About BetaNYC

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BetaNYC’s Mission

BetaNYC is a civic organization dedicated to improving lives in New York through civic design, technology, and data.

We envision an informed and empowered public that can leverage civic design, technology, and data to hold government accountable, and improve their economic opportunity.

Leadership & Staff

BetaNYC’s leadership is all volunteer; see who we are.

BetaNYC’s History

BetaNYC is a civic organization dedicated to improving lives in New York through civic design, technology, and data.

Founded in 2008 as a “meetup” to discuss open government in NYC, we have evolved to be a key local leader and national partner in civic technology, open data, and open government.

Our work empowers individuals and local communities to build a civically engaged technology ecosystem and provide for an honest and inclusive government. We want New York’s governments to work for the people, by the people, for the 21st century.

BetaNYC demystifies design, technology, and data to the point where anyone can use it, create it, and participate in the decision making process.

In 2013, the community wrote the People’s Roadmap to a Digital New York City. This document has helped produce several proposed pieces of legislation and seven additional laws.

BetaNYC’s Purpose

Improving lives through design, technology, and data.

BetaNYC envisions an informed and empowered public that can leverage civic design, technology, and data to participate in the political process, and hold government accountable.

  • We empower the public with tools, education, and data.
  • We demystify government, technology, design, and data with the goal of improving access to services and information.
  • We explore a world of possibilities by providing a safe space for individuals and government to collaborate and organize an open community for all to improve the city.

We envision a City where:

  • individuals are empowered with knowledge and tools to address their community’s problems;
  • individuals and communities actively participate in the local governance process;
  • community members are seen as trusted collaborators on impactful solutions;
  • community based organizations effectively use tools to improve the lives of their clients;
  • elected representatives are capable of proactively and effectively communicating with their constituents; government and social services are centered around the constituent;
  • government collaborates with community to explore insights and experiment at civic innovation events (i.e. hackathons, datapaloozas, and design camps);
  • education, fellowship, and community are combined to provide a ladder of growth, equity, sustainability, and resilience;
  • the future is written in collaboration, not for.

BetaNYC Values

The Freedom to Connect represents the idea that access to high-speed bi-directional internet is a prerequisite to full civic participation. Economic growth, job creation, educational opportunities, public safety, digital government services, and access to affordable health care depend on affordable and fast connectivity. In 1932, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt emphasized the right of communities to provide their own electricity. Today, communities need infrastructure for high speed universal access.

The Freedom to Learn is the ideal that access to knowledge, institutions, code, data, and tools, regardless of place of birth, language, gender identity, age, faith, or income, is essential to an empowered and educated public.

The Freedom to Innovate is central to the advancement of communities. Innovation is vital to the development of a complex, dynamic, and thriving civil society. This City’s heritage is founded upon entrepreneurial ideas. We need laws and policies that place people before profit to protect, provide for universal economic opportunity, protect the commons, and allow for innovation.

The Freedom to Collaborate stands for the ideal that participatory democracy is not centralized. Regardless of status and interface, we must have the ability to engage with our government, wherever and whenever. We must have the power to effect change and be a government by the people, for the people, for the 21st Century.

Funders & Collaborators

BetaNYC is a 501c3 organization, via the Fund for the City of New York’s partners program. We would love your donation.

We have received funding and support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Fund for the City of New York, Microsoft Civic, Code for America, Data and Society Research Institution, Blue Ridge Foundation, Mozilla, Socrata, Accela, Carto, NYC Media Lab, Datapolitan, and Ontodia.

BetaNYC is a member of the Code for America Brigade community and we are honored to have worked with the following organizations: New York Tech Meetup, Civic Hall, Coalition for Queens, Dev Bootcamp, OpenPlans, Silicon Harlem, NYC Digital, NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, NYC Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and NYC 311.