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Using Data for Good: Apurva Mehrotra Named to 40 Under 40 List

Using Data for Good: Apurva Mehrotra Named to 40 Under 40 List

CCC’s research and data work has undergone a significant expansion over the last couple of years, thanks in large part to Apurva Mehrotra, our Director of Research and Data Analysis. Since joining the CCC team in April 2016, Apurva has overseen the growth of the Keeping Track Online database and related data visualization and analysis capabilities. He’s also authored key reports about opportunities and challenges facing communities throughout the city that have been instrumental in making the case for budget, policy, and legislative proposals designed to ensure access to supports and resources and promote upward mobility for our city’s children and families.

In recognition of the crucial work he has advanced, Apurva was named to New York Nonprofit Media’s 40 Under 40 List on April 12th. He credits the award to the work made possible by the other three members of the Research & Data team and his entire CCC family.

“Getting to work with such an awesome team of people, who are so smart and so fun to work with, has been an incredible opportunity,” he said.

The feeling is mutual. Said Bijan Kimiagar, Senior Associate for Community Based Research and Data Analysis: “Shining through Apurva’s calm demeanor and self-deprecating humor is a compassionate colleague with seasoned data skills. This award is totally deserved and recognizes his contributions—both at and prior to joining CCC—to data-driven reporting and advocacy that address the needs of children, youth, and families in NYC.”

Apurva didn’t always think he was destined for this line of work. He graduated from NYU with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and then worked administrative roles while playing in a band. After five years of that, (“it ended up costing money to be in the band instead of making money from it,” he said with a laugh), an interest in public service and desire to help people led him to grad school for social work.

After his first semester, though, social work didn’t feel quite right, so he enrolled in the Public Administration program at Baruch College. That is where things started to click.

“I was always interested in math, numbers, sports stats, those sorts of things,” he said. “As I learned more about research and data and analytics, I liked that you could tell a simple and powerful story through data. The data usually doesn’t speak loudly enough on its own, but it can be really effective at identifying problems and solutions and is a really good place to start understanding what people’s lives are like.”

After completing his MPA and honing his data and research skills for more than four years at Community Service Society of New York, Apurva joined the CCC team eager to make the case for dedicating more energy to fighting the vast inequities that plague New York City and that negatively impact the well-being of far too many children and their families.

“The disparities in resources in this country, and within different neighborhoods in New York, are shameful,” he said. “You can see the way that stressors pile on top of each other and negatively affect kids. We really need to do more to make things easier for all parents and families.”

But despite the problems he’s seen, he’s been deeply impressed by the resilience and energy of the young people he’s met through qualitative research projects.

“They talk about the challenges they face in really honest ways, but they’re still kids, joking around and having a good time,” he said. “They are kids, and they should get to just be kids all the time.”

He hopes that the work he and his team are doing is helping move New York City closer to a day when that is reality, leveraging data collection and analysis to underpin CCC’s effective advocacy. And in the process, he aims to bring some of that lighter spirit into work that can be draining.

“As our Director of Research, Apurva has created a meaningful, collaborative environment on our data team,” said Bijan. “He not only supports us in producing high quality work, but also taking pleasure in the process.”

Said Jennifer March, CCC’s Executive Director: “Apurva’s award is well-deserved. He shares CCC’s commitment to fact-led advocacy and belief in the storytelling power of data. Apurva has played an instrumental role in not only getting CCC’s Keeping Track data into the hands of community members, direct services providers, elected and appointed officials, and our philanthropic partners, he has also spearheaded CCC’s participatory research, ensuring that the voice of community members is front and center in efforts to identify problems and solutions and spark positive change at the most local level. We couldn’t be more proud of Apurva and applaud his leadership and work with our entire data team.”

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