Foundation, she announced this week on Twitter.

Jin, who has spent the past three years with New York City, will become the Knight Foundation’s new vice president for communities and national initiatives, a role in which the group says she will “help lead our efforts to build informed and engaged communities.” In a press release, Knight also noted that Jin would begin in this role in February. Community and national initiatives ranks as Knight’s largest program area. 

Her most recent project for New York City involved the launch of the NYC Recovery Data Partnership, which is a first-of-its-kind project that teams nonprofit groups, community organizations and private entities in order to share data around optimizing the city’s response to COVID-19.

Jin brings an impressive resume of data analytics experience that includes stints in both the public and private sectors. Before coming to New York City, she worked as director of the John and Laura Arnold Foundation’s project development and grant management. Before that, she served as adviser to the U.S. chief technology officer and U.S. chief data scientist. She also helped build Boston’s analytics efforts with that city’s local government.

“Now, more than ever, it is pivotal to support equitable recovery in communities. I am excited to join an organization with such deep local roots and a commitment to empowering communities with the information they need to shape their futures,” Jin said in a statement.

Code for America Names Emily K. Tracy as Chief Revenue Officer

Code for America (CfA) — a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that essentially leads American civic tech efforts — has named Emily K. Tracy as its chief revenue officer (CRO).

In a press release announcing the appointment, CfA noted that Tracy “will lead Code for America’s effort to develop new revenue models to help scale its work to design equitable government nationwide, supporting the organizations’ rapid expansion and growth and providing new consulting services.” In this new role, Tracy will report directly to the group’s CEO, Amanda Renteria.  

“Code for America has been at the forefront of the movement to reimagine government for more than a decade,” Tracy said in a statement. “Now, in the midst of this pandemic, Code for America has the opportunity to scale nationwide and ensure that equitable government services are available to all. I look forward to working with this incredible team to achieve this critically important mission.”

Tracy comes to the position with more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising exec in the social sector, having served as chief development officer at Polaris, which ranks as the leading anti-trafficking group in the country. In that position, Tracy oversaw revenue diversification, planning and growth. Tracy also has experience in similar work as the national director of development at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

The past 12 months have been busy for CfA in terms of leadership and staffing. In April, the group announced Renteria as its new CEO. In October, it named Arlene Corbin Lewis as its chief communications officer, and in December it hired David Newville to lead its work around tax benefits.

2021 Global Mayors Challenge to Focus on Ideas Stemming from COVID-19 Crisis

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the launch of its 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, an annual local gov innovation competition, which this year will focus on ideas stemming from response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced in a press release.

The way the competition works is that it will accept applications from urban innovators across the world, next narrowing it down to 50 finalists. Fifteen grand prize winners will then receive $1 million each — as well as multi-year support from Bloomberg and its network — in the service of developing and putting into place solutions and ideas.

The word “global” is also new to the title of this competition, which is going fully international for the first time this year. It is also upping the amount of funding and number of recipients over past years, all of which it attributes to “a reflection of the urgency felt by cities around the world to develop new approaches to the pandemic.”

The four themes for the contest this year are economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and good governance and equality.

The competition is open to cities with populations greater than 100,000, which are invited to submit related ideas at any stage of development. Applications for this year’s competition are currently online and slated to close on March 21.

City Innovate Announces 2021 STIR Lab Partnerships

City Innovate’s STIR Labs program — which aims to foster government and academic partnerships in the service of communities — has now announced the 17 partnerships between local governments and universities that will shape its first cohort of 2021.

Participants in this year’s cohort come from all across the country. One pairing, for example, will see Santa Fe, N.M., teaming with the University of New Mexico to use design-related methodologies as they study entrepreneurship and tech work in Santa Fe to find and address needs there. 

The full list of pairings can be found on the STIR Labs website.

NYC Looks to Hire Digital Inclusion Personnel

The New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer is looking to hire three director-level positions in the service of digital inclusion and broadband equity work, all of which are in the service of implementing the NYC Internet Master Plan.

Those three positions are director of data; director of digital inclusion and partnerships; and director of broadband technology. More information about all of these posts — as well as the path for submitting an application — can be found on NYC’s website.

Associate editor for Government Technology magazine