Link2Feed leveraging Open Referral to provide resource directory information to food pantries

This post is by Emily Branton, President of Link2Feed. Welcome, Emily!


Link2Feed believes that food pantries don’t just play a key role in mitigating hunger – they also a catalyst for change for broader poverty issues.

Our client-intake software and reporting tool is used by food banks and other non-profits across North America to enable them to gather data that can drive organizational strategy and increase the impact of their services.


The Need for Change: Connecting Food Support With Additional Services

At Link2Feed, we have heard consistently how challenging it was to find and facilitate referrals to pantry clients.

One of our partners, Feed Ontario (formerly the Ontario Association of Food Banks), saw an opportunity to expand the reach and impact of their 1,200 member food banks and hunger-relief organizations, by making resource directory data directly available within the Link2Feed system, so that food bank staff and volunteers can more effectively refer clients to other services.

This summer, Link2Feed and Feed Ontario are piloting a new referral method that uses the Open Referral standard to receive resource data from Ontario 211. Continue reading

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OpenCIOC: Exploring New Models for Sharing and Collaboration

Across Canada, OpenCIOC project software supports the work of hundreds of diverse community organizations, including community information providers and volunteer centres, local and provincial governments, 211 providers, mental health associations, health support networks/organizations, seniors’ support services, and many others – as well as millions of public users each year. … We’re so excited to now be participating in projects like Open Referral, both to contribute through sharing our collaboration and data exchange experiences in this sector, and because of the opportunity it provides to expand our users’ ability to collaborate with a wider community. Continue reading

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Open Referral in Ontario: A Big Step Forward

[This guest post is from Karen Milligan, the new executive director of Ontario 211. Welcome, Karen!]

Excerpt: In partnership with iCarol, and leveraging the Human Services Data Specification, we are now developing a new web platform with new search capabilities to provide accurate and timely information to the public. Behind the scenes of this platform, data from numerous local databases from across the province is aggregated to create a high quality data store of community, social service and health resources. This data store is a significant step towards Ontario’s goal of implementing an ‘open data’ repository, the foundation of our 211 technology platform. Continue reading

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New Partnerships up North: Open Referral in Canada

[UPDATE: The Ontario Non-Profit Network has posted its ‘Data Strategy,’ which specifically references the emerging partnerships described below. Check it out!]

Canada is an international leader in the field of open data, especially in the non-profit sector. The Canadian Revenue Agency was the first government entity of its kind to publish open, machine-readable data about the charity sector, including every gift made by foundations and charitable funds. Above and beyond this step, Canada’s open data portals — local, provincial, and federal — have been publishing vast amounts of data, including directory information about human services.

This is why it’s especially exciting to announce our new partnership between PoweredbyData and Open Referral. (See PoweredbyData’s announcement here.)….

We’re also pleased to share here that Ontario 211 will begin testing the publication of their resource database (which spans the entire province) in the Human Service Data Specification (aka the Open Referral format) over the course of the summer. This will pose a unique opportunity for public and civic initiatives — in the information-and-referral sector and beyond — to experiment with innovative new ways to share and deliver resource data for service delivery, research and analysis. Continue reading

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