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CamConnect's History

        The origins of CamConnect date back to 1999, when a collaboration of stakeholders in Camden, committed to improving access to information, recognized the need for a non-partisan intermediary for data about the City. The initial concept grew out of discussions around the Annie E. Casey Foundation “Making Connections Initiative.” During these deliberations, stakeholders agreed upon the following assessment:

  • There is a need to improve policy making through the use of data;
  • Agencies tend to make poor use of data they collect;
  • There is a need to make data more accessible to residents;
  • There is a need to improve the quality of and access to Camden specific city wide and neighborhood level data;
  • There is a need to improve levels of collaboration among stakeholders around access to data;
  • There is a need to better utilize information to promote the image of Camden;
        Stakeholders decided to utilize the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) model for organizing these initiative/objectives. Stakeholders reached a consensus that the development of a partnership would result in the following positive outcomes for the Camden community:
  • Better and more efficient access to vital data that will help improve public decision making;
  • Enhanced issue and agenda advocacy;
  • Enhanced agency responsiveness to citizens;
  • Broadened agency perspectives on assets, needs and impacts;
  • Improved planning and better community orientation;
  • Improved use of the massive amounts of data that is available yet goes unused;
  • Improved interagency communications and collaboration;
  • Data packaged to fit the individual needs of community groups/organizations
        In June of 2001, CamConnect received a $200,000 grant award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation allowing it to transition into a Board of Directors and hire its first full time Executive Director. Additional funders included Rowan University, Virtua Health Systems, and the Association for Children of New Jersey. CamConnect is governed by a Board of Directors composed of a diverse group of individuals and organizations that live and work in Camden City. The long term sustainability of CamConnect relies upon a core funding strategy that includes annual donations from stakeholders, fees for services, project grants, and core operating grants from public and private sources.