Government doesn’t work as it should for many Americans today. Flawed bureaucratic processes keep government programs from reaching the tens of millions of Americans they are intended to help. They also trap people with the fewest resources in cycles of needless incarceration. Forty percent of people behind bars in the U.S. are there for no compelling public safety reason. And in California alone, 2.2 million people eligible for food assistance don’t get it.
Code for America instruments government systems to uncover the impact of technology, operations, and policies on the public. Its program areas are threefold: health, criminal justice, and workforce development. Its process is user-centered, iterative, and data-driven. First, Code for America helps users navigate the systems; then it works with governments to improve those systems and get better outcomes for both users and taxpayers.
Code for America has built multiple pathways to scale. It builds easy-to-use, open source digital services that improve government program delivery, then uses data gleaned from these services to work with government partners to fix operations. Code for America promotes policy change that actually works by centering it in real-world data. It builds bridges for government leaders to share best practices via a nation-wide civic tech movement, with thousands of volunteers in 64 active chapters, called Brigades, which work with local governments to engage the community and improve services.