First, what is Data for a Cause? It is a competition for creative data visualization professionals with the talent, commitment and energy to produce data visualizations for not-for-profit organizations. We explain complex issues and inspire others to take action through data! Now let's dive into what's going on with the community and what we have accomplished so far.
Oh what fun it turned out to be! Since the last update we've worked on three challenges. All of the challenges went great, and you can see the data visualizations created by our volunteers on our visualizations page.
Data for a Cause: Food Insecurity
Our first challenge was about visualizing food insecurity around the world. I collected the data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), UNDP, and UNESCO. It was a good start - 64 people downloaded the data set! Here is the first ever Data for a Cause visualization created by Rob Harrard:
Data for a Cause: Inequality in Public Schools
In our second challenge we focused on education. The data set was provided by DonorsChoose.org.
DonorsChoose.org empowers public school teaches from the United States to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students. They are amazing! Check out their website and support a school project if you can! They shared a huge data set of all the donations made to their organization, including information about schools, teachers, and projects.
The goal of the competition was to create a data visualization aimed at policy-makers, to show the inequality of the public school system. The volunteers were encouraged to create data visualizations in any data visualization tool. Over 80 people downloaded the data set and played with the data.
I was amazed by all the different data visualizations that volunteers created! Tableau, Power BI, Google Data Studio, R Studio, D3.js... It was really interesting to see all the different approaches and learn from all of you!
DonorsChoose.org thanked all the participants and selected 3 winners:
1. Angie Chen @databutterfly
2. Lamar Johnson @_lamjo
3. Péter Molnár @PeterMolnar914
Here is the feedback I got from the DonorsChoose.org data team: "The fact that you made it so seamless and delightful for us is a real testament of effort, so thank you." They featured winners' work on social media and gave DonorsChoose.org gift cards to the winners so they can support classroom projects firsthand.
You can see all the entries here. They are great! A huge round of applause to everyone who found the time, energy and dedication to create data visualizations for this project!
Data for a Cause: Mental Health in Tech
In our third challenge we visualized survey data for Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI). OSMIhelp.org fights the harmful stigma around mental health disorders in the tech/IT community by collecting and sharing important data and helping employers make their workplaces safe and supportive for those with mental health issues. They are an ambitious organization with a goal to change the attitudes of an entire industry. Please visit their website and support them.
OSMI shared survey results and were looking to understand them better. The goal of the competition was to create data visualizations aimed at employers in the tech industry, to show the experiences of employees and enable the OSMI team to drive forward their work in raising awareness and improving conditions for those with mental health disorders in the IT workplace. Over 70 volunteers downloaded the data set and explored the data.
It was inspiring to see how quickly some of the volunteers improved their data visualization skills! They progressed from simple charts in the first challenge, to comprehensive data visualizations. Data for a Cause is a challenge, and it is also a learning experience!
OSMI selected 3 winners:
1. Amarendranath R Donthala @AmarendranathD
2. Jennifer VonHagel @jvh_rose
3. Subha Yoganandan @subha_yo
OSMI shared many of the data visualizations on their social media. Here is some feedback I got from OSMI's team: "We really loved checking these data visualizations out! They did an amazing job!"
I was so glad that this highly stigmatized topic didn't scare our volunteers, and we received many amazing data visualizations. Another huge round of applause for everyone who wasn't afraid of working with a challenging data set!
Thank you to all our supporters
We have been fortunate to receive a lot of support on social media. Data visualizations get a lot of attention. Also, thank you everyone who shared our work on blogs and forums! It’s a great way to give a boost to a viz!
Two of the data visualizations were featured by Tableau. The data visualization created by our volunteer Angie Chen was featured in the Tableau Public Gallery as the Viz of the Day on March 1, and that of volunteer Subha Yoganandan on March 30. Tableau also featured these data visualizations in Tableau Public.
Special thanks to Ehow Chen, Daniel Tschick Tomaz, Lamar Johnson, and Angie Chen who have been with us since the very beginning and contributed to every challenge!
Soon to come
There’s so much that we've accomplished, but there are still a lot of exciting things coming up. We are working on visualizing the world's last intact forests. I've been waiting for a chance to work on this problem for a long time. I've seen firsthand the disappearance of vast Siberian forests and Amazonian jungle! Here is a preview:
Are you working for a nonprofit? Do you know of a nonprofit that needs to tell their story? Please let them know about Data for a Cause!