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Spotlighting Technology: City of Richmond and Hanover County

The City of Richmond and Hanover County together are a finalist for ConnectVA’s Community Innovation Award. Find out more about how they are using Aunt Bertha to leverage technology and help service proffesionals and seekers alike in the greater Richmond. 

“Our hope is that service seekers will be able to find resources for themselves and advocate for their needs more effectively.”

What was the need for this technology?

In the summer of 2013, a workgroup was created to address the need for a comprehensive client focused resource directory for the area. The goal was to provide an easy to use resource for service professionals and service seekers alike. Wih a goal of maximizing the amount of service offerings while minimizing budget expenses, the workgroup concluded that a web-based platform would be best. 

Tell us a little more about Aunt Bertha.

Aunt Bertha is a comprehensive, client-centered, online resource directory that uses a person’s ZIP code to link them to resources in their area. This directory of resources for basic needs is designed to maximize personal confidentiality, dignity and empowerment. The information about the various service providers is crowd sourced in order to allow for information updates, but the information is also vetted by Aunt Bertha staff to ensure accuracy. Other special features of the site include “favorites” folders to keep the information the person wants and an eligibility tool to help the person determine their financial eligibility for various services.

The website is easy to use and a valuable asset for service providers and service seekers alike. Our collaborative team which includes ConnectVA, has worked with Aunt Bertha to help streamline data entry and make the site more customer friendly. 

What is the impact of your technology efforts?

Overall, we wanted off er a reginal appraoch that would make service provision more efficient and accurate — and increase the quality of life for service seekers. The impact we have already seen is the steady growth in number of service listings by ZIP codes within the communities we are currently targeting as well as searchers and search terms. 

The Aunt Bertha team includes Hanover County, the City of Richmond, the Cameron Foundation, and ConnectVA as well as the staff at Aunt Bertha. Each organization that participates in the directory also plays a vital role in our vision for Aunt Bertha. This innovative collaboration harnesses the resources, visibility and networks of ConnectVA to integrate this technology within the Greater Richmond and Tri-Cities communities with the hopes that it will continue to expand throughout the state.

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