News

Sep
12

Partnering for Census 2020: Dr. Ali Modarres, Director of Urban Studies – University of Washington Tacoma

Filed Under: Census 2020,Strengthening Pierce County - Posted @ 9:13am

Over the past 38 years, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has seen Pierce County grow and change, but what has remained constant is the passion people bring to building a thriving community. Sharing community knowledge and stories about our lived experiences builds everyone’s ability to make a positive impact.

In our latest annual book of Pierce County Partners, we share stories and insights from individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Pierce County. In their own words, they speak about the dreams and lessons that fuel their work in the community.  

 

Dr. Ali Modarres is the director of Urban Studies at the University of Washington- Tacoma (UW-T) and is engaged in the work of developing UW-T’s Center for Applied Urban Research, dedicated to archiving, aggregating, and synthesizing urban data for the region. He is also a member of GTCF’s Board of Directors.

“The disempowered go to the table with emotion and a lack of information. The powerful with a calm demeanor and a wealth of information. Decisions need to be driven by actual data not anecdotes and ideology.”

“This is what our work with the census is about – trying to show the public how data impacts their everyday life. If you don’t participate then you don’t exist. You actually erase yourself as far as they are concerned and those decisions are made without you. Decisions that can impact a whole generation of people.”

“My whole career has been concerned with notions of access. Access defines equality and segregation. It is the difference between getting left behind and getting ahead together. Data is about having the right information and the democratization of data is about how you get and package important information in accessible ways to inform the public.”

“For me the immigrant experience was key. Coming from Iran at age 20 to study – I was shocked how ingrained the concept of difference was in the American psyche. How do you work within a society that inherited a system with such flaws, where difference is a part of the collective narrative, and change it?”

“This is what our work with the census is about – trying to show the public how data impacts their everyday life. If you don’t participate then you don’t exist. You actually erase yourself as far as they are concerned and those decisions are made without you. Decisions that can impact a whole generation of people.”

UW-T’s Center for Applied Urban Research conducted research into the ways that census data affects everyday life in Pierce County. This video. produced in partnership with GTCF, illustrates how a modest undercount of Pierce County’s population could impact important sectors like public transportation, healthcare, housing, and government representation.

Narrator: Ali Modarres
Research: UW-T Center for Applied Urban Research
Artist: Mark Monlux
Videographer/Editor: Kris Crews
Music: Doug Mackey
Sponsored by Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

“Community foundations like GTCF create a constellation of ideas and relationships that is much more diverse in scope than any one investment.”

“Greater Tacoma Community Foundation is partnering with us on the census work because they see the value that this data can provide for the region. GTCF sees this work as a community investment. A way they can contribute to the collective impact of those they work with.”
“As a board member, I see GTCF as an instigator of ideas and a builder of networks. I think that is their greatest contribution– the relationships and connections that increase the impact. They do this by convening, informing, educating, and most importantly empowering those they work with.”

“Community foundations are unique in that they implement individual donor’s interest, but collectively those interests add up to what is happening in the larger region. Community foundations like GTCF create a constellation of ideas and relationships that is much more diverse in scope than any one investment.”

 

Wondering how to support the causes and community you care about in partnership with GTCF? Contact us.