We work together to make the world a better place

At the heart of our collective efforts is how data and technology can be used for good.

We work to help shape a better future and make positive changes in communities around the globe.

4k+
Community members worldwide
20
Projects completed
29
Projects in progress
267k
Slack messages exchanged between D4D community members
10
Global meetups + hackathons
600
Active users each week
150
Public channels in our Slack community
85
Archived Slack channels from previous project work

Our story

Data for Democracy began as an experiment in December 2016, when people from around the world began to collaborate on data-related problems through Slack and GitHub.

Our decentralized structure allowed the growing community to get real and impactful work done with minimal delay. Since 2016, the community has expanded to over 4000 volunteers and data scientists from around the globe. These volunteers apply their diverse skills to tackle a wide variety of problems that affect both their own home communities and the world at large. For instance, we’ve tackled campaign spending data to support the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, combined open data with the power of data science to help cities like Boston, MA build safer roads, and supported the fight to end gerrymandering across the U.S.

What is a data science?

Data science is the process of extracting knowledge and insights from data in various forms. Data scientists (and data technologists) come from broad range of backgrounds and work in nearly every industry. They’re able to extract value from data in order to analyze and ultimately solve analytical and complex problems.

Our community

Data for Democracy is made up of a vibrant community of volunteers from around the globe - and represent all 24 time zones - who want to use their skills to make a difference. Members of our community come from a diverse range of academic, social, business, and technical backgrounds, and bring their their own unique expertise and experience to the projects they work on. Unified by the desire to improve the world around us, members collaborate on a diverse range of projects and work to affect positive change that spur better decisions and improve our communities.

Today, we work on producing stronger research, we dive deeper into policy work, and we partner with organizations to stay committed to our mission of making a positive and tangible impact on the world.

Featured volunteers

Margeaux Spring

Margeaux Spring

Software Developer / Civic Tech AdvocateKentucky, USA

One of my favorite projects to work on is the Global Data Ethics Project (GDEP) because I learn so much, every single day, while engaging with the awesome community of humans that are helping to build and support GDEP. The Global Data Ethics Project helps to frame the principles and inform the questions that need to be asked when we leverage people's data to build, map, collect, visualize anything

The best thing about D4D is the community.

Data for Democracy is the most welcoming, helpful and safe virtual space I have ever participated in. The org does such an outstanding job fostering positive community collaboration that I often find myself asking "What would D4D do?" in collaborative situations, and I'm thankful for every single one of you for the effort put forth in all of the posts, and for the care taken every day in all of the interactions that contribute to the awesomeness that is D4D.

Find Margeaux @cheapwebmonkey

Matt Gawarecki

Matt Gawarecki

Software EngineerTennessee, USA

I spend most of my time observing and learning from all the awesome projects we have at D4D, but I've also enjoyed working directly on a few. For example, I helped write a web scraper in Python to gather data for the #far-right project, which was a lot of fun for me as a developer. Kicking off #p-drug-spending with @jenniferthompson was an absolute blast, too! I picked up so much valuable experience, not just in terms of Medicare but also seeing first-hand what it's like to lead a volunteer project. No doubt, though -- my favorite part of D4D are all of the amazing people that make up our community. To that end, a lot of what I do now is centered around keeping things fun and making sure new folks feel 100% welcome. I think the best ways to do this are to promote discussion, ask and answer questions, bounce around ideas, and all of those sorts of things.

Find Matt @mattgawarecki

Amanda Alvarez

Amanda Alvarez

Data AnalystTexas, USA

In addition to the time I spent focused on community building and getting to know a lot of our awesome volunteers, I’ve especially enjoyed working with the immigration-connect team and our partners on a variety of projects.

Find Amanda @Gecky

Our goals

  • To produce objective, rigorous data analysis that keeps people informed and engaged, and supports them in forming their independent opinions.
  • To connect with communities and partners that contribute to positive social change, and help equip them with the tools and technology to support the work they are already doing.
  • To make data science transparent and accessible to a wider audience, and create opportunities for passionate and socially conscious people to get involved with using data to serve the public good.

Our team

Jonathon Morgan

Jonathon Morgan

Executive Director

Jonathon is the founder of Data for Democracy, the nonprofit arm of New Knowledge, a technology company that provides disinformation defense to brands and national security customers, where he’s also the founder and CEO. Prior to founding New Knowledge, Jonathon published research about extremist groups manipulating social media with the Brookings Institution, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post, presented at NATO's Center of Excellence for Defense Against Terrorism, the United States Institute for Peace, and the African Union.

Jonathon also served as an adviser to the US State Department, developing strategies for digital counter-terrorism. He regularly provides expert commentary about online disinformation for publications such as NYT, NBC, NPR, and Wired, and has published op-eds about information warfare and computational propaganda for CNN, The Guardian, and VICE.

Location:
Austin, TX, USA
Find Jonathon @jonathonmorgan

Renée DiResta

Renée DiResta

Head of Policy

Renée has a decade of experience in technological, marketing, and business capacities in a variety of industries including supply chain logistics, venture capital, and derivatives trading. She has served as an advisor to the State Department, Congress, and other state and federal government institutions concerned with the spread of disinformation and propaganda.


Location: Bay Area, CA, USA
Find Renée @noupside

Maureen "Mo" Johnson

Maureen "Mo" Johnson

Project Lead, Global Data Ethics Project

Mo is a passionate roadtripper, an exuberant mountain biker and an accidental interdisciplinarian. She graduated with with a master’s degree in archaeology, and then found a job ordering biochemistry research supplies at a hospital in her hometown in Texas. One day, she read a book on malaria and became fascinated by modern day culture and disease. This led her to work in infectious disease research where she credits her research mentor with cultivating her global perspective on ethics and social justice. With his encouragement, she moved from her public-health policy and community work in Texas to Lima, Peru, where she worked as in-field coordinator for a pilot research project that sought to understand neurological development of children living in extreme poverty.

If you are interested in disrupting unquestioned cultural norms in lighthearted and fun ways, ask her about her Unpredict project.

Location: El Cerrito, California, USA
Find Mo @moridesamoped

David Morar

David Morar

Policy Manager

David is originally from Romania and recently received his PhD from George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government. He is excited to work on issues at the confluence of democracy, ethics, data science, information policy, trust, law, and tech policy. Before coming to D4D, David was a two-time Google Policy Fellow (once with Global Network Initiative and before that with the Internet Education Foundation), and a Research Fellow with the Future of Privacy Forum. Dr. Morar is a (Non-Resident) Research Fellow with the Center for Law Science and Innovation at ASU Law, a member of the Executive Committee of the American Political Science Association’s Information Technology and Politics Section, and a stand-up comedian. David Morar was also a member of the Policy Council of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and a child star in Romania.

Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Find David @morar

Astrid Countee

Astrid Countee

Head of Community

Astrid is an anthropologist by training, and technologist by choice with a background in research, data analysis, and web development. Astrid likes reading real books, playing with her four dogs, wandering around museums, and making noise with her keyboard and guitar.

Location: Houston, TX, USA
Find Astrid @ianthro

Get involved

Together, we can use data for good. Become a member of our growing global community.