About

U.S. Digital Response connects experienced volunteer technologists with public servants and organizations responding to crisis. We’re fast, and we’re free.

Founded by former U.S. Deputy CTOs and seasoned tech industry veterans who led federal open data policies and digital government strategy, USDR is a nonpartisan effort that connects expert, volunteer technology teams to public servants responding to crisis. 

Our pro bono volunteers work with government teams to understand their challenges and get them the right tools to deliver critical services to the people who need them — all within a few days to weeks. Our diverse volunteers have deep expertise spanning engineering, data science, content strategy, design, logistics and supply chain, and disaster response. 

Often, the smartest solutions and most effective tools already exist — they just need to be identified, integrated, and implemented. Our volunteers survey the best of what’s available, get systems up and running, and make sure government partners have the tools and training they need to operate smoothly and effectively. 

Our Work

U.S. Digital Response helps governments build responsive, people-centered services with modern and resilient technology that work at the speed of need.

Our Values

We work in the public interest.

All USDR volunteers are skilled workers and experts who give their time to help governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises. While with USDR, we do not use our volunteer efforts to further personal and professional interests.

Public interest projects belong in the public domain, so we abide by a set of Data and Software Guidelines that promote openness and accessibility.

We work with humility and respect.

Governments and the people they employ operate under constraints that are not always visible to those outside of the public sector. Everyone involved in crisis response is under enormous strain—in order to be effective, we must check our egos and our judgment, without losing our critical thinking.

We observe a code of conduct.

We require all team members and volunteers to read and sign this Volunteer Oath before joining. We will ask volunteers to step away from projects if they are no longer a good fit for the work or have not acted in a way that is aligned with our mission and values.

Team

Emily was mostly recently at Apple, where she worked as an Engineering Program Manager for next generation display hardware and, previously, a supply chain manager for display components.
Jessica consults on Digital Transformation for the public sector. She was the head of Customer Success at Socrata and prior to that a Policy Analyst at the Center for Global Development. She is the co-host of The Government We Need podcast.
Jessica is a product design leader who most recently led various design teams at Facebook.
Robin is the former Missouri Secretary of State and formerly led 18F’s state and local practice within the General Services Administration.
Raphael led product engineering, data science, infrastructure, IT, and security teams at Lob and Airbnb.
Jessica is a Fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. She formerly served as Head of Innovation and Economic Development for the City of Walnut Creek and as a Code for America Fellow.
Alex is a product engineering leader who most recently led various engineering and product efforts at Dropbox.
Reshma is a software engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded Droplet Health and MedXT and has held product and engineering roles at Box, Facebook and Microsoft.
Mark is a consulting Head of Marketing focused on cross-sector collaboration and positive social change.
Janette is a former Product Lead and Product Manager at Lyft and Director of Product at LendUp.

Founders

Cori Zarek is the Director of Data + Digital at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation and previously served as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer.
Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and former executive director of Code for America. She served as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2013–2014, where she founded the United States Digital Service.
Raylene Yung is USDR’s CEO and a recent fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. She was an engineering and product executive at Stripe and Facebook.
Ryan Panchadsaram joined Kleiner Perkins in 2016 and was the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer.

Thank Yous

Two Hands Brands is a brand identity studio who developed our visual identity and original website. Special thanks to Eva Frye, Mathieu Salé, Michaela Fiasová, Andy Birch, Malik Adán, and Calvin Hu.
Teal Media is a full-service creative agency based in Washington, D.C. who helped us develop our logo.

U.S. Digital Response is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.

Interested in lending a hand?

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