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Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

And the winners are...!

Tue, 2019-12-17 19:41

In partnership with Miriam’s Kitchen (MK)—a nonprofit dedicated to ending chronic homelessness in Washington, DC—Data Community DC hosted a “Data Made Me Donate” design challenge in November. A “Data Made Me Donate” visual design challenge crowdsources data visualizations and data art that can help build the capacity of nonprofits to communicate their value. This challenge was a virtual follow-up to a visualization hackathon sprint hosted by Data Visualization DC in February 2019.

For this challenge, participants were asked to develop a design concept that responds to one of two communication challenges:

  1. “The Cost of Inaction”: How does MK’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) services: a) save the District and taxpayers money, and b) improve the overall quality of life for both the chronically homeless and DC residents (e.g., landlords, business owners, neighborhoods in which PSH units are located)?
  2. “Housing is Health”: MK views housing as a baseline social determinant that makes other opportunities like education and jobs possible. How has MK, a) improved the overall quality of life for the individuals it serves, and b) what data might MK use as a proxy to benchmark and illustrate its impact when current data on the impact of its peer organizations are not publicly available?
And the Winners are… FIRST PLACE.

We are pleased to announce that Jack Ploshnick has won the second Data Made Me Donate design challenge! His winning design visualizes the positive impact MK’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) services have made on a number of social, economic, health, and wellness outcomes such as decreased use of emergency services. MK provides PSH services to over 176 individuals so that they are quickly housed and do not fall back into homelessness. Once clients are matched with housing, MK serves as a coordinator and advocate between clients, their landlords and service providers. Case managers also support clients’ goals for returning to an active, more self-sufficient life in the wider community.

Jack Ploshnick is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and a Data Analyst at Acumen LLC. He is passionate about Data Visualization, Natural Language Processing, and using data to improve Public Policy.


Our second place winners, Team Ward 2 Nomads—Anees Merzi and Dania Merzi—developed an infographic that underscores the critical need for MK’s Street Outreach Program in Ward 2 where Miriam’s Kitchen is based. With limited access to shelters in Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and the National Mall, MK’s outreach team brings its high-quality case management and housing services to wherever individuals experiencing homelessness might be.

Dania Merzi is a data-driven decision maker that appreciates products that tell a story at first glance. After holding multiple roles at Dell, she took a pause to take care of her family. She looks forward to picking up where she left off soon.

Anees Merzi is currently an active duty Captain in the Army and a graduate of West Point. After returning to the Academy, his family has decided that it is a symbolic time to write their next life chapter outside of the military. They are excited for the future.

We’re excited to unveil and feature the winning designs at Data Community DC events and publications in the new year! In the meantime, we hope the winners spend their prize money ($600 and $300, respectively) wisely this holiday season!

Miriam’s Kitchen: A Hospitable Neighbor in Foggy Bottom

Join the movement to build a kinder community that looks out for all of our neighbors–including those experiencing homelessness. Miriam’s Kitchen work to end long term homelessness in DC relies on the generous support of people like you and me. Due to Miriam’s Kitchen advocacy and direct services, it has helped decrease chronic homelessness by 22 percent since 2013.

Please consider making a generous contribution today to Miriam’s Kitchen, and it will be matched 1:1 (up to $100,000) by The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Help Miriam’s Kitchen meet its $250,000 goal!

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