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Growing a Movement With Help from Accela


What makes Code for America thrive? Two words: our network. The Code for America community exists to make our cities better. What makes us effective is that we’re not a mile wide and an inch deep – we seek long-term relationships with change-makers in government and civic companies like Accela, companies that play key roles in the open data movement.

This year, Accela supported our Peer Network and Brigade. Here’s a bit about what we achieved as a result!

In 2014, the Brigade, an international network of volunteer civic hackers, grew from 30 chapters to more than 130, with 5,000+ members. To better support this growing group, we published an organizer’s toolkit for those interested in lending their skills to the civic tech movement.

We also hosted a webinar on how to level up partnerships with your city. Check out “Building Lasting Relationships with Local Government with Accela,” featuring Code for America leaders from across the country.

In the video, Mark Headd, Accela’s Developer Evangelist, compares cities’ open data policies and Harlan Weber, Code for Boston’s Brigade Captain, shares tips about building partnerships within government. Weber’s advice for successful partnership? Start the conversation by saying, “We’re technologists, and we’re here to help,” rather than prescribing a solution right away.

Thanks to the support of Accela, we also worked with local governments, developers, and community groups to develop the OpenTrails geo data standard, an open data standard for U.S. public lands. Code for America Alumni Fellow Alan Williams and the team collaborated with more than a dozen government agencies in its development, as well as advisory groups such as the Trust for Public Land, the National Recreation and Park Association, GreenInfo Network, and major potential consumers Strava and All Trails.

Growing a movement takes support. We’re grateful for what the support of so many partners, including Accela, has helped accomplish.

Here’s to making an even bigger impact with civic-minded companies in 2015!