Frequently Asked Questions

We know you’re busy. We want to keep the process simple. Complete a short and straightforward application form → Have a 30-minute conversation with our grant team → Community Data Platforms creates a scope of work with your input → Recieve grant
Any institution that is considered an “anchor institution” for a U.S. city is invited to apply. Anchor institutions include community-focused entities such as governments, health care organizations, economic development agencies, philanthropies, and regional planning organizations, among others. An anchor institution is an organization or entity that can have an impact on the community they serve at scale. They are enmeshed in the community to the point where both the organization and the community’s well-being are intertwined. Applicants may be public or private.
Community Data Platform’s 2020 Grants are designed to supercharge your analytics by 50% - therefore, applicants are expected to invest 2/3rds of the total project cost while Schmidt Futures covers the remaining 1/3rd. Project applicants should be prepared to invest $80,000-160,000 in a project. With Schmidt Futures funding, the budget grows to $120,000-240,000.
We do not require grant reporting for recipients of CDP’s 2020 Grants. Once a contract is in place for your community data platform, CDP does the work for you. We will require periodic meetings throughout the project, but that’s it.
It can be dangerous to make decisions and set policy with bad or inaccurate data. CDP uses three sources of data: local/administrative data (city and county data), commercial data (mobility, demographic, etc.), and national data. It has a data aggregation team which reviews datasets and QAs them for the purpose of the question being answered. This approach ensures access to data sets that are critical to high-quality analytics.
Data usage and privacy are critical topics globally and specifically here at CDP. We take very seriously our responsibility to handle data in a safe, responsible, and ethical manner. Not only do we follow the letter of the law by unquestionably adhering to all state and federal regulations, but we also follow the spirit of the law. We are committed to abiding by industry standards, utilizing best practices, and keeping abreast of recent developments in the data field to ensure we’re operating at the highest level possible.
We believe in an open, transparent approach to data. Data should be broadly accessible and available to leaders, decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public. However, simply having an open data policy generally doesn’t answer leaders’ questions. And data collaboratives indicate an interest in a community-wide effort but managing volunteers and disparate teams can be inefficient.

While data (and collaboration) are very important, the methodologies and tools are paramount. Communities are increasingly valuing evidence-based answers – which are the result of reliable analytics. While some communities have datasets, they often lack reliable analytics.

Perhaps equally as important are clear and compelling visualizations. Data in a report only reaches the decision-makers and quickly grows stale. But engaging with informative visualizations allows the whole community to understand the issues, facts, and potential solutions. At CDP, we’re known for our dashboards. They are digestible and continually updated. (See above for some examples.)
It is very difficult and incredibly expensive to bring together a team with the diversity of skills and expertise required to successfully build and maintain a data platform for a single community. Like any successful multiplayer team, no one person can drive comprehensive solutions. CDP offers a world-class team of experts who have successfully navigated these issues and have a track record of effectively and efficiently answering these pressing questions.

CDP’s approach “fractionalizes” a data analytics team. When a city hires a “data czar” to help surface pressing questions and assist in aggregating administrative data, that can be a key contact for a larger, outsourced team.

The Pew Charitable Trusts made the following point in the article “How States Use Data to Inform Decisions” that,

“Budget pressures often leave state agencies [or cities] struggling to maintain funding for research and analysis, and result in salaries that make it difficult to retain staff skilled in data matching and complex analyses. Data quality necessary to support detailed analyses is usually uneven at best.”
CDP is happy to assist in explaining the opportunity to any organization looking to lead or to fund this opportunity. We expect this could be done by collaborative video calls. But the responsibility for identifying funding beyond the matching grant needs to rest among anchor institutions in the community. CDP and Schmidt Futures are seeking to identify communities that view data analytics as a worthy - even urgent - investment funded by local community resources.
Yes, please send questions to Vanessa Emery, Project Manager, at We are happy to discuss the grant in further detail and field questions you may have. We want the application process to be as transparent and collaborative as possible, and we welcome all questions and feedback.