New solutions and philanthropy-driven approaches to vexing social problems are the focus of two articles that caught our attention at year's end. This is one.
In the November 2000 issue of Fast Company, contributing editor Scott Kirsner profiles Fund for the City of New York president Mary McCormick and highlights some of the ingenious ways in which the Fund is applying technology to urban problems. In addition to existing programs like its Center on Municipal Government Performance (which is rolling out a system that allows individuals to conduct digital surveys of their neighborhood streetscape with a handheld computer) and the Nonprofit Computer Exchange, the Fund is working on a new project called E-Community Connect that will bring Internet access and relevant content to low-income neighborhoods.
Still, McCormick has been involved with the problems of our cities long enough to know that technology alone cannot solve those problems. As she tells Kirsner, "We have to understand the needs and opportunities in these neighborhoods. Hooking up tenants to suprintendents in a housing project could be a profound change. But if we want to make a difference, we have to understand the human issues."