Director of Data Capacity Development appointed to national civic data executive board

Civic Data and Innovation

Altonio Smith, Innovate Memphis

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a civic data-centered learning network connecting independent partner organizations in more than 30 cities. Coordinated by the Urban Institute, NNIP’s mission is to ensure all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. NNIP network organizations share a common goal to connect residents, nonprofits, government, and other stakeholders with data in order to build a shared understanding of community issues and develop solutions together.

Innovate formally joined NNIP as Memphis’ designated partner site in 2020, having built its reputation as a civic data intermediary over several years with accomplishments including:

*Maintaining the Memphis Property Hub housing data platform since 2016

*Launching the City of Memphis Office of Performance Management in 2016 that has received Bloomberg What Works Cities certifications for the past four years

*Facilitating quarterly Civic Data Forums with 30+ local organizations since 2019

*Completing major research and analysis projects for 15+ civic organizations since 2019

*Winning the Urban Institute Thomas Kingsley Impact Award in 2022 for our research partnership with Memphis’ COMMONS organizations on housing stability and eviction protections at the onset of COVID-19

One of the unique characteristics of NNIP is that it is governed by an Executive Board of elected local partner members who steer the direction of the network. Innovate Memphis is pleased to announce that our Director of Data Capacity Development, Altonio Smith, has been elected to the NNIP Executive Board for a three-year term.  The Executive Board includes leaders from the Urban Institute and six local site members who plan partnership strategy, monitor performance, and advise on ongoing activities and policies of the partnership. The other five members are Geoff Smith (Chicago), Victor Amaya (Milwaukee), Mariko Toyoji (Seattle), Lamar Gardere (New Orleans), and Amy Carroll-Scott (Philadelphia).

When asked what his new leadership role on the NNIP Executive Committee means to him, Smith said,I am so excited about the opportunity to serve.  In the words of Muhammad Ali, ‘Service is the rent you pay for your place here on earth.’ By working closely with such an impactful organization, my roles in guiding NNIP’s mission and empowering organizations and cities to influence change via civic data will truly be inspiring.”

Smith added, “The reason I want to serve is that my time, talents, and skills will be impactful in NNIP’s core mission to ensure all communities have the access and skills to use data to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. My talents can assist this organization in shaping a future where people use data to increase racial and economic equity and well-being in their communities.”

Altonio Smith has extensive experience as an urban planning professional working with municipalities, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals to achieve social equality and sustainable living in sectors ranging from health and safety to community development. Smith began his career in the U. S. Army, achieving the rank of Captain before transitioning to the private and then nonprofit sectors. Smith holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Business from Alabama A&M University.  He has worked in progressive management and leadership roles, garnering attention for his consulting expertise in business development, data and analytics, planning, and economic development.

During Smith’s tenure as the Director of Data Capacity Development with Innovate Memphis, he has partnered with numerous local organizations to help solve social and technical civic problems, identifying systemic issues via data and analytics, and empowering stakeholders to advance their work using data. Some of his past projects have included developing community-wide data collection methods to assess the economic impact of Memphis’ arts & culture sector, providing data analysis, visualization, and reporting to support the City and County government Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and facilitating quarterly Civic Data Forums with over 30 local organizations. Smith is dedicated to being a technical process and data partner with individuals, community-based organizations, and government agencies.

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