What is Open Referral?

The Open Referral Initiative is a network of people and organizations working to promote the accessibility of information about health, human, and social services — i.e. community resource directory data. The Open Referral community is primarily assembled in our Forum. We also use a Slack team for chat.

Open Referral’s primary product is the Human Service Data Specifications (HSDS, AKA ‘the Open Referral format’) – a set of data exchange protocols that enables resource directory data to be shared among heterogeneous information systems. These artifacts are freely accessible and adaptable by anyone (in accordance with our stated principles and values).

Open Referral’s ecosystem also includes a range of open source tools and web applications that facilitate the flow of resource directory information. See examples of these tools and apps here

The Open Referral Initiative does have a 501c3 fiscal sponsor: Aspiration. Aspiration receives any charitable/philanthropic funding that is granted to Open Referral, and holds the (open source) license to our intellectual property.

Our leadership also has an LLC – Open Referral Consulting Services – that is available to provide consulting support for strategically related projects. Learn more about our consulting work here.

Posted in: About Open Referral, Organizational Questions