In this video interview, PolicyMap's Maggie McCullough discusses how mapping data helps enterprises asses their past impact and invest wisely for the future.
In 1998 Edward O. Wilson wrote, "We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely." Nearly a decade later The Reinvestment Fund launched PolicyMap to help people do just that. "Making data easy to access and easy to understand has been our driving mission since we launched PolicyMap,” affirms president Maggie McCullough.
PolicyMap is a a cloud-based data and mapping platform that anyone can use to aggregate an enormous amount of place-based information from public and private sources. It can be particularly useful for organizations reviewing their impact and considering the best investments of their resources for future impact. For example, McCullough explains, “[If an organization has] done a lot of work in a section of west Philadelphia, [they can find out:] How has that changed the neighborhood over time? How have incomes changed? How has the poverty rate changed? How have home prices changed?” PolicyMap was an early recipient of a Heron Enterprise Capital Grant, and McCullough also shares some of the steps the organization took to maintain a healthy enterprise while still offering such a robust tool freely to the public. Watch and read more below.
Success to me is seeing Policy Map in use by cities across the countries, multiple agencies, using it, thinking about where they’re making investments in a neighborhood so that they can all achieve their end goals more simply so that they’re strategically thinking about their work in neighborhoods. So at the end of the day they can begin to see more people coming out of poverty, more kids attending good schools, better public transportations at the right place.
 Wilson, Edward O. (1998) Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Random House.
Check out more from thought leaders in impact investing and philanthropy in our Influencer Series. This video was shot during a retreat for some of Heron’s investees in 2014.
This post was prepared by Nada Kittaneh & Deirdre Hess.