The project

The City of Durham lacks consistent expectations, methods, and tools for evaluating community engagement. Most of the impacts of inequitable community engagement and development affect low-wealth areas with limited resources to address the need for capacity building.

Fellows Laura Biediger and Jacob Lerner will create a set of tools to gather demographic data during City engagement activities. These tools will help the City understand who is participating in City processes, and identify which methods are most effective in increasing equitable community engagement.

The team

Jacob Lerner Jacob Lerner

Community Fellow

Jacob is a Community Engagement Coordinator in the City of Durham. He is originally from Washington, D.C and has organized with worker, student and community leaders, primarily in North Carolina. In his current role, Jacob focuses on building relationships with residents to support community organizing efforts. Recently, he has helped lead the process of creating the City’s draft Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint that focuses on using a race equity lens to shift the way the City conducts engagement.

Laura Biediger Laura Biediger

Community Fellow

Laura is a Community Engagement Strategist with the City of Durham. She is passionate about connecting people, organizing towards a strategic goal, and fostering an environment of learning and innovation. She created and manages the City’s Neighborhood Matching Grant program and co-authored the City's Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint. Laura currently serves as the Chair and South Region Representative on Code for America’s National Advisory Council and as a Brigade Organizer with Code for Durham. She received her MPA and BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Code for America Community Fellowship

Code for America’s Community Fellowship pairs local talent from our Brigade Network with city governments to improve services for vulnerable people they serve.

It bridges the talent gap in the tech and public service sectors by giving government staff the experience of working with technologists, and technologists the experience of working in government jobs.

The Fellowship ultimately strengthens the relationship between local Network leaders and their governments—to create conditions where change can “stick” and help transform government from the inside out.

The Community Fellowship is part of the
Talent Initiative at Code for America.