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What Counts:

Harnessing Data for America’s Communities

What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities, from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Urban Institute, outlines opportunities and challenges for the strategic use of data to reduce poverty, improve health, expand access to quality education, and build stronger communities.  It is a response to both the explosive interest in using data to guide community initiatives, investment strategies, and policy choices, and the vexing questions that accompany data-driven approaches. The volume brings together authors from community development, public health, education, finance, and law to offer ideas for using data more meaningfully and effectively across sectors and institutions. What Counts is not focused on finding one right answer; rather, it is meant to serve as the basis for smarter conversations about data going forward.

What Counts builds on key themes of a 2012 book—Investing in What Works for America’s Communities—that was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.  What Works calls on leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to recognize that they can achieve more by working together and by using data to gauge the context and reach of their efforts. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Urban Institute partnered to publish What Counts to address questions raised by What Works readers about how to best gather, analyze, and use data to understand what actually works for communities. Funding for What Counts was provided to the Urban Institute by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Senior Editors: Naomi Cytron, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, & G. Thomas Kingsley
Contributing Editors: David J. Erickson & Ellen S. Seidman

Read What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities

Read all of the articles from the book in the The Book section.

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The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, with branch offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Portland, and a cash processing office in Phoenix, provides wholesale banking services to financial institutions throughout the nine western states. As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates monetary policy, serves as a bank regulator, administers certain consumer protection laws, and is fiscal agent for the U.S. government.  Follow us on Twitter.

The Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.

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