About

U.S. Digital Response (USDR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that helps governments and organizations respond quickly and efficiently to support the critical needs of the public.

Leveraging a network of pro-bono technical expertise and modern, resilient technology, USDR addresses and uncovers solutions for common, systemic challenges that public servants are facing, leaving them better equipped to deliver services and support to millions of people nationwide.

We operate with humility and deep respect for our partners and believe that modern and resilient technology applied in the public interest can deliver people-centered services at the speed of need.

As of February 2021, USDR has partnered with more than 180 government and nonprofit partners on 250+ projects, impacting 13 million people across 36 states and territories, and we’ve built a dedicated community of 6,500+ volunteers driven to serve in a time of need.

What We Do

U.S. Digital Response helps governments and non-profits deliver responsive, people-centered services with modern and resilient technology.

We work with our partners to identify gaps and challenges, understand the needs of communities and constituents, and find, build or develop tools needed to deliver critical services to the people who need them.

With the support of our core staff, USDR’s work is powered by experienced technologists drawn from major tech companies. These teams volunteer their time and talent because they want to make a difference.

Each team member is carefully vetted and matched to the appropriate project. Our technologists work fast, they work for free, and they deliver results that help our communities work better, safer and faster for us all.

We work at the speed of need. Most of our projects are up and running, if not completed, in a matter of weeks, if not days.

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

CTO and Co-Founder
Alex oversees the development of technological tools, automation, and infrastructure at USDR. Alex most recently served as a Director of Engineering at Dropbox.
Legal and Development Lead
Aylin oversees legal and development at USDR. Former legal counsel at Stripe, she most recently started and led Stripe’s Social Impact and Community Engagement program.
Operations + Tools Team Lead and Co-Founder
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.
COO and Co-Founder
Jessica oversees partnerships, marketing, and communications. Jessica was recently a fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub and formerly served as Head of Innovation and Economic Development for the City of Walnut Creek and as a Code for America Fellow.
Chief People Officer and Co-Founder
Jessica leads the people power of USDR from volunteer staffing and support to HR. Jessica is a product design leader who was most recently a Director of Product Design at Facebook.
Co-Founder and Health Program Lead
Raphael oversees USDR products and programs. Raph recently led product engineering, data science, infrastructure, IT, and security teams as VP of Engineering at Lob and Engineering Manager at Airbnb.
CEO and Co-Founder
Raylene, who co-founded USDR in March 2020 with former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officers Cori Zarek, Jennifer Pahlka, and Ryan Panchadsaram, is the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. Raylene was recently a fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. Previously, she was an engineering and product executive at Stripe and Facebook.

Technologists-in-Residence

Health Data Program Technologist-in-Residence
Diana is the Product Manager for USDR’s Health Data Program. Previously, Diana focused on policy impact evaluation, data products, and personalization at Airbnb.
Health Data Technologist-in-Residence
Elham is the design and research lead for USDR’s Health Data program. She brings 9+ years of experience in mixed-methods research and UX design in digital and public health. Elham worked in HIV informatics and substance use disorder with New York State and ICAP at Columbia.
Health Data Technologist-in-Residence
Jan is the Data Lead for the Health Data program. He recently obtained his PhD in computational social science from Stanford University, and before that he was a data scientist at Airbnb.
Health Data Program Technologist-in-Residence
Rob is the engineering lead for USDR’s Health Data program. He’s an experienced civic technologist who recently worked with the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative to monitor and report on changes to climate and environmental science information on government websites.

Co-Founders

Co-Founder
Janette is a former Product Lead and Product Manager at Lyft and Director of Product at LendUp.
Co-Founder
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.

Advisors

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. She also co-founded USDR in March 2020. 

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. She also co-founded USDR in March 2020. 

Ryan Panchadsaram joined Kleiner Perkins in 2016 and was the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer. He also co-founded USDR in March 2020. 

Paid Opportunities with USDR

Looking for a career in civic tech? U.S. Digital Response is hiring professionals to help identify gaps and challenges with our partners, understand the needs of communities and constituents, and find, build or develop tools needed to deliver critical services to the people who need them.

Learn more about working with USDR and our current open positions.

U.S. Digital Response is supported by:

U.S. Digital Response is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.
Special Thanks
Teal Media is a full-service creative agency based in Washington, D.C. who helped us develop our logo.
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.

Interested in lending a hand?

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