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"They didn’t try to upsell us"

QSIDE – the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity – is a data science social justice research nonprofit founded in 2019 by Chief Operations Officer Jude Higdon, an information technology/education authority, and Chad Topaz, an applied mathematician and data scientist. Topaz had recently learned from artist colleagues about the dearth of works by women and people of color in major museum collections. After identifying a means of quantitatively assessing the issue on a broad scale Topaz revealed a problem even worse than art experts had imagined. Today, QSIDE is the pre-eminent research-into-action network bringing together data scientists, social scientists and activists who apply mathematics, data science and computation to address gaps in equity in criminal justice, health care, education, environmental justice, and the arts. The goal is to achieve social justice and help sunshine inequality and create a more just world.

Like many startup nonprofits, QSIDE had been struggling at a subsistence level for several years. “We’d been living in the liminal space of not yet having a lot of funding to get our work done and achieve our mission and being only semi-operational,” says Higdon. “The need for robust accounting wasn’t as urgent. But then we were the recipient of a grant that injected us with a lot of additional funding. That put us into a financial space where our existing accounting metaphors weren’t sufficient. We needed some help, but we weren’t at a place where we could bring in even a part-time, let alone a full-time, staff accountant. But we needed to be able to report back to our funders and maintain our 501(c)3 status so we needed to up our accounting game.”

Higdon adds that YPTC fit QSIDE’s needs perfectly. “They walked us through a couple of different client arrangements and products and made some suggestions. We were drawn to them because they didn’t try to upsell us. They were very focused on what they felt was right for our organization rather than what might be most lucrative for them. They identified our accounting needs and provided us with a suite of services that makes sense based on our size.

“For a nonprofit like us that’s operationally very thin they understood our level of engagement,” Higdon continues. “I couldn’t sit down with them for hours and hours. We had several conversations, they asked the right questions, they made sure I understood, and then I was able to turn them loose. They identified things that we need to start thinking about. It was the exact right tone, spacing, expertise, and cadence for the relationship. It’s been an A-plus experience!”



“A great big hongera!

“Because we’re based in diversity, let me congratulate YPTC in Swahili. We wish them a great big hongera and thank them for 30 years of supporting small start-up nonprofits like us with the accounting work that we need help with.”

                                                — Jude Higdon, Chief Operations Officer

                                                 QSIDE – the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

                                                 Bennington, Vt.

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