THE KENNEDY SCHOOL IS RIGHTLY KNOWN as the most international of Harvard’s graduate schools, with more than 90 countries represented in a typical graduating class. So it’s almost easy to look past the School’s deep and broad domestic footprint. Not just in the corridors of D.C., boardrooms of New York, and start-ups of San Francisco, but all across the country. Not only in federal agencies and state governments, but also in nonprofits and private ventures. Through the work of degree program graduates and executive education participants, through the power of the ideas generated here, or through innovative collaborations, the School is working actively to make a difference across the country. See our interactive map and read more below.
The Government Performance Lab is using results-driven contracting to reorient local governments’ deployment of resources. In Seattle, the lab used this approach to help the city address a growing homelessness crisis. Between 2005 and 2016, Seattle’s budget for homeless services increased by nearly 75 percent to $50 million, yet homelessness continued to rise at an average rate of 13 percent per year from 2011 to 2016. The Government Performance Lab helped the city rework homeless service contracts, moving from a system that measured activities—such as beds occupied or showers administered—to a core set of metrics related to the outcomes the city cared most about—including whether individuals were progressing to stable housing situations. In 2017, Seattle announced that it would use the new framework in a procurement of homeless service contracts with a total value of $30 million. Read more here.
In April, when election officials and legislators from nearly a dozen western states gathered at the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting on Election Security in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a team from the Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P) was there. D3P, an initiative of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs under the direction of the center’s co-director, Eric Rosenbach—along with the former campaign managers for Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney—is identifying and recommending strategies, tools, and technologies to protect democratic processes and systems from cyberattacks. D3P has now engaged with 44 of the 50 U.S. states pre-midterm elections.
Window Rock, Arizona
Attorney General of the Navajo Nation, Ethel Branch MPP/JD 2008 oversees legal affairs for an area roughly the size of West Virginia. With a staff of 88 and limited resources, she innovates constantly. An annual Public Safety Summit she launched brought together officials to help coordinate efforts on problems such as violent crime, substance abuse, and suicide. Read more here.
South Bend, Indiana
Using data mapping, officials in South Bend found that low-income families were less likely to take advantage of mortgage tax exemptions and used the insights of behavioral experts to help its residents pursue the tax breaks they were entitled to. The program was one of several across the country in which behavioral experts from HKS teamed up with the Mayors Innovation Project to help cities take advantage of newly gleaned insights into how people make decisions.
A nationwide peer network of city chief data officers, the Civic Analytics Network, is helping cities like Louisville use data to make government more transparent and more responsive. The network is part of Data-Smart City Solutions, a program housed at the Ash Center and run by Professor Stephen Goldsmith, a city innovation specialist and the former mayor of Indianapolis.
The General Motors assembly plant in Moraine closed in 2008. More than 2,400 jobs were lost. But Andrew Deye MC/MPA 2015, managing director of strategy at Jobs Ohio, a private nonprofit charged with bringing investment and jobs to the state, helped see a new path forward for the town and the area. The nonprofit redeveloped the facility, which became a production plant for a Chinese glass manufacturer. The Fuyao Glass facility now employs 2,000 people, one of many success stories around the state. Read more here.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is one of 55 mayors from major cities who have taken part in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a program designed to bring mayors and their top aides together to learn from experts and from one another.
Bryan Stevenson MPP/JD 1985 has dedicated his life to representing the powerless in court through his organization, the Equal Justice Initiative. But he realizes the importance of changing the whole narrative on race and justice in the United States. With the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, dedicated to the victims of lynching, Stevenson has helped to do just that. Read more here.