To celebrate 25 years of public service, DataHaven is launching the inaugural Innovation Awards, which aim to recognize those using data to benefit Connecticut communities.

DataHaven, a New Haven-based nonprofit dedicated to gathering data for neighborhoods and organizations across the state, hopes to “highlight the creativity and ingenuity of those who employ data to make Connecticut a better place” through the awards, according to the organization’s website. The awards encompass two categories: data for community impact and data related to education. The former category honors organizations, while the latter recognizes educators and students working with data.

“The Innovation Awards is something we’ll be doing every year,” said Mark Abraham ’04, executive director at DataHaven. “It’s a good way to bring together different data users and people who are using data in different ways around the state.”

Abraham said that DataHaven put out the call for nominations for the awards in order to learn more about “who else is out there and what projects they’re working on.” He added that Yale students and affiliates are among those nominated for the awards. He declined to comment on the specific nature of the projects nominated.

Like many of DataHaven’s projects, the Innovation Awards are the result of a collective effort between DataHaven and many of its partner organizations. The judges for the awards were selected from around the state and represent many community groups, including nonprofit organization Christian Community Action. The judges met on Wednesday to decide on award recipients.

Award winners will be announced at DataHaven’s Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 19. The Anniversary Celebration will be held at the Yale School of Management, and the event will feature several keynote speakers. Among these are DataHaven founders, 2020 census experts, the Connecticut State Information Technology Officer and a population health professor, according to Priscilla Canny GRD ’83, who is chair of DataHaven’s board of directors and a professor at the Yale School of Public Health.

When asked about DataHaven’s relationship to Yale, Canny and Abraham both said that the nonprofit traces its roots back to Yale in many ways.

“Yale professors were instrumental in the formation of DataHaven, and faculty, staff, and students from multiple schools and programs across the University continue to be a major source of support,” Canny wrote in an email to the News.

Canny also noted that DataHaven has historically collaborated with Yale students and faculty members in several of its statewide projects, including work with nonprofit hospitals and the State of Connecticut Office of Health Strategy. DataHaven has also given presentations at the Yale School of Public Health.

Beyond the Innovation Awards, DataHaven plans to release data from its most recent Community Wellbeing Survey at the upcoming Anniversary Celebration. The campaign reached over 15,000 Connecticut residents in every town in the state, and the survey asked community members about their health, happiness and quality of life.

Looking forward, Abraham says that DataHaven will be rolling out new initiatives to use data for understanding public health issues in Connecticut.

“We’re also going to engage different partners in our work for strategic planning,” Abraham added. “That will be sort of like outreach to different leaders around the state to see what will be most useful going forward, so we can be more responsive.”

DataHaven was founded in 1992.

Ruiyan Wang  |