New Models

Retooling for worker power, better state services; the infodemic challenge; and much more.

Civic tech responds: Say hello to the Social Tech Collaborative, which aims “to support state, local, and nonprofit agencies to apply technology that increases their ability to ensure services are accessible, coordinated, and responsive to community needs.” Its founding partners are Alluma, Benefits Data Trust, Civilla, Code for America, mRelief, One Degree, and Single Stop. The group has published a tech guide for social service agencies dealing with increased demand for basic needs during the pandemic
Here’s a good primer on COVID-19 tracing apps from the Open Data Institute’s Ben Smith, Jenni Tennison and Renate Samson.
A new survey from National Nurses United has found that frontline health workers still lack appropriate PPE. Eighty-seven percent of nearly 23,000 nurses surveyed reported having to reuse a single-use disposable respirator or mask with a COVID-19 patient; nearly a third reported having to reuse decontaminated respirators.
Maine just awarded an $8 million contract to Deloitte (a company that is very good at winning software contracts and also building glitchy sites) to build it an integrated benefits website, and Open Maine founder Em Burnett is not happy, for good reasons.
Abhi Nemani has started GovGeek.Club with a weekly newsletter on all things civic- and gov-tech. Join him!
Civic Hall member Ryan Letada, the CEO and co-founder of NextDayBetter, shares his story of battling COVID-19 with our Fiona Teng on Civicist. His storytelling platform is now creating a platform called Coronavirus Storytelling to honor frontline workers who are dealing with racism and xenophobia along with the virus. He’ll be doing a “lunch and learn” session with Civic Hall next Friday May 29; RSVP here.
The Omidyar Network has announced a three-year commitment of $35 million focused on “building the power, voice, and agency of working people — including low-wage workers of color and women — in ‘a post-pandemic’ era…. the initiative will invest through the end of 2021 in five areas: supporting innovative ways of organizing working people that build on new models; shoring up revenue models to support organizing; enacting policies that enable and build worker power, agency, and voice; exploring business and corporate governance models that incorporate worker voice; and introducing and normalizing data that better describes the experience of working people.”
New research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute finds that not only do women donate more frequently than men, they “give more gifts and dollars than men online, at nearly two-thirds of gifts across platforms, and 53% to 61% of overall dollars,” Julia Travers reports for Inside Philanthropy.
Infodemic, continued: Online activists who have been demanding the end of lockdown orders are embracing anti-vaccine conspiracies, Isaac Stanley-Becker reports for The Washington Post. Apparently they are citing the Trump Administration’s promise of a “Warp Speed” drive to a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 as proof that it won’t be sufficiently tested. Well, stopped clocks are still correct twice a day. (The expert consensus is that we won’t have a vaccine ready for mass use for at least 18 months, if not much longer.)
Of more than 200 million tweets mentioning coronavirus since January, almost half were sent from accounts that are probably bots rather than humans, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found, as Bobby Allyn reports for NPR.
End times: Welcome to Zoom University

You are reading First Post, a twice-a-week digest of news and analysis of the world of civic tech, brought to you by Civic Hall, NYC’s community center for civic tech. If you are reading this because someone forwarded it to you, please become a subscriber ($10/m) and support our work or sign up for our newsletter and stay connected with the #CivicTech community.