NiJeL's three founders, Nancy Jones, JD Godchaux, and Lela Prashad, met as graduate students at Arizona State University. They started NiJeL in 2007 after volunteering as American Friends for the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix, Arizona. The three made open source GIS maps to find and document the resources their refugee families needed.
Because of this experience, they decided to combine forces to create NiJeL to help people and organizations tell their stories and become more efficient and effective through data and maps. The name "NiJeL" combines the first inital of the three founders names to convey their collaborative and personal approach of the organization.
NiJeL is a multi-disciplinary organization, and our experience with different disciplines, partners, and professional organizations has given us strong skills in bridging communities and disciplinary gulfs. Our partners highly value our multi-disciplinary experience, which helps them to build bridges through our technology.
We develop strong personal relationships with the organizations we serve in order to determine their needs and build sustainable systems that can be flexible to future improvements in technology. We work directly with our partners - we learn the culture of their organizations and listen to their missions. We work with them to develop a technology roadmap that aligns with their current tools and way of working.
Then we build systems and tools that help our partners better interact with their data. We call this process “data therapy,” and our clients value the personal relationships we develop working with them.