The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Leda DeRosa, who is pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning (MUP) at NYU Wagner, has been selected as a recipient of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She is one of 30 winners of the 2013 national competition, chosen from more than 1,050 applicants.
New Americans Fellows are selected on the basis of individual merit and promise - individuals who seem best-positioned to make a distinctive contribution to some aspect of American life. Clearly, Leda fits the bill.
Born in Korea, raised in Connecticut, Leda has a keen desire to work in underserved communities. This, she notes, arises from her complex immigrant and minority identities.
Leda graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, and was supported with scholarships and part-time jobs. She subsequently worked as a corporate legal assistant for a major New York-based international law firm and as Associate Director of an African-American think tank affiliated with Columbia Law School.
Each Fellow receives tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education in this country. The full slate of immigrant and academic stories can be found in all of its remarkable diversity here: 2013 Fellows' Bios.
Three NYU Wagner students won the $50,000 Social Venture Prize in the 2012-13 Entrepreneurs Challenge held at NYU Stern. Their winning idea, called Kinvolved, is a digital app that aims to reduce truancy by providing real-time data on classroom attendance to teachers, families, and students.
Kinvolved is the brainchild of Miriam Altman (MPA ’13), Alexandra Meis (MPA ’13), and Barrie Charney Golden (MBA/MPA ’14). Since December 2012, the Kinvolved program has been piloted in a public elementary school in Harlem. The Kinvolved team is now working on sales and distribution for the 2013-14 school year.
The Entrepreneurs Challenge, a university-wide competition held by Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, selected four winning teams in all, composed of students, alumni, and faculty from seven different NYU schools. These most promising innovators were chosen after pitching their ideas and enduring a rigorous Q&A by judges from the venture capital, technology, design, and social enterprise sectors.
The U.S. Department of Housing Preservation and Development has announced that a consortium including NYU Wagner will serve as the first National Resource Network Administrator under the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative. The SC2 Network, funded with HUD technical assistance resources, will provide cities with targeted technical assistance to help support locally identified priorities for economic growth and job creation.
In addition to Wagner, the consortium includes Public Financial Management, Enterprise Community Partners, HR & A Advisors, and the International City/County Management Association. Wagner’s lead professional for this endeavor is Neil Kleiman, who heads the NYU Wagner Innovation Labs.
Click here to read the HUD announcement.
In 2010, nonprofits in the U.S. numbered 1.5 million, with $1.51 trillion in revenues, and to find particulars or overall trends about this vast and growing sector of the economy, many people use the Form 990. This is the financial and organizational report that every tax-exempt organization submits annually to the Internal Revenue Service.
Yet, like many public documents, the forms are not so easy for researchers, practitioners, and others to access and analyze.
Writing in a recent paper, Beth Noveck, a visiting professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, along with co-author Daniel L. Goroff, a program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, asked whether government transparency could be enhanced with technology to better support innovation, engagement, and outcomes in the nonprofit sector.
Noveck, who formerly led President Barack Obama’s Open Government Initiative, is immersed in studying the broad, important issue of how governments can better use tech-enabled platforms to engage the citizenry. In her Aspen Institute paper with Goroff, entitled “Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data,” she finds that, like other data collected by the U.S. government, the information in the Form 990s could be far more beneficial “if it were not only ‘public’ but ‘open’ data.” That is: “Available to all, free of charge, in a standard format, published without proprietary conditions, and available online as a bulk download rather than through single-entry lookup.
“Making the 990 data truly open… would not only make it easier to use for the organizations that already process it,” the authors write, “but would also make it useful to researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, technologists, and nonprofits that do not have the resources to use the data in its current form.”
The move would also encourage greater transparency by nonprofits, spur innovation in the sector, and “above all, help us to understand the potential value of the 990 data,” note the authors.
At present, the IRS creates Form 990 image files and sells DVD compilations to subscribers.
“Just as most people have gotten accustomed to sharing large files via a service like Dropbox, it would be simple for the IRS to publish the returns online for anyone to download in bulk for free,” Noveck wrote in a recent blog post about the paper.
But if converting the Form 990 into an open-data government document sounds straightforward, the co-authors find that it isn’t a simple delivery. Liberating government data of all kinds, they write, typically requires overcoming technological, political, and cultural barriers to change.
[Originally appeared in NYU Research Digest, Spring 2013].
A host of outstanding Wagner individuals and groups have been recognized by New York University as recipients of the 2013 President's Service Awards.
The recipients, who were honored at a ceremony on April 17, include:
Wagner Environmental Policy and Action (WEPA) for their efforts in working tirelessly alongside Wagner staff, NYU's Sustainability Office and NYU Facilities to create a workable composting system at Wagner's offices in the Puck Building.
Wagner Health Network (WHN) for their innovative approach to student professional development, quality programming and unparalleled partnerships with the school and the university.
The Wagner Review for its commitment to and success in promoting rich dialogue on issues of public service among members of the NYU community.
Claudia Espinosa for exceptional leadership in founding the L.O.V.E. Mentoring Program and her commitment to serving the Latina community.
Matthew Guidarelli for his admirable efforts in coordinating the 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp.
All the winners have done themselves, and Wagner, proud!
Click here to view photos of the event.