Antiracist Technology in the US

Selected

MEASURE

Platform for BIPOC-led organizations to connect with one another and collaborate

Team Lead

Meme Styles

Solution Overview

Solution Name:

MEASURE

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One-line solution summary:

A cloud based platform where BIPoC-led organizations discover data, share analysis, gain funding and team up to tackle racial equity issues.

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Pitch your solution.

MEASURE’s platform provides BIPoC-led organizations with a comprehensive cloud-native data catalog, along with racial-equity focused impact reporting and collaboration tools to connect them with resources, education, and each other. This platform will act as a force multiplier of change for BIPOC-led organizations and their efforts to end racial disparities that negatively affect their communities globally. MEASURE is where people can provide or discover data, share analysis, and team up to tackle racial equity issues among other advocacy efforts. 

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What specific problem are you solving?

The issue of enduring injustice cannot be solved by a single sector. The most viable route to resolution lies with a sector-spanning coalition. Such coalitions have achieved success or made significant progress in addressing similarly complex challenges, such as youth unemployment and discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans. 

Many of the challenges facing organizations that promote racial equity have been shared by entities confronting other systemic issues. In many of our conversations, leaders of organizations working toward racial equity called for a better way to share their impact data, coordinate and collaborate. Coalitions that succeed often rely on a backbone structure: a core group that will regularly convene stakeholders, build consensus, and coordinate action; collect data, disseminate knowledge, and identify programs to scale; and track overall progress and publicize the results. 

The MEASURE solution would serve as the backbone. Additionally, this will allow racial-equity organizations, specifically Black-led and Black-focused organizations that are disproportionately underfunded to create and elevate their impact metrics in a way that will allow them to seek and ultimately be provided funding as a result of using our platform. 

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What is your solution?

Measure is using ground-breaking technology from advancements in Cloud, Serverless, and Blockchain, to build a data catalog and social platform where organizations can combine forces to achieve their common racial equity related impact goals. 

Our platform will extend the reach of MEASURE’s Community Impact Metric tooling, allowing BIPoC-led organizations to quickly identify other organizations and groups in their communities with which they can partner. This platform will leverage revolutionary data-sharing and social-connectedness software to democratize the use of data, facilitate communication amongst these newfound impact partners, track their progress, and provide opportunities for promoting their combined efforts to influence their combined networks and further promote social responsibility and racial equity. 

Additionally, our scalable data catalog will make it easy for everyone, not just the “data people” to get clear, accurate, fast answers and information. Our cloud-native data catalog will map distributed data that is typically siloed to familiar and consistent advocacy efforts and concepts creating a unified body of knowledge anyone can find, understand, and use. 

Our solution will utilize the Manifesto for Data Practice, the most effective ethical, and modern approach to data teamwork as a framework to recognize and mitigate bias in the data we collect and use.

 

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

While we aim to amplify the efforts of all BIPoC-led organizations, historically our nonprofit’s roots and the majority of our advocacy related connections /network have focused on combating racial inequity issues facing the Black community; specifically in the US. Based on our research the Black community has disproportionately suffered the adverse effects of racism and subsequently, we believe that initially focusing on the Black community will lead us to ensuring that all BIPoC lead communities are able to decrease disparities and flourish. Outside of BIPoC-led organizations our solution targets Certified MEASURE Educators and funders in order to connect them with BIPoC-led organizations. 

We have partnered with our local HBCUs Huston-Tillotson University and Texas Southern University to host meetings and workshops with the local community. One of the goals being to obtain feedback on how MEASURE can support the needs of the Black community in Texas and abroad. We have also conducted several community-led  and designed surveys targeting Texas’ Black population among other outreach efforts to ensure that MEASURE remains data driven and community-led. Through those conversations and assessment of the feedback returned we noticed that consistently community members and respondents wanted a multi pronged approach that spanned across several key sectors to decrease disparities that continue to disproportionately harm Black Americans. Our solution aims to deliver the sector spanning coalition, data, and tools that people we have directly engaged with have been asking for. 

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Other
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

Many scholastic, governmental, and law enforcement datasets are not disaggregated by race, ethnicity,  gender, disability, income and other key demographic variables. Often data needed to combat these inequities is not collected or published publicly. This lack of data has cascading effects and impedes efforts to measure and advance equity.  Our solution aims to combat racism in the U.S. by building the data capacity, funding, and networks of BIPOC-led organizations working towards equitable education, criminal justice reform, and building economic and political power.  This maps directly to our selected dimension and the overarching goal of the challenge.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Austin, TX, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

The prototype stage was selected as we have stood up our data repository, web application firewalls, DDoS mitigation, DNS security, and are actively working with the creators of AWS Lambda and Amazon Managed Blockchain to build out the rest of the platform and ensure that our solution has the ability to securely share data across multiple clouds and technology stacks. We are close to completion of the custom-built web application that will run atop of the “Share” platform and serve as the interface where Measure and BIPoC-led organizations will interact with the data and each other.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Meme (mee-mee) Styles

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

Racial-equity related data repositories, catalogs,and collection efforts are not unique, however, making data comprehensive and easy to use for non data analysts, in addition to matching organizations that represent BIPoC communities to data and other groups to help amplify their impact and galvanize meaningful change is unique. Once available, this new platform will open the doors to incredible future opportunities for BIPoC-led organizations and those who need a comprehensive way to consume and use data. As organizations work to self-organize, share resources, and measure their social impact activities, they are creating useful information about their social environments, the reach of their combined resources, and influence on the greater global good.  Using this new data, MEASURE can optimize our already efficient process to solicit additional organizational participation, procure additional funding, making a larger life-long impact in communities near and far. architecture is Serverless, SaaS, and fully decentralized, and includes a built-in distributed ledger. This cloud-native solution offers  ease of use, strong security, unlimited storage scalability, and enterprise readiness.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Big Data
  • Blockchain
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 10. Reduced Inequality
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In which states / US territories do you currently operate?

  • Texas
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In which states / US territories will you be operating within the next year?

  • California
  • Texas
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Efforts to understand the number of POC-led organizations are hampered by the lack of disaggregated data reporting. The yearly 990 reporting would be the best form of data reporting to ascertain the number of POL-led nonprofits but it just does not ask the question. We sought to determine this number from Guidestar, a nonprofit data platform but they also did not have a good account of how many POC-led nonprofits are in the US either. The truth is that Nexus provides an opportunity to help begin solving for the lack of data to zero-in on this number. As such, we must center in on the people that POC-led nonprofits seek to support. This typically includes people that are living below the poverty line. In our first phase of the project we will concentrate on launching the platform in Texas. As such, we would serve POC-led nonprofit organizations that would serve approximately 13% of community members that are underserved and living in poverty in Texas per census data. 

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

The platform will be evaluated monthly to document its success in meeting its impact goals. 

  • % monthly increase of BIPOC-led nonprofit users of the platform

  • % monthly increase in reported funding gained due to collaborations made through the platform 

  • % monthly increase in BIPOC-led organizations collaborations made with the intent to change the world together

The evaluation to access our progress is designed to ensure that: a) research and discovery will be monitored systematically and on an ongoing basis; b) specific progress measures. (above) will be used to assess the quality and completeness of project activities; and c) specific progress measures will be aligned with the goals, targets and expected outcomes set forth in this project so that progress towards achieving them can be accurately assessed.

MEASURE’s team will ensure that an extensive evaluation is conducted  by allocating a percentage of daily working hours to the project specifically. At the end of the grant period MEASURE will bring on a qualified third-party evaluator to provide objective summative and formative evaluation services for the grant and project. The external evaluator will collect and analyze all project data that MEASURE collected on a monthly basis. They will also be provided the notes taken during meetings with project partners (the advisory team) for feedback. 

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

2 Full Time Employees 

8 Contractors 

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How long have you been working on your solution?

2 years

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

MEASURE is respected in the Austin-area community as a trusted coalition-builder that creates connections between community members, leaders, and institutions to foster meaningful social change. 

Meme (mee-mee) Styles will serve as the Project lead. Through her lived experience, MPA, and from decades of community service to underserved populations, she's been a leader for equity in California and Texas. She created MEASURE in 2015 to build trust and measurable progress between people and institutions that serve them. Today, MEASURE is responsible for mobilizing communities that are furthest from opportunity to fight against systemic disparities in health, economics, criminalization & education through the CARE Model. Meme is a global thought leader for community engagement strategies and is responsible for 5 Big Data & Community Policing Conferences as well as the Innocence Initiative which seeks to protect Black Girls through the elimination of adultification bias. 

Nic Hollins is a co-founder of MEASURE, where he serves as the Chief technology Officer. By profession he is a Solutions Architect with over 14 years of demonstrated experience specializing in ADN (application delivery networking), cyber security, and managed services. He's successfully designed, implemented, and optimized security and application delivery solutions across a wide range of industries and projects from the NFL to Conocophillips and Disney+. He's helped manage some of the largest enterprise networks on earth for customers such as Vodafone and Bank of America. MEASURE allows Nic to combine both his passion for social justice with his professional experience to make meaningful change. 


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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

 As an Austin-based, Black woman-led organization with a board that reflects the communities we serve, we are aware of the unique needs of local BIPOC communities. 43% of our board members are Black, 14% are Asian, 14% are white, and 14% identify as two or more races. MEASURE’s 12 leadership staff are composed of 92% women and 8% men. 67% of the leadership team are Black, 8% are Asian, 8% are white, and 8% identify as two or more races. 8% of the staff leadership identify as having Hispanic or Latinx ethnicity. 

As a community-led organization, we listen to what the community needs and develop collaborative, data-driven, and trauma-informed solutions. We continually evaluate our organization based on community feedback and developed our CARE Model, a process for working in active partnership with communities to develop solutions to complex social problems, with the input of 400 community members and 25 community leaders.

At MEASURE, We use evidence-based research and create tools to mobilize communities to disrupt social disparities. Through our CARE Model process and other tools, we partner with Black and Brown led nonprofits, organizers and leaders on how to elevate data in a usable format to mobilize communities and to prove their concepts. Our data-driven tools allow for lived-experience data of marginalized populations to be used by communities and institutions to design and implement equitable solutions.


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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

At MEASURE we know that qualitative data (lived-experience) and quantitative data (numbers) about complex social problems impacting people of color are not used effectively for change for several reasons. First historical and structural racism permeates the field, from the researchers, to the tools, to the institutions. In addition, Black- and Brown-led organizations often do not have access to equitable data tools, or village support. However, we have learned that if data reflecting the lived experiences of marginalized populations are compiled, examined, and leveraged by community-led teams who are equipped with organizational support, evaluation and tools, then communities and institutions can work together to design and implement equitable solutions to address social disparities. We want to see an equitable data tools and technology widely used, and the resulting outcomes shared to multiply the impact. This is why we need to be counted in the village of technical access. 

Access has been so selective to people that look like me. Being selected means this barrier is lifted and it also mean that my contribution to disrupting evaluation can finally be shared on a national stage. 

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)
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Please explain in more detail here.

Core to MEASURE’s work is our commitment to community-driven systemic change. To forward that goal, MEASURE’s model includes engaging community partner organizations at every stage of our work with a focus on nonprofits, organizers and grassroots organizations that serve people of color and are led by people of color. By focusing on this target audience MEASURE achieves several potential impacts: 1) strengthening the reach and community impact of given initiatives led by BIPOC, 2) building BIPOC-led interorganizational strength, 3) creating opportunities for other BIPOC-led organizations to have access to potential funding sources, policy makers, and community leaders.

Funding this work, telling it's story and developing the tech tools to match the innovation has been tough as a Black-woman led organizations. In fact we've realized that we will need to think fast on how to continue growing despite a philanthropic community that either ignores us or does not trust that we have the power to make change in our own community. 

These fundamental supports, will technically help us sustain and grow by  maximizing our revenue model, sharing our brand and story globally and by creating tools that are better for our community to harness. 

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

MEASURE would like to partner with other Solve members working provide capacity building support to BIPOC-led organizations as well as MIT initiatives that can help us develop a smarter delivery for our solution and our other evaluation tools. MEASURE offers 4 tools to support make change that orgs can choose from. Additional, I'd like to include swift automatic tools to help organizations decide which MEASURE solution would be best suited to address their needs. This might come from a partnership with another solver who might leverage AI to make smarter decisions. I'd also like to take all of MEASURE evaluation tools (which are on hard copy now) and put them on a cloud-based platform so that volunteers can easily access them in turn increase of effectiveness of support to BIPOC organizers.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The ASA Prize for Equitable Education? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Elevate Prize for Antiracist Technology to advance your solution?

What started as a team of four community leaders marching for Black Lives in Austin,Texas in 2015 quickly became a data-driven social enterprise nationally known as MEASURE. Through our commitment to data and community centered solutions we've proven our concept of what it looks like when the power of data is transferred into the hand of the people most impacted. Through our work we've, created new laws that center racial equity in cities in Austin, rewrote police contracts, diverted police funding to social services, changed policies that harm Black and Brown children at school districts and pulled the data to expose unfair outcomes for Black moms. 

Now, though our technology solution (which we are calling NEXUS) we are ready to hand deliver what our community has told us what they needed to be smarter, more insightful and better positioned to fight against racism create change. We will use the Elevate Prize to bring our prototype to the forefront. Offering 100% FREE to BIPOC-led organizations. They will be able to upload their metrics monthly, download brilliant dashboards that articulate their impact which they can use to be disruptive at city council or secure a major donation.

Today, MEASURE is operating at scale. We know the value of our work and the specific problem we solve. Nonprofits and organizations that are led by people of color need tools for success that MEASURE has innovated and tested. This award will allow us to reach far into our national community starting with Texas first. 

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The GM Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity to advance your solution?

The national outcry for police reform, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, and the generations of historical, institutional, and structural racism that precludes it all are rapidly fueling "solutions" and "measures" to make the country more fair and equitable for all. Simultaneously, the use of key performance indicators to assess these various - and by in large, anecdotal ideas to produce change remain overlooked. 

Structural racism has been measured most often with single-indicator proxies, which may leave important aspects of structural racism unaccounted for.  Consequently, those important aspects that are widely unmonitored all contribute heavily to the full understanding and measurement of these complex social issues. 

For several generations, community organizations have used their collective power to pressure institutions to change laws, policies, and behaviors that uplift the vision of equity despite a proper means or methodology to measure progress. This pressure has proven effective in ways that have progressed civil rights but not in a way that holds accountable the systems that allowed many of the injustices to perpetuate in the first place and vastly void of digital or hardcopy documentation. We are changing that at MEASURE. 

Our organization essentially believes that the most impacted communities should be automatically qualified to contribute their insights to research, be respected while doing it and ultimately be their own solvers. That's how we will use this prize. Through our data-activism class at a local HBCU and though our training program we are developing a community our lived experience experts who are making change. 

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The AI for Humanity Prize to advance your solution?

In 2015, I challenged the Austin Police Department to "show me the numbers'' they were using to report the results of agency performance measures. Recognizing a disconnect between the department’s big data reporting and the community’s lived experiences, I created a methodology to collaboratively approach community policing. 

At this time, my data-driven approach was not as understood as it is now. I didn't fit into the mold of "Angry Black Woman-Activist'' as I called for data, evidence and assessment of metrics that prove legitimate policing. Since then, our organization has grown to not only address community policing, but also health, education, and economic disparities. We use our unique data-driven approach to identify needs and find solutions. 

This prize would help us to take our prototype to the community we serve to get the answers about how it can be used best by them... for FREE. It'll help us to innovate the MVP to a place where BIPOC leaders are regularly using the platform to connect and deepen their impact to combat racism. 

I'm uniquely qualities because I've pressed through the fire to create a powerful organization led by me, a Black women. I gained this encouragement from my Dad who was a Black Panther, my Mom - a business woman, and my Grandfather who was a power-house community builder in the 60's. I also cling to my lessons learned as a Department of Defense civilian working for several Generals in the Army. This work is in my DNA

The absence of evidence-based research and technology solutions informed by Black people, racism and a lack of transparency breeds mistrust in BIPOC communities and hindering the process for meaningful change. Ida B Wells was a pioneer in the data-activism and changed the narrative around how data can be used for change and to fight racism. Our solution honors the generations of change-makers that came before us, but includes the genius of technology and brilliance of community as equal stakeholders in the process of changing the statistics. 


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Solution Team

  • Meme Styles President , MEASURE
 
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