ISC Newsletter August 2017

Director of ISC, Amy Hawn Nelson (center, in orange sweater) announces her departure to join Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) as Director of Training and Technical Services.


Changes coming

Director of ISC, Amy Hawn Nelson announces her departure to join Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) as Director of Training and Technical Services.



ISC out and about

While we love numbers and analyzing data, we also love being a part of the community. Check out how we have recently been active and where you might spot us next.



Reports using ISC data

We highlight recent research that utilizes data from the ISC Community Database.




Integrated data systems research spotlight, and data in the news

We spotlight research from across the country utilizing integrated data systems and other novel data methods and analyses.



Grant opportunities

We identify (and direct you to) current and future grant opportunities for researchers interested in social data. 




Changes coming 

After five years of serving as the Director of the Institute for Social Capital, Amy Hawn Nelson is departing to join the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy, a national initiative focused on providing support for Integrated Data Systems. In this new role, Dr. Hawn Nelson will be providing training and technical assistance for sites interested in developing an Integrated Data System. In this role she will work remotely, so expect to continue to see her around town. 

Ashley Clark has been named Interim Director of ISC until a new director is named. Ashley has served as Assistant Director of ISC for the past four years and has played an important role in ISC’s work. The ISC Board of Directors and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute will be conducting a search for Dr. Hawn Nelson’s successor this Fall. Please be on the lookout for this information, and please help us in the search for our new Director of ISC.


ISC out and about

On Thursday, March 25, ISC team members, Ashley Clark and Justin Lane, gave a presentation alongside Courtney Morton from Mecklenburg County at the Homeless Services Network meeting. They presented findings from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Family Homelessness Report, which utilized data from the ISC database. The presentation was well received by the Homeless Services Network.

Justin Lane (ISC), Pam Jefsen (HSN chair), Courtney Morton (Mecklenburg County), and Ashley Clark (ISC) gather after the presentation at the Homeless Services Network meeting.


Reports using ISC data

Title: Heart Math Tutoring Program Evaluation, 2015-2016

Research team: Thomas Swiderski, social research specialist; Justin Lane, data and research specialist; Diane Gavarkavich, director of research services

Project description: UNC Charlotte Urban Institute researchers used de-identified administrative data from the Institute for Social Capital Community Database to describe student performance in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) following their participation in the Heart Math Tutoring program. The evaluation utilized ISC data to analyze students’ academic and behavioral outcomes. A comparison group provided the evaluation with further context. Download the report.


New data partners

ISC continues to grow its data deposits and sign new data sharing agreements with community partners.  Over the next few months these data will be added to the ISC Codebook.  Here is a list of updated data deposits:

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, data now available from 2006-2015
  • Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, 2016 data
  • SmartStart, data now available from 2009-2015

New data sharing agreements: 

  • Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
  • Bethlehem Center


IDS research spotlight

  •  Housing trajectories of transition-age youth – The Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI) used administrative data to understand the housing needs of youth who exit foster care and residential programs. In order to connect this population to essential housing resources a five-year study followed 19, 963 young adults, ages 18 through 21, using administrative data from multiple systems. The study documents which services were being used by these youth and identifies youth in need of supportive housing and other resources. Click here to read the report.
  • Using integrated data systems to strengthen collective impact in out-of-school programs – This case study highlights two initiatives that utilized integrated data systems (IDS) to inform their work in the community as it relates to out-of-school programs. The United Way of Central Carolinas responded to data from Institute for Social Capital Community Database and took steps to improve attendance and reduce absenteeism with the aim of increasing H.S. graduation rates. Eastside Promise Neighborhood Initiative, located in San Antonio, Texas used the data acquired from the CommunityViewer IDS to improve math and reading proficiency for its students. Click here to read the full report.

Learn more about integrated data systems

  • New IDS resource page – The Annie E. Casey Foundation has created a new integrated data systems resource page for those seeking to improve services for children and families.
  • New integrated data systems uses video – Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) has released a new IDS uses video on the AISP website.

Data in the news

  • Big data in education: A workshop summary – A workshop summary by the National Academy of Education (NAEd) highlights the benefits of utilizing data systems in education, its risks to privacy, and the tools for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks of its use.
  • Using data to improve wellbeing in Camden Promise Neighborhoods – The Camden Coalition has worked to link the city’s health, education, and social service data systems to paint a more complete picture of the city’s challenges and opportunities.  The Camden Promise Neighborhood can now utilize this integrated data system to make decisions and evaluate the initiative’s collective impact.
  • Roadmap for Foster Care and K-12 Data Linkages – The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) provides a guide for linking foster care and K-12 data and outlines why such work matters.
  • Integrated data is key to “Pay for Success” – This brief discusses Cuyahoga County’s use of an integrated data system to develop a pay for success program, a program that will provide housing and supports to homeless mothers so that they can reunite with their children quicker.
  • Data sharing helps reduce number of homeless veterans – This brief shares how Virginia is leading the way in ending veteran homelessness. Officials in Virginia use shared data to better understand veteran’s needs, evaluate programs and to implement effective approaches.
  • Actionable intelligence-tackling homelessness in the US – Los Angeles County used linked data from six social services agencies to decrease homelessness and build 10,000 houses for homeless people with mental health issues.
  • How a house can shape a child’s future – In a recent study, Case Western Reserve University linked education and housing data. Researchers found that the amount of time a child spent living in housing that was tax delinquent, in foreclosure, or neglected significantly impacted school readiness.
  • Adventures in data storytelling: Three key traps to avoid – The ability to communicate with data is a vital skill. This article provides insight into how data stories are formed and the three main traps people need to steer clear of when telling data stories.
  • How states engage in evidence-based policymaking: A national assessment This report identifies actions that states can take to encourage more data driven policymaking. The report also assesses the prevalence of these actions within four human service policy areas and ranks states.
  • Getting big data to the good guys This article highlights San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Shared Youth Database. The Department of Public Health (DPH), Juvenile Probation (JPD), and the Human Services Agency (HSA) entered into a data sharing agreement, which allowed for a higher level of care for children that were users of multiple systems.

Grant opportunities




David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund


Online grant application


September 1, 2017 


Focus areas: Arts, culture, humanities, education, environment, health, human services, international/foreign affairs, public/society benefit, religion


Abelard Foundation-East




September 15, 2017


Focus areas: Civil and human rights of low-income and poor populations


The Pew Charitable Trusts




September 15, 2017


Focus areas: Social and economic factors that contribute to health, including education, employment, family and social support and community safety


Bank of America Charitable Foundation




February 24,   2018


Focus areas: Economic mobility of individuals and families; workforce development; education


Mentor Graphics Foundation


Grant application


February 28,   2018


Focus areas: Education; culture and the arts; health and human services


Oak Hill Fund






Focus areas: Women’s reproductive health, rights and justice


Laura and John Arnold Foundation






Focus areas: Education, employment/training, and crime prevention