The Aunt Bertha Blog

Why Data Matters

Aunt Bertha has always been more than a directory. She’s theAunt we all had growing up. Not only could she spout out information – but she also gives you context. Any levels of context really. Aunt Bertha could sitback on the front porch with you and philosophize about the debt crisis. She could also tell you the best job placement center to go to in the City. She'd even pack your lunch. 

We love the directory service we provide. We live and breathe this stuff. But we’re about something even bigger. What if we could use data to truly understand the supply and demand of human services? What if we could know –exactly – why City X has more food pantries than City Y when they are the same size and they have the same demand for food?

We collect 45 fields (and growing) about every program we list. It’s above and beyond the call, no doubt. But we believe it’s important because we know that good data tells us stuff.We just started to collect data for programs in Houston, TX (the fourth largest city in the United States). We recently listed 221 food programs there. Look at what we learned about Houston with just a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. 

I believe it's something very important. 

What can we learn from this simple report?

  • Don't be hungry in Houston on a Sunday (3 pantries are open - 15 total operating hours)
That's one thing. But what can we do with information like this? Imagine if you are a charitable foundation. Imagine if you're about to fund a grant related to hunger in Houston. Wouldn't information like this be helpful when you make that decision? Wouldn't you also like to capture real-time demand? 

Stay tuned. Bertha's on it. | a directory with a brain 

---What do you think the story is about the operating hours? What would you guess? Let's start the conversation right here! (leave a comment, Sugar!) 

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Topics: human services policy houston data foundations

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