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Update on Code for Asheville 2017 Plans

We have a quick update below on our plans for 2017. Also, in News from the Network, an amazing new hire at Code for America and some reflections on inclusivity from the newest Code for America brigade, Open Savannah.

Upcoming events & opportunities

Monthly Community Meetup
Our next m
onthly community meetup will be at 5:30pm on April 13th at the Shiloh Recreation center.  We'll learn about the roles that the Asheville Homeless Coalition plays in our community, and explore ways that we can provide assistance through technology. Coalition co-chair Tracey Childers will join us to talk about the group and answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about agencies who are often the first responders to crisis situations for local residents.

We will also discuss how to build a community resource and agency communication tool within the Coalition's Facebook group. If you're a Facebook guru, love promotional or creative writing, or are just interested in social media, this is a great opportunity to do some good!

RSVP on Meetup

Monthly Planning Meetup
Our next brigade planning meeting will be at 5:30pm on April 25th at the Battery Park Book Exchange. RSVP here.

2017 Code for Asheville Plans

A quick update for everyone on our plans for 2017. At our March 14 planning meeting we identified three key priorities:

  1. Build a solid monthly community night program,
  2. Improve communications with members and fans,
  3. Do a better job inviting interested members to participate.
Jesse Michel and Jim March are working on the community nights program. Beginning in April, each event will be built around an invited speaker from some community organization or government agency. This will allow us to learn what is happening with different issues and to explore ways we might contribute. Topics will be guided by the results of our January brainstorming session.

The primary vehicle for improving communications is this newsletter, which will come out every other Tuesday. Eric Jackson will act as overall newsletter editor, but check out the Help Wanted section below for easy ways to participate. 

Figuring out how to plug interested members into projects and activities is an ongoing effort. CfA activities fall broadly into three areas: projects arising from our interactions with community groups and agencies, facilitating data-driven conversation in the community, and general brigade development and operations.

Most projects are likely to come out of our community night conversations. Some will be very short-term and don't require much organization, but we are exploring the idea of having local organizations "adopt" projects, much as PRC Applications and DemocracyApps have done (more on that next issue).

Facilitating Data-Driven Conversations
Community groups often recognize the value of data for advocacy and problem-solving, but lack the know-how to use data effectively. Code for Asheville members can be a resource to help facilitate these conversations, give guidance on obtaining and working with data, etc. Eric Jackson is organizing a team to figure out how to do this better and more sustainably - email Eric if you are interested in participating.

Brigade Development & Operations
The co-captains coordinate this area, but we welcome help. If you are interested in helping with community-night planning, newsletter prep, social media sharing, creating resources for new members, or anything else, email us at, talk to us at a community event, or come to a planning meeting (the 2nd Tuesday after each community night, so the next one is Tuesday, April 25 - more details here).

We will try to highlight opportunities to plug in in our Help Wanted section below as well.

News from @code4asheville

Code for Asheville in the News
Code for Asheville made the national news with an article in GovTech Magazine: How 'Code for Asheville' has Changed the City’s Civic Coding Dynamic.

Open Data Day Recap
If you missed our Open Data Day event, check out the recap of the day's activities on our blog. Both we and City of Asheville staff will be following up on the ideas raised in the discussions there.

News from the network

Eric Meyer Joins Code for America
Erie Meyer, co-founder of the United States Digital Service and Tech Ladymafia, is joining Code for America's leadership team to work with the National Advisory Council and strengthen the brigade network. Read more here.

Some Reflections on Inclusiveness from Open Savannah
Open Savannah is only 3 months old, but already has some lessons to share on engaging the community inclusively.

Help wanted

Newsletter Writers/Editors Wanted
The newsletter comes out every other week and there are several ways to plug in, even if you're brand new!

  • Features Writer
    Every issue has a short article on something interesting related to Code for America. You can write about a project you're involved in, a project you are interested in, or anything interesting in local, national or global civic tech. Write one article or make it a regular gig, as you choose.
  • Editor, News from the Network
    Quick descriptions of things happening with other brigades or the national organization. This one's easy - you can always pick something up from the Code for America Slack team or mailing list, or just by following people on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Editor, Upcoming Events & Opportunities
    Another easy one. You can start simply by connecting with organizers to get descriptions of the next 1 or 2 Code for Asheville events. Then perhaps expand it by showcasing other local opportunities to get involved in community decision-making and self-government.
  • Editor, News from Code for Asheville
    This is more of a catch-all section that so far has included media coverage of Code for Asheville members and reports on events and planning. This is a good opportunity for someone who'd like to help shape where the newsletter is going.
If you are interested in any of these roles, please email Eric.
Join the CfA Discussion on Slack
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