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 May 2021, USDR has partnered with more than 230 government and nonprofit partners on 300+ projects, impacting more than 42 million people across 36 states and territories, and we’ve built a dedicated community of nearly 7,000 pro bono specialists driven to serve in a time of need.
U.S. Digital Response helps governments and nonprofits 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 solutions 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 leaders in the technology industry. 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.
USDR’s volunteers and core staff are skilled workers and experts who give their time to help governments and organizations respond to the critical needs of the public. While with USDR, we do not use our 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.
Governments and the people they employ operate under constraints that are not always visible to those outside of the public sector. Public servants are often under enormous strain—in order to be effective, we must check our egos and our judgment, without losing our critical thinking.
We require all staff and pro bono team members to read and sign this Volunteer Oath before joining. We will ask people 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.
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.
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.