Miami Dade College Receives Two Grants from Public Interest Technology University Network to Support Miami Budget App and Natural Disaster Risk Reduction

Awards are part of $3 million “Network Challenge” to grow the field of public interest technology

Miami, Oct. 7, 2019- Miami Dade College (MDC) was the only college to have the prestigious honor of receiving two of the 27 grants awarded as part of Public Interest Technology University Network’s (PIT-UN), inaugural “Network Challenge.” The Challenge aims to support the development of new public interest technology initiatives and institutions in academia, and foster collaboration among the network’s partner institutions, which includes MDC.

The College received a grant to support the Miami Budget app, a bilingual open source platform for citizen inclusion in the budget process of the City of Miami. The app will be created in partnership with Microsoft, Code for Miami, and the City of Miami.

MDC students will work with faculty and industry professionals from Microsoft, City of Miami and from Code for Miami to create the participatory web app. The students and the participating organizations will document their progress and outcomes throughout the project with the goal of creating data to facilitate implementation of similar projects with other universities in the PIT-UN network and in cities throughout the country.

The Miami Budget app will be hosted on Microsoft’s platform GitHub, used by the open-source community to develop projects, so all iterates will be freely available and can be leveraged by other institutions to learn, document, and implement their own solutions.

Secondly, MDC received a grant for the Geographic Information Systems for Environment and Community project (GISEC), which will set an academic pathway from high school through graduate studies in geographic information systems. A project learning platform will be developed, with applications in environmental risk assessment and reduction, and resilience scenarios analysis, with a public interest orientation.

This network will group specialists and institutions with expertise in remote sensing, GIS, environmental hazards and climate change, structural and urban vulnerability, transportation and urban planning.  Students will have the opportunity to integrate their points of view in a complex and interconnected group, and their visions will be available for consideration with concerned communities.

PIT-UN, which was convened earlier this year by the Ford Foundation, New America, and the Hewlett Foundation, is a partnership of 21 colleges and universities dedicated to building the nascent field of public interest technology, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders. The “Network Challenge” is funded through the generous support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, Siegel Family Endowment, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Raikes Foundation.

Public interest technology is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy. Already, universities across the United States have created joint degrees, exchange programs, and cross-disciplinary initiatives to begin to develop a robust pipeline of future technologists and leaders seeking to pursue careers in the growing field.

Colleges and universities that are interested in joining the Public Interest Technology University Network can contact New America ( for more information about membership.