In addition to hosting ~900,000 annual visitors, TFI offers programming to impact communities that we may not otherwise reach, including:
Traditionally, cultural center audiences are disproportionately White, middle-class, and highly-educated; however, TFI seeks to provide more equitable access to our mission. This project will help us better understand the geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic reach of our on- and off-site programs. This information has never been examined holistically, and this project will allow us to identify where gaps exist. This will help us strengthen our outreach efforts to promote more equal access to informal science education across the region.
We hope the resulting map(s) will show the demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic characteristics of those whom we currently do and do not reach, categorized by the various types of programming that we offer. Additionally, the resulting products can help us understand priority areas and the best methods for targeting them, perhaps through developing a scoring mechanism for identifying communities with greatest need.
If a student has knowledge of the appropriate coding and software, we would appreciate interactive features to help us glean additional insights about various aspects of our programming and the audiences we reach.
We will use the maps and reports to both communicate to our various stakeholders about the communities and individuals we do and do not currently serve, and to inform our future planning so that we can more effectively reach high-priority populations. Specifically, this information will be used by senior staff, directors, and program leads to determine opportunities for additional outreach via the channels we already offer in communities that have great need, close proximity, and relatively little connection with The Franklin Institute. This information will also be helpful when composing federal grant applications and grants to foundations to fund new programmatic initiatives. We also hope the maps will be a springboard for conversations with community groups and leaders about effective methods for inclusive programming.
The students for the Summer 2019 Azavea Summer of Maps have been announced. Their fellowship will begin shortly.