This page is a collection of articles, webinars, and other content I found worth saving for future reference which may be of assistance to my nonprofit and information technology colleagues. These are items of interest and not intended to be an endorsement of any product, service, or vendor. Please send questions or comments to info[at]

10/11/2018 - Website - The Opportunity Agenda's Social Justice Phrase Guide

This site came to my attention via the Heartland Alliance Research & Policy newsletter. The newsletter gives an update on the work they are doing and includes a feature on "What We're Reading" where this resource was mentioned. Sign up for their newsletter here:

9/27/2018 - Podcast - Why it’s hard to design fair machine learning models an interview with Sharad Goel, assistant professor at Stanford, and his student Sam Corbett-Davies on the O’Reilly Data Show Podcast

Algorithmic fairness is still an open question. The research presented provides some insight into how data scientists need to be trained to help understand bias in machine decision making and learning.

9/27/2018 - Webinar - Mapping Business Processes to Compliance Procedures presented by Kim Brushaber on Dataversity

The second half of the webinar gives some good examples of how you can use solid business process mappings to improve your IT compliance position.


An over $250 million dollar cybersecurity incident necessitating the wholesale rebuilding of 4,000 servers and 45,000 PCs for one company alone that started with a single software installation. Wow.

9/17/2018 - Article - Want effective capacity building? Get rid of the incubation mentality by Vu Le on the blog

Mr. Le is the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps. His blog is fun to follow. His blog is fun to follow. This week's article on grantor's bias against nonprofit organizations using a third party "shared services" model for back-office services is interesting because it runs totally counter to the trend in IT where it is all about maximizing value through the use of "as-a-service" platforms.

9/7/2018 - Article - 3 ways to find out what your data people aren’t telling you by Tyler Durman on Data World Blog

Applying good project management practices to data.... with a couple of links to helpful checklists.

8/23/2018 - Article - Rauner OKs Bill to Give Police, Communities “Road Map” to Fight Opioid Crisis by David Ormsby via the Chicago Tribune.

From the 4/19/208 article about this same bill, there is an interesting quote - "The data collection provisions also provide a platform for ensuring that the racial disparities present in the criminal justice system can be prevented in deflection programs as they develop," said [Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) President Pamela Rodriguez]. "The data collection and analysis are a crucial component." I can say I wholeheartedly agree. In addition to funding the substance abuse programs themselves however, will there be any financial assistance in helping organizations create the necessary mechanism for securely providing this information?

8/23/2018 - Article - What on Earth Does Design Thinking Have to Do with Nonprofits? by Emily Taylor on ACN.

Good article! I really like Emily's work. I recommend checking out the blog on her company's web site - teenyBIG.

8/15/2018 - Editorial Note - Lets Add Consent!

I am starting a new certification program, HCISPP – Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner through (ICS)2 and I am excited to formalize my knowledge. With recent GDPR regulations and the discussion around building straightforward user agreements, I wonder if the lexicon is due for an update from "Privacy and Security" to "Privacy, Security, and Consent"?

8/14/2018 - Article - Faxploit: Sending Fax Back to the Dark Ages by Eyal Itkin and Yaniv Balmas via Check Point Research

I heard about this first through Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal then looked up the source article which has a lot more technical background. It is no surprise that there are unanticipated consequences of doing a tech mashup of tech like faxing with high powered network devices like MFPs. Does this mean we can finally let the fax rest in peace?

7/17/2018 - Article - Of oaths and checklists by Mike Loukides, Hilary Mason, DJ Patil on O'Reilly

Checklists have always been a valuable tool in IT... when you can get adherence. This article has a simple one you can integrate into your existing processes to help build fairness into your deployment projects.

7/17/2018 - Video - Barack Obama delivers the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg on YouTube from PBS News Hour

I finally had a chance to watch President Obama's lecture in Johannesburg. The historical narrative is informative, and his ability to see world problems from multiple perspectives is refreshing. I would recommend, however, using the 'hide chat replay' function unless you are very interested in seeing just how uncivil conversation can be.

7/10/2018 - Article - The Rise of ‘Urban Tech’ by Richard Florida on CityLab

The amount of money going into tech startups serving major urban areas is staggering, and the impact of their operations on local infrastructure is often unforeseeable. There is a real opportunity for local governments to negotiate better access to corporate data to plan city services and build incentive programs to make sure new businesses contribute responsibly to the quality of life.

7/9/2018 - Article - Shelter Design Can Help People Recover from Homelessness by Jill Pable for CityLab

6/27/2018 - Article - Proposed Chicago Ordinance Could Put US Cities on Data Privacy Regulatory Map by Gabrielle Orum Hernández for Legal Tech News

A patchwork of local and state regulations on data privacy will complicate an already murky compliance picture for organizations operating in Chicago. If you had hoped this would improve the transparency or accuracy of information used by government or law enforcement, this doesn't seem to offer anything for you either - " Not only does the bill not apply to most government entities, it includes some significant exemptions to its opt-in policy around geolocation services for broad public safety and law enforcement needs".

6/26/2018 - Article - Hard-Pressed by Soft Skills, CIOs Face Talent Challenge by Gary Beach on the WSJ Blogs

For nonprofit organizations, finding the right set of affordable IT skills is especially challenging. This article bolsters the argument that nonprofits are better served finding people with the right cultural match to work with their constituents in-house and outsourcing highly technical work to service providers.

6/6/2018 - Article - Develop Your Technology Risk Appetite by Jill Beadle on Gartner

Enabling your IT Department to make informed decisions about information security requires senior leadership to be transparent about the level of risk that is acceptable to achieve your organization's strategic objectives.

5/22/2018 - Webinar Series - New FASB Nonprofit Accounting Guidelines: What’s Next? on Nonprofit Quarterly

I enjoyed catching parts of this webinar and seeing the tools they are offering to help organizations comply with new financial reporting requirements. It is especially helpful as a guide for technology professionals to understand how these changes may impact their user's demands for additional reporting capabilities.

3/14/2018 - Article - DIY PCI compliance: What nonprofits need to know to protect their donors by Kevin Lamanna on NTEN

This good helpful information and a reminder that standards compliance is a never-ending journey.

2/27/2018 - Article - Palantir Has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Its Predictive Policing Technology by Ali Winston on Verge

The expansion in use of technology to improve public safety and manage crime within cities is progressing at an alarming rate. There is not a lot of transparency about how cameras and other data collection methods are being used. Many vendor contracts are vague under the guise of protecting corporate intellectual property, leaving the oversight of use and implementation to a small group of professionals within local governments. The tool discussed in this article isn't surprising, but the lack of transparency about its authorization and use is very worrying.

2/26/2018 - Article - Facebook Foreshadowing: German Court Underscores Tech’s Uncertain GDPR Future by Rhys Dipshan on

The May 25th, 2018 effective date for the EU General Data Protection Regulations is quickly approaching. How and when in practice people must provide consent for the use of their data as a part of the GDPR has been an open question. This recent ruling based on the existing and less stringent principles in the EU Directive 95/46/EC does not bode well for organization's compliance with new regulations. Privacy by design needs to be the new approach when developing platforms of any kind, but who knows how this will impact the marketplace where the product is "free", but you pay with your personal information.

2/21/2018 - Article - Fiscal Sponsorship: A Hidden Resource for Nonprofit Entrepreneurs by Fredrik O. Andersson and Daniel Gordon Neely on Nonprofit Quarterly

Recognizing that more effective and equitable social service delivery and community development will necessarily involve empowering more local community organizations raises the question of how to make it happen. This article discusses fiscal sponsorship as a means to provide start up-and operating support for new or small nonprofits. A shared services model (see Rainier Valley Corps) may be another workable model.

2/21/2018 - Article - Privacy for Whom? by Sam Adler-Bell on The New Inquiry

This article came to me by way of The Marshall Project daily newsletter and piqued my interest as a review of two books on the intersections of privacy, technology, and public aid. I am currently reading Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor and it looks like I will need to add Khiara M. Bridges', The Poverty of Privacy Rights to my list. While the technology and algorithm aspects of the debate on social services are relatively new, it is important to remember how these tools are just a reflection of society's view of people in poverty. If you have not heard it, I highly recommend WNYC's On The Media series Busted: America's Poverty Myths.

2/20/2018 - Remembrance or Fred Rogers

Thank you to CityLab for the reminder about the 50th anniversary of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Spending a few minutes listening to old interviews and tributes was a welcome respite from the storm of day-to-day life and a reminder to slow down, step away, think, and remain compassionate. I started by listening to the recommended 1984 interview with Fred Rogers on NPR's Fresh Air and moved on to watching some old interview clips on YouTube. The ads on YouTube did seem especially mindless after hearing Roger's words. Many Fred Roger's quotes read like platitudes, but hearing him speak them in his caring and deliberate way is what gives them their essential genuine quality. Though I can't do it justice the following is from the aforementioned Fresh Air interview and lifted me up today:

"So much that is spontaneous is what can be truly inspired. All that I have done that has been helpful and good was inspired." - Fred Rogers

It reminded me that creativity and compassion in this moment should drive what I do every day. Thanks, Mr. Rogers. You are missed.

Take a moment to check out 'A Neighborhood Is Alive and Fluid' by ARIEL ABERG-RIGER from June 28, 2017

2/7/2016 - Article - The Case Against Sidewalks by Alissa Walker on Curbed

Technology, transportation, equity... and the sidewalk. This is an interesting look at how re-examining the "cars v. everything else" mentality can give us better cities and cheaper, more efficient transportation.

2/6/2016 - Article - The Rise of 'Digital Poorhouses' by Tanvi Misra on Citylab

A very enlightening interview with Virginia Eubanks on her new book Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. The discussion includes perspectives on Coordinated Entry Systems for housing services which is of particular interest to me. Fortunately, the Client Consent for Data Sharing for Chicago's HMIS system does seem to preclude the lackadaisical standards for data sharing referenced in this article, though the Privacy Policy does not necessarily require a court order for release of information (see Section D).

2/6/2018 - Webinar - The Financial Risks of US Nonprofits and How to Manage Them on Nonprofit Quarterly by SeaChange Capital Partners

What is the impact of financial risk for non profit organizations and how do we measure it? What are the risks for communities where they work? This webinar is just a little scary, and very enlightening. At about 24:30 there is a list of reasons why non profits fail; it is a good list to have in the back of your mind for any budget discussion for your organization.

2/2/2018 - Announcement - Web Integrity Project from The Sunlight Foundation

I will be watching the work of the Web Integrity Project from The Sunlight Foundation. Their aim is "to monitor changes to government websites, holding the federal government accountable by revealing changes to public information and access to Web resources". With the proliferation of public data sources it is easy to assume the availability of key information from our institutions would only be increasing. It will be interesting to have a reputable organization monitoring and testing the actual trends.

1/31/2018 - Article - How to Assess a Vendor's Data Security on Electronic Frontier Foundation by Cooper Quintin and Soraya Okuda

This article provides a good checklist to think through when deciding to use a new software platform. HIPAA, GDPR, and state laws on information privacy and security are maturing and demanding organizations do a better job of assessing the practices of their vendor and cloud service providers as a part of understanding their security posture. Any employee can sign up for an online service and start sharing your organizations's data; that puts you and your clients at risk. Concise articles like this can help your users better understand the considerations prior to clicking "I accept" and using a new platform. I also love the reminder issues here - “if the software is free, then you are the product” .

Happy Data Privacy Day, January 28th!

What is it? The National Cyber Security Alliance says "Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower individuals and encourage businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust". Find out more at Stay Safe Online.

1/26/2018 - Article - ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US on Verge by Russell Brandom

Chicago has 298 red light cameras as of 1/22/2018. Redflex systems, the previous vendor operating Chicago's system, is listed as a partner with Vigilant whom ICE has contracted with for license plate data. The City of Chicago Red Light Camera Enforcement page does not list any information on their data collection or sharing practices.

1/25/2018 - Article - Why Sweden Clears Snow-Covered Walkways Before Roads on StreetsBlog by Angie Schmitt

Gender equity and snow removal; a perfect discussion to consider on a January day in Chicago. This article also contains a link to this video (shown right) from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions which is a lot of fun. If you follow though to the YouTube page, however, avoid the comments...

1/24/2018 - Webinar - Enterprise Data Governance Online 2018. Multiple presentations from Dataversity.

Hitchhikers Guide to GDPR presented by Daragh O Brien - Good data governance and security are at the heart of the GDPR. This presentation also includes an interesting discussion on how the GDPR is an opportunity to align data management practices with the ethics and values of your organization.

Data Quality Metrics to Live By from Dan Myers - A review of ongoing challenges companies are facing with data quality and availability which includes discussion on the Conformed Dimensions of Data Quality initiative to help you understand and define critical terms for implementing a data quality program.

Data Governance & Data Data Architecture: Alignment & Accountability from Nigel Turner - Practical insights on how to use leanings from the Trends in Data Architecture: A DATAVERSITY 2017 Report with your data governance and data quality initiatives. Yes, Only 3% of Companies’ Data Meets Basic Quality Standards.

Dataversity webinars spark interesting participant chat conversations. Its worth attending live to participate.

1/22/2018 - Article - No, Really, What Are Sharrows Good For? from BRIAN MCENTEE on

Lets start with, what is a sharrow? They are the "Bike and Arrow" not-quite-a-bike-lane marker. From the sound of it, they may not be worth the paint they are made from.

1/20/2018 - Web Site - Girls Go CyberStart announced in the SANS Institute newsletter.

Signups are now open in the US for the high school girls GirlsGoCyberStart competition in 16 US states ( and the UK 2018 CyberFirst Girls Competition (girls) and CyberDiscovery competition (boys and girls). The US competition is open to all high school girls (public/private/home-schooled) in the following states (HI, NV, CO, WY, TX, IA, IN, MS, NC, MD, WV, DE, NJ, NY, CT, VT, and American Samoa) and the schools don't have to participate - the kids can play from home.

1/18/2018 - Webinar - You Put Your Data Where? Protecting Your Data in the Hybrid Cloud.

by NetApp Cloud Data Services, 1901 Group, BriteSky and the CO Location facilities of Equinix. Presentation hosted on BrightTALK.

It's not IF you will be moving your data to the cloud, its how and how soon. This is a very interesting presentation on hybrid cloud options to merge private data with public compute resources to meet compliance, sovereignty, and security requirements and move to consumption based pricing.

1/18/2018 - Webinar - Outcome Measures: The Metrics That Matter for Nonprofits , Presentation hosted on the Sage Intact webinars page.

Introductory information on establishing outcomes measures instead of just tracking activities. Presentation includes a short product demo of their dashboards reviewed for non technical viewers.

1/18/2018 - Webinar - Five Principles For Securing DevOps from Security Boulevard. Presentation hosted on the webinar page.

The presentation provides a little background on the evolution of DevOps as a methodology evolving from Waterfall through Agile and discusses the challenges for making the shift to continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).

1/18/2018 - Webinar - The Impact of GDPR: Even if You're Not in the EU from Fortinet.

A good general overview of the GDPR and its potential impacts on US organizations. At about 13 minutes in comes a good section generally answering "am I affected". A specific resource they reference is a GRPR Handbook from White & Case which has a tremendous amount of information, as well as a good general overview from the UK Information Commissioner's Office.

1/17/2018 - Webinar - Avoid Meltdown from the Spectre from Jimmy Graham, Director of Product Management, Qualys. Presentation hosted on BrightTALK.

Presented a week after the announcement of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, the first 17 minutes are a helpful recap of what is known now and the status of mitigation efforts. Takeaways - this is still mitigation not full remediation, the process has not been smooth, there are a number of steps involved in the process, and there is a performance hit. The remainder of the presentation is based on the Qualys platform.

12/4/2017 - Webinar - Value of Employment for People Experiencing Homelessness from the National Transitional Jobs Network

11/21/2017 - Video - Debate: Tech Companies Should Be Required To Help Law Enforcement Execute Search Warrants To Access Customer Data on Intelligence Squared

Can we have both security and privacy? I am sympathetic to the desires of law enforcement to have access to every piece of digital information in an investigation. People seeking to secure their private information, however, should have the right to do so. Building in a back-door to allow access to private information for law enforcement is an invitation for abuse by the government, criminal actors, and technology companies themselves.

11/16/2017 - Resource - 10 Principles for Responsible Municipal Data Management from the Sunlight Foundation

Responsible data handling must guide our vision . Organizations using data to foster continuous improvement or focus on factors which impact inequality will require gathering more - and more sensitive - information. Our role will undoubtedly put us in a position of stewardship for ever greater volumes of information which could be used to the detriment of the marginalized populations we serve. The 10 Principles for Responsible Municipal Data Management from the Sunlight Foundation echoes some of the core tenants we need to bear in mind with our data-focused initiatives. The article " Sanctuary Cities Are Evolving into Digital Sanctuaries" By Cyndi Suarez (November 15, 2017 - Nonprofit Quarterly) also calls out how these principles apply specifically to immigration status. Both items are well worth reading and considering as we make data more accessible internally and continue to receive funding from and provide data to entities which may not share our respect for the sanctity of the privacy of our participants.

10/26/2017 - Article - Is Your Nonprofit a Dangerous Dumping Ground? on Nonprofit Quarterly by Sheela Nimishakavi

This article in Nonprofit Quarterly, Is Your Nonprofit a Dangerous Dumping Ground asks the question "when should nonprofits turn down funding?". On its face, it seems a clear answer would be when a program does more harm than good. But, how do nonprofit organizations not suitably capacitated for rigorous outcomes tracking make this determination?

10/24/2017 - Standard - NASW ASWB Standards for Technology Social Work Practice from the National Association of Social Workers

It is always interesting to read professional guidelines which impact our work in information technology. Should the NASW Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice be required reading for all IT Pros in our sector? If you know of similar standards for technology which should guide our work, please email them to me.

10/9/2017 - Video - Scrum and Agile Planning with Project 2013 from Advisicon

This video is a couple versions behind, but still interesting to see how we use our old friend MS Project with updated project management methodologies (Scrum and Agile).

9/28/2017 - Software - Solve from Solve Smart Cities

A Chicago based social service software platform working with local community workflorce development programs and other non profits with job training programs. This looks like a very interesting project.

10/5/2017 - d-portal for insight into international aid data

Check out for information on how international aid is spent by country. Interesting initiaitve using data standards set by IATI, the International Aid Transparency Initiaitve. One thing i particularly like is their statement regarding data quality - here is an excerpt below:

  • The IATI standard is flexible in its reporting rules to allow as many different organisations with varying capacity to publish their data in this common format. The philosophy is for organisations to start publishing what they can and improve the quality of their data over time. This means that there will always be data of varying quality available through IATI.

10/3/2017 - Article - Oxfam and mobile data collection with SurveyCTO on MERLTech

Check out how Oxfam is improving outcomes reporting with SurveyCTO for mobile case management. Two highlights of organizational challenges which really strike me as interesting in their roll out of the technology:

- "For a system like this to truly be effective, fundamental responsibility for accountability must be shared organization-wide." Seems like a no brainer, but technology projects launced from within one department without full buy in from the others is not as effective.

- "Globally-predefined feedback categories turned out not to fit well with early deployment contexts"... ie. the way the data collection was designed did not reflect the language of the participants. This is another strong argument both for cultural competence and testing.

See more abut the SurveyCTO tool from Dobility here.

9/28/2017 - Software - StreetLight Chicago from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

This is a great example of putting technology into peoples hands to help them find the resources they need. Description from the site -

Homeless youth in Chicago have help from a free mobile phone app from Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. StreetLight Chicago is a new, free mobile phone app designed for use by homeless youth and the social service providers that support this vulnerable population. Launched Nov. 14, this mobile app gives timely information about the resources available to help youth, through age 24, who are homeless and living on their own.

The project collaboration between CCH and The Young Invincibles is an especially encouraging sign of the potential of the sector.

9/15/2017 - Article - Gang database compromises Chicago's sanctuary city protections on The Chicago Reporter by Curtis Black

When are you a data beneficiary versus a data target? This article highlights a key issue with data collection. The assumed intent of the database's the design would be to help protect and serve the residents of Chicago. The lack of transparency related to its use, maintenance, and unknown impact may be creating more harm than benefit. Who cares about one more database... until its used against you.

9/11/2017 - Adverstory - Putting Design at the Heart of Social Service Delivery on Fjord

If you work in social services you are familiar with just how awful the user experience of software (and services) can be within the sector. This article and video about a project between Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Fjord is a reminder of how technology and design can be used to improve participant/client experience and reflect the values of the organization.

9/7/2017 - Article - The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete on Wired

Do we need models if we have data? This Wired article argues the use of models and the postulation of theories are no longer necessary in an age where the data allows you to KNOW how things work. What is missing? The ethical choices inherent in the questions you ask, the principle of using data for the benefit of the data's subject, and the need to critically evaluate possible detrimental actions before taking action. Still, though, it is an interesting read.

8/30/2017 - Video - Empowering our staff to be data driven (or trying to!) on Vimeo

This is an enjoyable talk from Emily Tomkys from a MERL Tech conference on the challenges of data gathering and Oxfam's path forward to better date. Check it out here -

8/23/2017 - Videos - Revolabs Academy of Communication by Julian Treasure hosted on Revolabs

Interesting set of short videos on improving your effectiveness by improving listening... through culture, attitude, and technology.

These six videos include great tips for ways to make communication more effective. Yes, the commercial idea behind these posts is how much you need to upgrade to Revolabs technology, but the videos are good none the less.

8/1/2017 - Article - Drunk on Data: this C-Suite Compulsion May Lead to a Nasty Hang-Over at Braveshift

When is the quest for more data just an excuse to not act on what you know? When is data gathering harmful to problem solving? An interesting perspective in this article.

12/2016 - Publication - Integrating Big Data into the Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Programmes from United Nations Global Pulse