Today, we wrap up the 2014 Fellowship at Code for America. Over this past year I have gotten to know 30 of the most creative, driven, and inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Their energy, commitment to positive change, and unwavering optimism have fueled the civic tech ecosystem and introduced a lean, data-driven, and user-centered approach to the local governments they have worked with all over the country.
Many apps have been launched, events have been hosted, and stories have been told, but it is only when the fellows leave that we really begin to see the fruits of their labor. If we are successful, the fellows haven’t just built apps (though they’ve built some great apps), but instead, left our partner communities with tools that they can apply to other local challenges, with a goal to improve service delivery, and the drive to engage their communities. It is only now that we will begin to see the work as a catalyst for long lasting change.
“Code for America will leave the City of San Antonio with a cool app that helps our citizens by fulfilling a service need and, ideally, likewise helps a business unit tasked with fulfilling that service. More than that, though, they’ll leave us with a successful example of how agile methods can be applied to solve problems that are too small to survive our sometimes overly restrictive formal processes, governance structures, and organizational silos. Sure we’ll be capable of sustaining what they’ve built for us, but we’ll also have a new toolset to solve the next problem that comes our way.” - Kevin Goodwin, Assistant IT Director from the City of San Antonio Texas
None of this would be possible without the support we have received from the local government leaders that we have worked with over the course of this year. Our partners in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Denver, Lexington, Long Beach, Mesa, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and San Antonio have opened doors, removed barriers, and been integral partners in the development of the work. They are the change makers that will carry the work forward, and continue a new approach to problem solving.
As CfA staff say a bittersweet goodbye to this year’s fellows, and as the fellows begin the next chapter in their lives, we are excited to welcome them and their government partners into a growing network of alumni — an amazing group of people who are out there in the world making our communities better.