The Opportunity Project Demo Week 2020 The Opportunity Project Demo Week 2020

Join this event to build your agenda.

Empowering Communities for Resilience and Sustainable Growth


Colin Foard
The Pew Charitable Trusts, Manager

Colin Foard is a manager with Pew’s fiscal federalism initiative, leading the project’s research into state and federal spending on natural disasters and other topics. He also engages stakeholders to improve understanding of the federal-state fiscal relationship and ensure that policymakers have data and evidence to inform their decision-making.

Before joining Pew, Foard spent five years on the staff of a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ appropriations and budget committees, handling committee work as well as a broad policy portfolio that included homeland security, transportation, housing, and immigration issues. He also served as a congressional constituent caseworker and field representative in Oakland, California.

Foard holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and a master’s in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jake Akervik
HUD: US Dept of Housing & Urban Development, Federal Liaison/Analyst, Community Initiatives

Jake Akervik, MS, PMP, is an Analyst for Community Initiatives with the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Minneapolis Office of Field Policy & Management. In addition to leading HUD Midwest Region OZs efforts, he also serves as the Federal Liaison to the North Minneapolis Promise Zone initiative. Jake has spent the past five years helping Federal, Tribal, and local partners and stakeholders across the country, state, and Twin Cities metro build place-based and collective impact efforts around a range of issues, including racial equity, affordable housing, living-wage job creation, minority entrepreneurship, community health, public safety, education, civic engagement, the opioid epidemic, technology, data, innovation, and more. Jake holds an AA from Minneapolis College; a BS from the University of Minnesota; a MS from the University of Denver; and numerous program and project management certifications.

Basma Alawee
Refugee Congress, Florida Refugee Organizer

Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, Basma came to the U.S. with her husband as a refugee in 2010, leaving behind her career as an engineer with the Ministry of Oil within the Government of Iraq. As a refugee and activist, her stories and activism have been featured in the media. Most recently, she was nominated to be one of the Athena40 women in the world who are leading change and was the recipient of the 2019 OneJax Humanitarian Award. She was also elected the Florida delegate for the  Refugee Congress and is a board member of USAHello (formerly, Refugee Center Online) and many other nonprofits. Currently, she is the State Refugee Organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and resides in Jacksonville and the co- founder for WeaveTales.

Co-hosted by Orange Sparkle Ball

The health of rural communities and access to services, infrastructure, and data is critical to implementing solutions that tackle economic, environmental and human health challenges. In this session, technologists and community leaders come together to showcase creative solutions that help the American public understand the challenges, gaps and opportunities to help facilitate sustainable rural economic development and track federal financial assistance to local communities  in response to emergencies and disasters.  Featuring speakers from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Center on Rural Innovation, Citi Ventures, Urban Footprint, Alteryx, Baruch College, Syracuse University, and Columbia University. 

Translating Tools to Change: Community Reactions and End User Discussions

After hearing about these new products, are you curious to know how these tools will ultimately get into the hands of end users?  Join a group of brilliant community and subject matter experts , each from distinct communities across the country, and hear their reactions to the tools presented and reflections on how they will translate to real change and impact. Featuring speakers from the National Indian Gaming Association, Pew Trusts, HUD, and Refugee Congress.