Our Programs

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Through popular-education techniques, participants map out a research project at a DataCenter training.

Whether you are working in a community partnership as grassroots organizer or a researcher at a university or an institution, DataCenter can help your research process be strategic, powerful, and effective. Unlike conventional research firms, we see opportunities within research to deepen community engagement and bridge the gaps of culture, language, and information. Within each of our programs lies an opportunity to cultivate deeper relationships that strengthen the work of social justice overall.

DataCenter advances its mission through the following three programs:


The Grassroots Research Training Program (GRTP) (PDF)

  • With DataCenter’s help, you’ll learn how to collect and analyze data and effectively tell you own stories in your own voices, in ways that are relevant to communities and cannot be ignored by social and political institutions. Through a combination of trainings, curriculum and tools, we will support you in developing skills in research methodologies and participatory research methods. Read more.
  • Check out a DataCenter training case study.

[DataCenter] Greatly increased our capacity to engage in research to gather and document powerful stories, as well as recruit directly affected members to plug into campaigns.” – Participant of the national webinar on democratizing research and evaluation for constituents of Domestic Violence Prevention agencies


Research for Community Power Program (RCPP) (PDF)

  • Community organizations can forge strategic partnerships with DataCenter to document evidence and facilitate community-driven research that helps them develop effective campaigns for policy change. RCPP boosts grassroots organizing efforts across geography, constituencies, and issue areas, strengthening their effectiveness and impact through a facilitative approach. Need an example of how community-driven research is key in building community power? Check out How Domestic Workers Won Their Rights: Five Big Lessons from Portside.org. Read more.
  • Check out a DataCenter strategic partnership case study.

Our partnership with the DataCenter was amazingly important and critical to our success.  Staff were exceptionally well prepared, incredibly dedicated and helped us build the research in a supportive way.” –Zachary Norris, Justice for Families, on first-ever national documentation of and by families with incarcerated children, and
report publication through two-year DataCenter partnership, 2013


Meaningful Community Engagement Consulting Services (PDF)

  • At DataCenter, we believe in empowering communities to lead, develop, and implement their own knowledge and Research Justice strategies to inform community-driven solutions. With over 30 years of experience serving organizations, public agencies, and institutions, DataCenter is committed to advancing meaningful community input from marginalized communitiess. Read more.
  • Check out a DataCenter consultation case study.
  • Watch Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, author of Decolonizing Methodologies, discuss DataCenter’s role in creating impactful research:

DataCenter services made it possible for us to prove, with data, how important the services that Planned Parenthood provides are to the community. This data continues to be utilized to inform decision makers about the reality of their constituents the continued dire need for our services.”  –Annie Lundahl, Policy Director, Planned Parenthood of CA, 2012


Read about our trainings at colleges and universities!


Why Invest in DataCenter?

DataCenter fills a unique niche in the field of community organizing and civic engagement. As an institution that trains community organizers and members on how to conduct high-level research within their communities and among their peers, DataCenter sets itself apart as more than just a think tank. In the progressive movement, there is often a separation between research and policy organizations and the communities that they purport to serve. This can, and has, lead to policy recommendations that are out of step with the true needs of marginalized communities.

DataCenter provides a hybrid model: sophisticated research methods, and strong connections to the community. This unique niche makes DataCenter deeply relevant to the field of community organizing and civic engagement as a research shop that is accurately in touch with community needs.

DataCenter’s work is designed to make the field more rigorous, efficient, and reflective, and thus effective. Through working with DataCenter, community organizations increase the rigor of their work. Organizations that previously made assumptions or put forth general statements about the needs of their constituents, after working with DataCenter have concrete strategies to add quantitative and qualitative data to their reports and campaigns.


DataCenter increases the “return on investment” for the organizations it partners with. By training a community organization on how to conduct research, DataCenter is increasing that organization’s yield in terms of policy, finances, leadership development, and overall sustainability.

1) As most recently evidenced by its work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, DataCenter’s trainings increase the possibility that policy campaigns will be successful. Adding concrete data about the experiences and needs of the domestic workers directly contributed to the strength of the argument for a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York, and ultimately, its passage. Organizers involved in that effort state clearly that training its constituents to do the research themselves was a crucial part of the campaign strategy.

2) Financially, organizations that can provide an accurate and sophisticated assessment their community’s needs will be much more likely to be taken seriously for government funding, private grants, or other donations.

3) Additionally, any strong community-based organization is focused on the leadership development of its constituents and members. DataCenter’s trainings provide a container for that work, training staff and volunteers on concrete skills that will be applicable in many settings, not just community organizing. In this way, not only is DataCenter developing leaders of specific partner organizations, but also training social justice activists that can bring their skills to bear for a lifetime of activism.

4) And, DataCenter increases the overall sustainability of its partner organizations by increasing their impact, and thereby making them more relevant in the fields in which they work and more attractive as strategic allies and grantees.


Contact us to begin your project or schedule a training!

DataCenter is a proud member of the Sophia Network.


Not sure exactly what you need or don’t see it listed here? Contact us and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you.