April 16 2014 News Release


For Immediate Release: April 16, 2014


Kevin Cavanaugh, The Helmsley Charitable Trust:
kcavanaugh@helmsleytrust.org, 212-953-2876

Social Science Research Council:
contact@measureofamerica.org, 718-517-3685

Helmsley Grant to SSRC’s Measure of America Supports Groundbreaking Interactive Tool to Map Human Need and Well-Being Across the New York Metro Area

 “NYC Data to Go” to Combine Federal, State and Local Data in a User-Friendly Website That Will Illuminate Trends and Gaps in Services to New Yorkers

BROOKLYN, N.Y., April 16, 2014 — The Social Science Research Council has launched “NYC Data to Go,” a Measure of America project to create a website that will map human need and well-being across the New York metro area. Consolidating federal, state, and local data on need, resources, and outcomes in a single curated source, the interactive visualization tool will transform isolated statistics into a holistic picture of life in the New York City area, borough by borough and neighborhood by neighborhood. For more details about this initiative, please see www.measureofamerica.org/nycdatatogo.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to apply what we’ve learned through Measure of America’s national work on indicators, data visualization, and mapping to critical issues here in our own backyard,” said Ira Katznelson, President of the Social Science Research Council.

Funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, NYC Data to Go aims to improve the lives of New Yorkers by enabling government and private service organizations to identify areas and populations in need throughout the city, assess the  availability and impact of existing resources, and compare statistics and trends on needs and services across the city. The app, which will be available to the public at no cost, is slated to launch in early 2015.

“We are delighted to support SSRC in this effort to create what will be a vital resource for the public and every institution that strives to serve those in need across our city,” said John R. Ettinger, CEO of the Helmsley Charitable Trust.  “NYC Data to Go is the ideal inaugural initiative for the Trust’s newly launched New York City Regional Grants Program, through which we intend to take a highly data-driven approach to uncover and address health, economic, and social needs throughout the area. Undoubtedly, this new tool will be an invaluable source of information as we execute New York program grants going forward.”

“Many existing map programs tend to focus on a single issue, offering a valuable resource for people doing narrowly focused research. NYC Data to Go will allow users to draw connections and visualize issues in the interconnected way in which people actually experience them, connecting the data to bring new insights and new layers of understanding,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of Measure of America.  Co-director Kristen Lewis explained, “For example, data on obesity rates could be given new meaning when seen on a map that also shows food prices, the distance to the nearest full-service grocery store, location of fast food chains, income levels, and other important data.”

To present New York City data in meaningful ways, Measure of America will draw on its experience developing and mapping the American Human Development Index, an alternative to GDP and other money metrics that tells the story of how ordinary Americans are faring and empowers communities with a tool to track progress over time. The Index comprises health, education, and income indicators and allows for well-being rankings between states, congressional districts, counties, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.

NYC Data to Go will be built in consultation with a broad group of stakeholders and end users.

About Measure of America

A project of the Social Science Research Council, Measure of America (MOA) provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding well-being and opportunity in America. Through engaging publications, online tools, and evidence-based research and analysis, Measure of America breathes life into numbers, using data to identify areas of need, pinpoint levers for change, and track progress over time. To join the conversation, visit www.measureofamerica.org.

About the Social Science Research Council

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization founded in 1923. It fosters innovative research, nurtures new generations of social scientists, deepens how inquiry is practiced within and across disciplines, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues. To learn more about the Council and its work, visit www.ssrc.org.

About the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services.  Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations.  The Trust’s New York City Regional Grants Program seeks to identify and solve specific problems that hinder the region’s ability to assist populations in need. For more information on the Trust and its programs, please visit www.helmsleytrust.org.