Co-Develop Community Data Tools with the National Equity Atlas

A Request for Letters of Interest to Partner with the National Equity Atlas to Co-Develop Community Data Projects (PDF)

Across the country, local organizations are leading collaborative, cross-sector efforts to advance equity-driven strategies for inclusive prosperity. Data disaggregated by race, geography, and other demographics is foundational to their efforts, both to build a shared narrative about how and why equity matters to their community’s future and to inform community action and measure progress toward results. When informed by the voice, wisdom, and experience of those most impacted by structural racism and systemic bias, data projects can empower collective action, guide decision-making, undergird advocacy, and inform policy development and investment.

The National Equity Atlas team at PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE) invite local partners working in the ten priority communities of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to submit proposals to work with our team on data projects to inform their equity initiatives.[1] This opportunity builds on the series of community equity profiles we produced in 2017 and focuses on supporting local leaders in developing more effective data-driven narratives, community-owned data projects, and knowledge products that strengthen and accelerate their equity efforts.

Over the next two years, we will partner with five community organizations or collaboratives to co-develop data projects that advance equitable growth strategies locally. We can support three types of data projects.

  • Customized online equitable growth data dashboards. These interactive dashboards would include a set of 5-7 locally-prioritized indicators for monitoring progress on equitable growth, along with a narrative framing the data and solutions being advanced by the community partners. They would include indicators of demographic change, economic equity, transportation justice, housing, education, or other indicators for which data are available via the National Equity Atlas/our equity indicators database (see the “Data and Methods” page). We could possibly include 1-2 indicators from local sources depending on availability and need. Example: Data Summaries page on the National Equity Atlas.


  • Responsive data analyses to support policy campaigns related to housing, health equity, equitable development, and economic security. These analyses could be a series of short and sharable fact sheets or infographics that frame an issue with local data in support of a campaign. They might include data for a series of geographies ranging from the county or regional-level down to the neighborhood or provide data across a set of issues like housing affordability or employment equity. Example: Renter Week of Action fact sheets.


  • Data-driven narratives to make the case for racial and economic equity. This could be a short report or a web page detailing the economic imperative of racial equity, providing key indicators, and highlighting effective strategies and policies to achieve equity. Example: California’s Tomorrow.


Prospective applicants are encouraged to propose tools that support efforts to drive policy and systems changes that advance racial equity and inclusive growth in their communities. For more examples of existing tools developed in partnership with community organizations, please visit the National Equity Atlas at Also see our report presenting 10 design principles for health equity data tools.

The National Equity Atlas team will work with a lead community-based organization or collaborative in five of the priority communities over a six-month period during 2018-2019 to co-design a data product and engage other community partners in the process. We seek local partners who are interesting in producing this tool or analysis to inform their policy work and raise their profile on equity policy issues. During the tool development process, community partners would be asked to:

  • Offer an initial vision for a data tool or product (through this application);
  • Co-develop the tool or analysis with the National Equity Atlas team;
  • Convene other local organizations, leaders, and residents to inform the design and development of the tool;
  • Regularly communicate with the National Equity Atlas team via email, phone, and videoconference;
  • Lead the planning of a local release event to share the produce more broadly with community leaders, policymakers, business leaders, and the media; and
  • Participate in two brief survey assessments to help gauge the effectiveness of the project, shortly after the tool’s release and one year after the release.


About the National Equity Atlas

The National Equity Atlas ( is a comprehensive online resource that shares indicators of demographic change and economic equity for 301 different U.S. geographies (the 100 largest cities, 150 largest regions, all 50 states, and nationwide). Maintained through a partnership between PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), the Atlas draws on a unique indicators database that incorporates hundreds of data points from public and private data sources and includes historical data as well as demographic projections through 2050. Through timely analyses, reports, and blog posts, the Atlas provides local leaders with data to track, measure, and make the case for inclusive prosperity.

Submission Deadline and Selection Process

There will be two informational webinars about the project, where interested partners can learn more about the types of tools and analyses that the Atlas team has produced and ask any questions related to the project.  These webinars will take place on Thursday, May 3 at 12pm PT/3 pm ET and Friday, May 4 at 12pm PT/3 pm ET. The Atlas team is also available to vet project ideas with community partners.

Organizations interested in this opportunity should complete the online application by May 25, 2018 to be considered. Please direct all questions to James ( via email, specifying “Data Tool LOI Question” in the subject line.

PolicyLink and PERE will review and evaluate all applications and select two projects to work on in mid-2018 and three projects to work on in early 2019. All applicants will be notified if they are selected by June 8, 2018.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Potential to support community-driven policy and systems change to advance racial and economic equity. We are looking for data projects that aim to leverage data to influence public policy, resource allocation, and decisionmaking. This includes all points in the policy process from informing and framing the debate to monitoring progress toward equity results. We seek partners that have a track record of building inclusive coalitions that advance equity solutions.
  2. Potential to build community power and capacity. We are looking for data projects that engage impacted communities in the tool development process and increase community capacity to influence the policy debate by strengthening their use of data to track, measure, and make the case for equity solutions. We believe that communities that bear the brunt of inequities should be at the forefront when creating data tools, both to inform tools with community knowledge and ensure tools meet community needs and aspirations. We are looking for projects and partners that will undertake this data project in a way that engages communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations, such as the transgender and/or disabled community, in the process

In addition, we will consider the diversity of places, projects, populations of focus, and levels of community data capacity across the five projects.

Download this request for letters of interest as a PDF.

[1] The ten priority communities are: Albuquerque, NM; Farmington, NM; Las Cruces, NM; Detroit, MI; Battle Creek, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Jackson, MS; Sunflower County, MS; Biloxi, MS; and New Orleans, LA