Our 2016 Year in Review

Happy new year! I’m pleased to share Open Referral’s 2016 Year in Review. (You can browse (and comment upon) the document heredownload the complete PDF here, or skim through the document embedded at the end of this post.)


This was a challenging year, but our labor has born fruit. In a way, 2016 felt like the end of the beginning of our journey. The road ahead is a long one. Yet we’re learning and growing as we go.

We started Open Referral to address a systemic problem: it’s hard to find trustworthy information about the health, human, and social services available for people in need. We have many sources of community resource directory information — with more emerging all the time — but they all struggle to sustain themselves while trying to meet the diverse needs of their communities, and competing with each other (by default or by design) along the way.

We know that it shouldn’t be technologically hard to solve this problem by enabling community resource information systems to cooperate with each other — but it will take a movement to make it happen.

Today, Open Referral has become exactly that: a movement.

Spanning sectors and countries, a network of hundreds of people are working to solve this problem in their communities. Case managers in DC. Call center operators in Florida. Librarians in New York City. An E.R. physician in Boston. Website administrators in Illinois. Technology specialists in Oklahoma.

The members of our network each have their own needs and objectives, but we’re all working towards a common goal: enabling resource directory data to flow through their communities — reliably and sustainably, across technologies and organizations — wherever it’s needed.

In this 2016 Year in Review report, you’ll read about various ways in which the members of this network are finding new solutions to this old problem. We also give a preview of what’s to come in the year ahead.

It’s exciting to see all of these pieces fall into place (and these are just the highlights).

To those who have joined us on this path: thank you for venturing forth into uncharted territory.

For newcomers interested in joining, please reach out to discuss opportunities to act.

View (and comment upon) our complete Year in Review report here, download it as a PDF here, or skim the contents embedded below.

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