Benetech Labs launches new initiative to build relationships and community in the social service referral field
Benetech Labs, Benetech’s product development arm, is always on the lookout for partners and collaborators to help us achieve the next big impact. With that goal in mind, we are pleased to announce that Greg Bloom of Open Referral has joined Benetech as a Labs Strategic Advisor in the social service referral field. He will help us engage the community to design and build core infrastructure and products that make it easier for information about social services to reach the people who need it most.
Greg is the founder of Open Referral, a network dedicated to the development of data standards and open platforms that share information about community resources available to people in need.
A Civic Imagination Fellow with Civic Hall Labs, Greg previously managed communications for Bread for the City, the District of Columbia’s pre-eminent anti-poverty service provider. He is a certified cooperative developer and a dedicated community organizer with more than a decade of experience.
Benetech is excited about this new opportunity to make a difference in an area that touches the entire social sector: how to get people in need connected to health, human, and social services that can most help them. In fifteen years of working with underserved communities, we have consistently heard that one of the most important things you can do for someone in need is answer the question “Who else can help me?” This question is surprisingly difficult to answer due to data constantly in flux and locked in fragmented and redundant silos.
Innovators are stymied by lack of access to data that could power valuable tools to connect the more than 1,200 referral providers in North America with the 100,000-plus social and human services organizations serving the millions of individuals looking for shelter, food, legal aid, medical assistance, or other services. Developing open data infrastructure to address these needs clearly has the potential for enormous impact at scale.
In the coming months, Benetech Labs, in partnership with Greg and members of the Open Referral initiative, will embark upon a pilot project to develop open data infrastructure within a specific region and service area. We are currently engaging with potential partners — referral providers, safety net researchers, and funders who invest in social services and technology for social good — to collaborate with us. Benetech welcomes the opportunity to work with Greg and Open Referral to leverage our collective expertise and make a difference to these communities. Contact us to learn more.