data initiative                                                            


The Data Initiative has a deep understanding of issues facing low-income communities and families. The program has been a leader in Colorado for analyzing and sharing data to improve community decision-making. It played a pioneering role in advocating for open data and has continued to develop state-of-the-art digital information tools and strategies that serve as the go-to source for comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-access neighborhood-level data.


The Piton Foundation established the Data Initiative in 1991 based on the belief that philanthropic and community-building efforts are durable when informed by reliable and objective information. In 1998, the initiative went online with the launch of a website of “Neighborhood Facts," a user-friendly searchable database of data about demographics, health, housing, crime, and education in Denver. The original site also included maps and neighborhood histories.

In the following years, the Data Initiative created additional tools for better data analysis and display, and expanded to provide data about Denver Public Schools, which it called “School Facts.”

Today the Data Initiative offers the following:

  • Technology Tools: The Community Facts and School Facts sites allow visitors to find information and perform basic analysis of data about Denver’s neighborhoods and schools.
  • Community Mapping and Analysis: The Data Initiative offers expertise in conducting urban spatial analysis, helping users understand and visualize data.
  • Data Visualization: Staff are skilled in using graphics and other visuals that help to explain social issues to non-data audiences.
  • Data and Evaluation Support: The Data Initiative performs research and analysis in support of key policy initiatives, including but not limited to early education, public education, transit oriented development, and affordable housing.
  • Internal Research and Development: The Data Initiative performs research and analysis to help The Piton Foundation make more informed program and funding decisions.

Recent Projects

The Data Initative recently developed the Colorado Data Engine, an open source hub that unlocks neighborhood scale public data in a standardized, geolocated format. This tool caters to researchers as well as technology developers who are building community-facing information platforms, and it was designed to allow users to contribute their own data. Learn more about the Colorado Data Engine.


In partnership with the Denver Regional Council of Governments and Mile High Connects, the Data Initiative co-directed the developmend of the recently-launched Denver Regional Equity Atlas. The data provided in the Equity Atlas is powered by the Data Engine. This tool helps raise awareness among a wide range of stakeholders about the benefits and opportunities that a robust public transportation network can create. The Equity Atlas provides users with the ability to create maps that depict the region's major origins and destinations in relation to current and future transit network, and also generates reports on demographic, economic and other data of the region or particular communities.


Next for the Data Initiative

The Piton Foundation's Data Initiative is shifting its focus from a historically Denver-centric one to a seven-county regional view. In keeping with our committment to providing objective and reliable neighborhood-leve data, a new, geographically-expanded Community Facts tool will be under development soon. The data in this new tool will be powered by the Data Engine. If you are interested in receiving updates about the new Community Facts, please contact Jennifer Newcomer.

Learn More About Us
We recently hosted two open house events to highlight our expanded regional focus, upcoming improvements to the Community Facts tool and how we can help organizations integrate data and technology more directly into their work. The following presentations, which were featured at the event, provide more insight into our projects and expertise:


Introduction: An Overview of the Data Initiative's Past Projects, Current Initiatives and New Regional Focus

The Community Facts & Neighborhood Delineation Tools

A Look Inside our Technology Infrastructure

Using Data to Connect & Inform