We have some good news!
We’re very excited that Amanda Renteria today takes the helm as Code for America’s next CEO. She is a perfect fit to build upon our momentum, navigate us through uncertain times, and take Code for America into its second decade. Amanda brings a distinguished track record in public service, from legislative to political to administrative to nonprofit. Her experience, influence, and knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to grow and scale our impact throughout government. Amanda’s been working for years to bring systems change to our state and federal governments. Furthermore, she is an experienced campaigner and coalition-builder. She’s already hit the ground running—there’s much to do.
At a time when we’re all painfully aware of the need for government that works for people, at the scale and speed of need, Amanda begins to lead Code for America into its next era of bold change.
When we first started on our journey with Code for America, we did so because the vision excited us: government that works for the people, by the people, in the digital age. We declared a bold, audacious belief that this would be the biggest source of societal good for a generation.
Over the past decade, Code for America has worked to bring this to life. We started with an inaugural fellowship cohort of 20 fellows partnered with Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The journey has not been a linear one. We’ve certainly had course corrections along the way, and we’ve solidified our programmatic focus and grown and scaled where we’ve had the most impact. Across all of our work, we’ve sought to demonstrate and instill the principles and practices of delivery-driven government. It’s clear that our work is making significant progress towards our vision, both by improving how governments operate and deliver services, and by helping individual people impacted by those services. Our work has impacted people across all 50 states, and we’ve helped almost 2 million people get access to public assistance, clear their eligible criminal records, and access other critical government services. We’ve built a network of tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers across 85 chapters nationwide. Furthermore, we’ve led the field with industry-defining publications and led the creation of a community around improving how government serves its people.
We’ve demonstrated that working with, not around, governments is critical to inspire change, make change real, and most importantly, to make change stick. We’ve emphasized the importance of cultivating an ecosystem of public servants, technologists, advocates, activists, and volunteers that put people first, treating them with utmost respect and dignity—reclaiming government as a massive, powerful force for good.
In the face of the current pandemic, delivery-driven government is more important than ever. As of April 23, an estimated 20% of Americans are unemployed. 26 million have applied for unemployment insurance in the past six weeks. In California, we’ve observed a 350% increase in the number of SNAP applicants, 60% of whom are reporting no income at all. Unfortunately, there are reports across the country reports of government systems that are struggling to handle the surges in demand. As systems suffer from downtime and public agencies struggle with backlogs, it is ultimately the millions of struggling Americans who are hurt the most as they struggle to navigate systems and seek support, due to burdensome administrative processes coupled with unresponsive, unreliable systems. Also, the discussion around the aging technology misses the root cause of much of the struggle: many of these systems and processes were not designed to be human-centered in the first place.
This pandemic is shining a light on what we’ve been working on all this time: achieving efficient, effective service delivery that treats people with respect and dignity, restoring trust in government, by putting people first, improving systems continuously, informed by evidence, all while empowering public servants. We are fortunate to be in a place to help people in times of crisis during the pandemic in areas such as the safety net, flexible cash, and community-driven mutual aid, for example. Demand for our services is at an all-time high—and thanks to our supporters we’ve been responding to the crisis and also setting in motion ambitious plans to scale our impact.
We offer a profound thank you to Zeryn Sarpangal and Lou Moore for serving as co-interim CEOs for the past three months as we focused on the CEO search. We want to thank them both for their steady leadership, commitment to organizational health, and tireless dedication to Code for America’s mission, vision and values. To say that these are uncertain and challenging times would be an understatement, and it’s been astonishing to watch the two of them lead Code for America with intellect, compassion and grace—and increase our impact along the way. We hope you will join us in congratulating Amanda and welcoming her into the Code for America community. We encourage you to reach out with any questions, engage with Amanda on Twitter. Please continue to stay engaged—remember that we can’t do this work without you!