By Data-Smart City Solutions • January 24, 2018

At the Summit on Data-Smart Government, Craig Campbell—Special Advisor at the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics (MODA) in New York—explained the approach his agency took to maximizing funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the city’s free lunch program.

In order to determine funding, the USDA examines the demographic characteristics of different partitions of city schools. However, the department leaves it up to the city to determine how to group their schools, making no geographic or other requirements. This left MODA with a math problem: what is the best way to group the city’s public schools in order to maximize funding from the federal government. Using a Monte Carlo sampling algorithm, MODA found a combination that would have saved the city $10 million, if not for a change in New York State policy later that year. However, other cities with more than 15 schools can use the same method to maximize federal funding by using the information in MODA’s project library.

You can access additional resources from the Summit here.

Speaker Bio: Craig Campbell is a Special Advisor at the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics, where he supports strategic communications and policy development for the NYC Open Data and NYC Analytics programs. Prior to working in local government, Campbell researched trends in municipal data analytics and government technology at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he supported a variety of national policy networks and research programs at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Campbell holds a degree in architecture and mathematics from Amherst College.