Leveraging Data Science to address and help solve critical humanitarian issues

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Leveraging Data Science to address and help solve critical humanitarian issues

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    A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

    Leveraging the power of data science to solve social, economic, environmental and health issues for the service of humanity.

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Data For Humanity is a nonprofit that leverages data science to address and help solve critical humanitarian issues. We’re dedicated to tackling the world’s greatest problems with data science.


What We Do

Data Science, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve people’s lives by helping to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges and inefficiencies. While the corporate sector has effectively engaged the academic community in their problems, government, public and non-profit sectors have seen comparatively less application of data science methods. It is our mission to fill in this gap by bridging current Data Science, Machine Learning and AI technologies to serve the public good in fields as diverse as health care, transportation, the environment, criminal justice, human/civil rights, and economic inclusion.

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“When we have all data online, it will be great for humanity. It is a prerequisite to solving many problems that humankind faces.” ~ Robert Cailliau, Inventor of World Wide Web

Storytelling through Data Science

For thousands of years, storytelling has been an integral part of our humanity. Even in our digital age, stories continue to appeal to us just as much as they did to our ancient ancestors. Stories play a vibrant role in our daily lives—from the entertainment we consume to the experiences we share with others to what we conjure up in our dreams. Too often data storytelling is interpreted as just visualizing data effectively, however, it is much more than just creating visually-appealing data charts. Data storytelling is a structured approach for communicating data insights, and it involves a combination of three key elements: data, visuals, and narrative.

Paying it Forward

Our world is now measured, mapped, and recorded in digital bits. Entire lives, from birth to death, are now catalogued in the digital realm. These data, originating from such diverse sources as connected vehicles, underwater microscopic cameras, and photos we post to social media, have propelled us into the greatest age of discovery humanity has ever known. It is through Data Science that we are unlocking the secrets hidden within these data. We are making discoveries that will forever change how we live and interact with the world around us. By making a positive social impact through Data Science, we help create a culture of socially aware and conscientious individuals whose collective mission is to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.


Who We Are

We believe that we can create a better future through innovation, technology and societal change. This sense of hope leads to creative approaches and new models that work. We seek to nurture the spirit of the nonprofit community by recognizing and celebrating successes, as well as learning from valuable failures. We are a small yet dedicated team of diverse Data Scientists that believes in transparency, trustworthiness and integrity that continuously earns the public’s high regard for the nonprofit sector. This reflects an alignment between what we say, what we do, and how we do it. We want to share our passion for Data Science and start a conversation with you. This is a journey worth taking.

Our Team

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    Big things have a way of sneaking up on us.
    Let them change you.

    Doing what has never been done before is intellectually stimulating.

    The Future is Ours from Michael Marantz on Vimeo.

The Four Key Activities of a Data Science Endeavor

It starts with addressing a problem or concern.

  • Acquire

    This activity focuses on obtaining the data we need to solve a problem. Given the nature of data, the details of this activity depend heavily on the issue at hand, who stores, maintains and owns the data. As a result, its important to emphasize the importance of this activity and to encourage an expansive view on which data can and should be used. Eliminating the need for siloed data gives us access to all the data at once – including data from multiple outside sources. It embraces the reality that diversity is good and complexity is okay.

  • Prepare

    Great outcomes don’t just happen by themselves. A lot depends on preparation, and in Data Science, that means manipulating the data to fit our analytic needs for the problem at hand. This stage can consume a great deal of time, but it is an excellent investment. The benefits are immediate and long term.

  • Analyze

    This is the activity that consumes the lion’s share of attention. It is also the most challenging and exciting (we see a lot of ‘aha moments’ occur in this space). As the most challenging and vexing of the four activities, we are always aiming to do this better and faster. The Data Scientist actually builds the analytics that create value from data. Analytics in this context is an iterative application of specialized and scalable computational resources and tools to provide relevant insights from exponentially growing data. This type of analysis enables real-time understanding of risks and opportunities by evaluating situational, operational and behavioral data.

  • Act

    Every effective Data Science team analyzes its data with a purpose – that is, to turn data into actions. Actionable and impactful insights are the holy grail of Data Science. Converting insights into action can be a politically charged activity, however. It is also very situational. Like the Acquire activity, the best we can hope for is to provide some guiding principles to help you frame the output for maximum impact. The rest is up to you.

Our Focus Areas


Using data analytics to help both teachers and students and to improve access to quality education for all.

Roughly one in five students in the U.S. – nearly 700,000 students each year – do not complete high school on time. To help more students graduate on time, school districts across the country use intervention programs to help struggling students get back on track academically. Yet in order to best apply those programs, schools need to identify off-track students as early as possible and enroll them in the most appropriate intervention. Increasingly, forward-looking school districts are exploring data-driven “early warning systems” that can help schools find students in need of extra support.

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Poverty & Economics

Using data to monitor development impact, improve aid effectiveness, and enhance transparency and social accountability

Urban economies once dominated by industrial manufacturing are today struggling to stabilize population loss. Municipal governments responsible for the upkeep of urban neighborhoods with an aging housing stock are in need of tools for identifying decaying areas. Data science tools can assist cities with early detection of struggling neighborhoods and effective intervention techniques to revitalize decaying urban areas. The recent global recession put urban infrastructural problems – like blight, shrinking populations, and community viability – front and center in both domestic and international politics. Data Science can be used to aid cities, both large and small, in pinpointing where their challenges lay and work together to outline policies that will bring economic and community vitality back to these depressed areas.

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Used wisely, big data has the potential to help physicians make better decisions across the board – from personalized treatments to preventive care, and improved clinical trials.

Computing power lets us decode entire DNA strings in minutes. In the future, it will help us better predict disease patterns and develop cures. Imagine what would happen if the data from every smart watch and wearable device could be gathered and analyzed—clinical trials of the future would not be limited to small sample sizes. Data science is already being used to record and analyze the heart rhythms and breathing patterns of babies in neonatal ICUs, enabling algorithms that can predict infections 24 hours before physical symptoms appear. Effective healthcare research and delivery

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Human Rights

Using data science to better understand a given country’s human rights performance so we may better focus efforts to protect, improve and advance human rights in their country and around the world.

In today’s global digital ecosystem, cell phones can document and distribute images of physical violence. Drones and satellites can assess disasters from afar. Big Data collected from social media can provide real-time awareness about political protests. Yet practitioners, researchers, and policymakers face unique challenges and opportunities when assessing technological benefit, risk, and harm. We are researching how these technologies be used responsibly to assist people in need, prevent abuse, and protect from harm.

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Analyzed correctly, big data has the potential to help the environment by discovering new energy sources, match supply to demand, avoid power outages, gauge consumption patterns and more.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regularly conducts inspections of facilities that handle hazardous materials. Of the 1,500 inspections that the EPA conducts annually, approximately 30-40% of these inspections lead to finding a violation. The process for prioritizing inspections varies between regions; some inspections are prescribed (for example, large quantity generators are supposed to be inspected at least once every five years), some are chosen based on national priorities (a certain chemical or industry might be of interest) and the remainder are chosen by regional managers. Regional managers use their domain knowledge to select facilities to inspect. A data driven approach to investigation targeting can be built using historical inspection data to predict the risk of severe violations.

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Smart Cities

Using big data analytics in municipal and government decision-making to improve the delivery of goods, depth of services, and the quality of life in cities.

Data science is at the heart of the technology being used to create smart cities – for example, letting municipalities optimize traffic flow based on real-time traffic information in conjunction with social media and weather data.

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Security & Law

As data science continues to prove itself as a booming and upcoming field, it is making an impact in solving many of the issues in the world of crime

Data science is being applied to improving security and enabling law enforcement. Everyone has heard of the NSA’s use of big data to foil terrorist plots; these techniques are also used to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. Local police units can use data science techniques/tools to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity in much the same way as credit card companies use them to detect fraudulent transactions.

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We’re helping to make the world a better place.

Data For Humanity is a non-profit that is fiscally sponsored by SocialGood Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization (EIN: 46-1323531).

© Copyright 2017 – Data For Humanity


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Leveraging Data Science to address and help solve critical humanitarian issues


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