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New in data: A guide to responsible data sharing

Working to improve residents’ economic mobility is complex, and often requires collaboration between multiple institutions and levels of government. That complexity means responsible data sharing, especially by governments, is more important than ever. We have only to read the daily headlines to see how our public and private institutions are failing to meet our expectations when it comes to keeping our information safe and using it responsibly.

That is why I’m so excited about the Sharing Data For Social Impact guidebook published in January by Natalie Evans Harris, Data and Digital Fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Natalie’s guide offers a new, well-thought-out approach to information sharing, with the aim of producing the best possible outcomes while respecting the limits of laws and social norms.

I’m even more thrilled that Natalie has committed to working with us at the Centers for Civic Impact over the next few months, putting her guidebook to good use in the hands of government partners. This effort will involve developing training materials, worksheets and other relevant resources to assist practitioners in the field. As we gain experience helping our partners apply these best practices, we’ll be sharing the lessons we learn for Natalie to incorporate into future editions of her guidebook and supplemental materials.

My colleague Sheila Dugan is currently helping a cohort of cities examine their existing data sharing agreements. As part of our work with the What Works Cities Economic Mobility Initiative, in the coming months we’ll expand this assistance to incorporate Natalie’s guidebook and the additional resources we are creating. Eventually, we’ll offer them to our broader network of government partners.

If you’re interested in learning more, are setting up a data sharing program in your jurisdiction, or want to contribute:

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