91 posts categorized "Data"

What's New at Foundation Center Update (June)

June 15, 2018

FC_logoJust as May sees students around the world celebrating their graduation from high school or college, Foundation Center celebrated the rebranding of our learning community for the social sector and updated our strategy for presenting research findings. And we began to rethink the role that infrastructure organizations like ours should play. Here's our May roundup:

Projects Launched

  • We launched a redesigned GrantSpace.org, our home for social sector professionals. GrantSpace offers a thriving learning community with free tools and trainings designed to help nonprofits build their capacity and be more effective in their work. We're really excited about the new site and hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out!
  • We launched new research and an analysis of the drivers of financial sustainability for local civil society organizations. A collaborative effort with LINC and Peace Direct, the project, which draws on interviews with 120 stakeholders in six countries and an analysis of more than 16,000 grant records, highlights specific strategies employed by funders and CSOs designed to improve financial sustainability in a variety of development contexts. Check out the reports and custom network map at linclocal.org.

Content Published

What We're Excited About

  • Concerns about privacy and data security are very much top of mind these days and are being addressed with a variety of new strategies designed to protect one's personal digital information. On May 25, the European Union set in motion a new law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that changes how the personal data of individuals within the European Union and European Economic Area can be collected and used. While the law is focused on personal data, cyberspace in general is an emerging arena for broader inter-state conflict. In acknowledgement of that reality, our Peace and Security Funding Index now includes a "cybersecurity" category, which Foundation Center defines as the protection of computer networks against outside hackers, including government and non-governmental actors. The index tracks grants aimed at preventing and withstanding cyberattacks from hackers and viruses, as well as cyber terrorism and other cyber threats more broadly. According to the index, funders awarded $6.9 million in the area of cybersecurity in 2015, and we are very interested in tracking how that number changes (or doesn't) over the next few years. Take a few minutes to explore the page and be sure check out the Spotlight feature there to learn more about what different funders are doing to establish international norms around cybersecurity.
  • The Boys and Men of Color Executive Director Collaboration Circle, offered in partnership with Foundation Center South and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has closed the application period for its next six-month cycle. The initiative is aimed at helping nonprofit leaders in the Atlanta region build their capacity to serve and achieve outcomes for boys and men of color. Due to the success of the 2017 pilot, this year's program, which starts July 20, will include twice as many organizations.
  • Foundation Center will be presenting a series of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) webinars through October. The first two are: Getting Ahead of the Curve with Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (In June) and Activating the Collective Power of Latino Engagement and Giving – A Virtuous Circle (in July).

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Our staff will be attending these upcoming events:

Services Spotlight

  • 187,297 new grants added to Foundation Maps, 3,111 of which were awarded to 1,720 organizations outside the U.S.
  • Foundation Directory Online (FDO) grantmaker profile PDFs have a new, improved layout, making them easier to print. Search more than 140,000 grantmaker profiles in FDO!

Data Spotlight

  • New data sharing partners: Anonymous Australia 1, Cancer Care Network Foundation, Collier Charitable Fund, Origin Foundation, Newsboys Foundation, Philanthropy Australia, and Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation. Send us your data and help us communicate philanthropy's efforts to make a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.
  • Year-to-date we've answered more than 5,000 questions via our live Online Librarian chat service.
  • Year-to-date we've provided custom searches for the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Education, Levin College of Urban Affairs (CSU), the GHR Foundation, and Rasmuson Foundation.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I’ll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

Foundations Have Invested $50 Billion in the SDGs, But Who’s Counting?

May 23, 2018

SDGs_logoThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the most ambitious — as well as expensive — global development framework in history. The framework sets specific targets in seventeen areas, from ending poverty in all its forms (Goal 1), to combating climate change and its impacts (Goal 13), to achieving gender equality (Goal 5). But with an estimated annual price tag of $3.5 trillion, it's clear that governments alone cannot finance the SDGs and hope to achieve the framework's 2030 targets. With that in mind, all stakeholders within the development ecosystem, including private and philanthropic actors, need to step in and step up their contributions. Our research shows that while the philanthropic sector has been doing its part, it can do much more.

Foundation Center has been tracking philanthropy's support for the Sustainable Development Goals since the beginning. Our data shows that foundations have contributed more than $50 billion toward achieving the SDGs since January 2016, when the SDG agenda was formally launched, and we are tracking that number in real time — i.e., as more grantmaking data becomes available, we immediately make more SDG-related funding data available. Pretty cool! (NB: We can only track what we can collect, so if we don't have your data, we can't account for your contribution.) Using this "latest available data approach," we can confirm that philanthropy has been and will continue to play a crucial role in financing and driving the SDGs.

In a blog post in 2016, Foundation Center president Brad Smith predicted that foundations would contribute $364 billion toward achieving the by 2030. While it's too early to say whether Brad will be proved correct, the initial trends are favorable. Of the $50 billion in foundation giving we have tracked, roughly $40 billion is based on 2016 data while the rest ($10 billion) comes from foundation giving data collected in 2017 and 2018. As more data from both domestic and international foundations comes in, we estimate that total foundation giving for 2016 will increase by another 15 percent or so by December, when we'll have a more complete data set, and as more international foundations share their data for research purposes. If that trend holds through 2030, it's quite likely that foundations will contribute more than the $364 billion originally estimated by Brad.

Picking winners

It's not a surprise that Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives) and Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all) have received the lion’s share of the funding to date (both more than $18 billion). In addition to regular health-related spending, foundations also have contributed significant sums in response to various health emergencies, both natural and man-made. That list includes avian influenza, Zika virus, Ebola virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and outbreaks of yellow fever, as well as public health emergencies caused by war, cyclones, and earthquakes. At the same time, the goal to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all has long been important to many funders and continues to attract significant funding, even in the SDG era.

Though it has received considerably less funding than the other two, it’s interesting to note that Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality) ranks third in our data — our preliminary analysis hints at a promising scenario for gender equality-related funding — while Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies and justice for all) is close behind in the fourth spot. Indeed, a deep dive into Goal 16-related funding reveals that a lot of the grants made in support of efforts in this area overlap with Goal 5, gender equality, which suggests to us that peace and justice are strongly correlated with gender equality and that funders are well aware of the linkage.

Foundation Funding_SDGs

Who are the top funders and recipients?

Not surprisingly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tops the list of  funders who have supported SDG-related efforts in terms of dollars given, while the Silicon Valley Community Foundation is currently in the fourth spot, which is quite remarkable for a community foundation. It’s also exciting to see foundations from outside the U.S. on the list, with the Wellcome Trust and Big Lottery Fund — both UK-based — occupying the second and seventh spots, respectively. This is particularly important because it suggests that while foundations outside the U.S. are making sizable grants to advance the SDG agenda,  the global development community may not be aware of the extent of that giving since the data is not being widely shared. Needless to say, the main goal of SDGfunders.org is to highlight these funding trends and use the data currently available to tell a more compelling and complete story about the progress being made toward achieving the SDGs.

What's in a number?

The foundation funding total to date (more than $50 billion) represents a tally of all foundation grants identified by Foundation Center that are consistent with the seventeen SDGs and their targets. The number is not meant to suggest that foundations have intentionally aligned all that giving with the SDGs and/or internalized the SDG framework, although that may be the case for some. In addition, about 97 percent of the total is grantmaking by U.S.-based foundations, although more  international grantmaking data is being included as it is made available to us.

Arif Ekram_Lauren_Bradford_for_PhilanTopicIt's important to emphasize that the funding totals we are reporting are based on actual data on nearly a million grants we have collected to date — not on surveys, pledges, or good intentions. As many of you know, sharing grants data has never been easier, and the more data we share as a sector, the easier it will be to demonstrate to the world how institutional philanthropy is meeting the challenge of the global goals.

To learn more about SDG-related foundation funding and how to share your data with us, please visit SDGfunders.org.

Arif Ekram and Lauren Bradford are manager and director, respectively, of global partnerships at Foundation Center.

What's New at Foundation Center Update (May)

May 17, 2018

FC_logoThe flowers are blooming (and allergies raging!), and Foundation Center work is springing ahead through conferences, webinars and trainings, and new data collection efforts. I’m back in NYC for a few days to catch my breath, enjoy the noisy (in a good way) birds, and fill you in on the many exciting things we were up to in April:

Projects Launched

  • As part of our ongoing #OpenForGood campaign, we launched a new GrantCraft guide, Open For Good: Knowledge Sharing to Strengthen Grantmaking, which explores how funders can open up and share their knowledge with the rest of the social sector, and beyond. And to recognize funders that are already knowledge sharing champions, we also launched the inaugural #OpenForGood Award at the recent GEO conference. (Congrats, GEO, on twenty years of strengthening the philanthropy field!) To nominate a foundation for our new award, visit: http://foundationcenter.org/openforgood.
  • Foundation Center's Knowledge Services staff continue to help the Council on Foundations field its annual Grantmaker Salary & Benefits Survey, which provides the sector with data on staff composition and compensation of U.S. grantmakers. Council members and non-members with paid full-time staff are invited to complete the survey by May 25, so there's still time to participate and receive access to salary benchmarking reports generated from the data collected.
  • We released our second Ghana report, which synthesizes the key outcomes from the Ghana Data Strategy and Capacity Building Workshop hosted by Foundation Center and the SDG Philanthropy Forum in November 2017. The meeting was part of our broader agenda to support the Ghanaian philanthropic sector in the areas of data capacity, collaboration, and effective grantmaking.
  • We launched two leadership series papers on GrantCraft about where power sits in philanthropic practice — From Words to Action: A Practical Philanthropic Guide to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, by Barbara Chow; and How Community Philanthropy Shifts Power: What Donors Can Do to Help Make That Happen, by Jenny Hodgson and Anna Pond. Both papers encourage funders to rethink their relationships with grantees, partners, and each other and consider what they can do to foster greater inclusivity and give more power to those who lack it.

Content Published

What We're Excited About

  • We closed our annual CF Insights Columbus Survey. Look for the report coming this June. Learn more about the survey here.
  • We just relaunched our beloved website for the social sector, grantspace.org! The site’s new and improved design makes it easy to navigate to trainings and find Foundation Center locations in your region, and you can also explore hundreds of free topical resources to build your own knowledge and capacity — from anywhere in the world!

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Our staff will be speaking at these upcoming events:

Data Spotlight

  • 356,898 new grants added to Foundation Maps in April, of which 14,423 grants were made to 2,444 organizations outside the U.S.
  • New data sharing partners: Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; Fay Fuller Foundation; Deaconess Foundation; Otto Bremer Foundation; and Stranahan Foundation. Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.
  • Year-to-date we’ve answered more than 3,000 questions via our live Online Librarian chat service.
  • Foundation Directory Online recently launched new Recipient charts! Quickly gain key insights on more than 500,000 individual Recipient profiles. You can also search 140,000 foundation profiles and over 11 million grants.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I’ll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

What’s New at Foundation Center (April)

April 20, 2018

FC_logoI'm currently in New Orleans at the EDGE Funders Conference and am delighting in the stories and wisdom of bold, understated leaders from around the world who are pushing the traditional boundaries of philanthropy. Through conferences like these and our regular scanning and conversations, my colleagues and I have been busy keeping up with data trends and tracking philanthropy's engagement on a variety of issues. Here's a quick update:

Project launched

  • We added a new Open Knowledge Feature to Glasspockets Profiles to showcase the knowledge each foundation has contributed to Issuelab. Learn more.

Content published

What We're Excited About

  • Learning about and participating in global philanthropy conversations. Our director of global partnerships, Lauren Bradford, had this to say about Russian philanthropy.
  • Our FDO at Foundation Center YouTube channel! Have questions about how to use Foundation Directory Online to identify funding sources, build your prospect network, and win funding to support your mission? Our YouTube channel has all the answers.

Upcoming conferences and events

Our staff will be speaking at these upcoming events:

Data Spotlight

  • Funders have granted over $644 million to libraries since 2015. Learn more about funding for libraries at libraries.foundationcenter.org.
  • We reached more than 1,500 people in March through our eLearning and webinar programming on fundraising and nonprofit management.
  • 736,055 new grants added to Foundation Maps in March, of which 6,101 grants were made to 3,724 organizations outside the U.S.
  • New data sharing partner: Hugh J. Andersen Foundation
  • Foundation Directory Online currently has 140,000 foundation profiles, more than 11 million grants, and over 500,000 recipients profiles.

Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I’ll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

What’s New at Foundation Center (March)

March 14, 2018

FC_logoI'm shoveling out from endless snow (or slush, as it's quickly becoming) to bring you this latest update in our monthly series focused on what we're learning about the social sector, where we're speaking, the data we're collecting, and how you can contribute to those efforts. Here's more on what we were up to in February:

Projects Launched

  • Our annual Columbus Survey launched on CF Insights. This survey collects data about financial trends and operational activity at community foundations in the United States. Explore last year's results dashboard to get a snapshot of the community foundation landscape!
  • We now offer ebooks you can borrow for free to read on your device! View our collection and create a free account on the main Catalog of Nonprofit Literature homepage.

Content Published

What We're Excited About

  • Our dedicated amazing GrantSpace specialist Sandy Pon was selected as one of 2018's 50 Movers and Shakers by Library Journal. Nominated as a "digital developer," Sandy addresses the critical (and free!) information literacy needs of the nonprofit and social sector every day through our Grantspace.org platform and our Ask Us service. Congratulations to one of our game-changing librarians!
  • Our soon-to-be released GrantCraft guide on knowledge sharing to strengthen grantmaking.
  • Our women-powered work.
  • Thanks to the generous support of the Doll Family Foundation and the William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation, Foundation Center Midwest will conclude its 40th Anniversary celebration series with a nod to the future of philanthropy. The special program, "Meet the Changemaker: Next GEN Givers, Doers & Innovators," will take place on Saturday, April 7, at our Foundation Cenrer Midwest Cleveland office.
  • We've answered over 1,500 questions about nonprofit management and the social sector more broadly through our online chat since January. (Have a question? Ask!)
  • We're giving GrantSpace — our website geared to grantseekers — a makeover so that it's easier to find what you're looking for. Keep your eyes peeled for the new site in April.
  • Foundation Center Northeast (our New York office) will be hosting a series of workshops this year as part of a grant award from the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund. These awards are made in order to provide capacity-building services for selected nonprofits led by and serving communities of color across New York City's five boroughs. If you're an eligible nonprofit that did not apply for 2018, we would love to discuss partnering with you to apply for a grant for 2019. For more information e-mail Kate Amanna Demcsak, New York lead, at kva@foundationcenter.org.
  • We have a newly improved and easy way to tell your story through our Foundation Center Updater. Keep us up-to-date on the work of your organization!

A Few Projects in the Pipeline

  • In partnership with the Ford Foundation, a project to expand the data on local philanthropy in India.
  • In partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, a project to build a web portal featuring philanthropic funding related to — and by — Native peoples.

For more on these projects or how to work with us, send us an email.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Our staff will be speaking/appearing at these upcoming events:

Our staff will be attending and/or exhibiting at these events:

Data Spotlight

  • 236,716 new grants added to Foundation Maps in February, of which 9,865 grants were made to 6,571 organizations outside the U.S.
  • New data sharing partners: Henry County Community Foundation, REI Corporate Giving Program, Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, and the Philip L. Van Every Foundation
  • Illegal fishing accounts for about 20 percent of the world's catch, costing up to $23.5 billion a year. See more on our featured landscape, FundingTheOcean.org.

Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I’ll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

What’s New at Foundation Center (February)

February 13, 2018

FC_logoLast month, we launched this monthly series as a way to keep you posted on what we at Foundation Center are learning, where we're speaking, what data we're collecting, and how you can contribute to that story. And while athletes from around the world are slipping, sliding, and jumping their way to glory in South Korea, we've been hard at work bringing data and knowledge to the fore for philanthropy globally. Here's the latest:

Projects Launched

  • Our Advancing Human Rights platform was updated with new trends data, revealing a 45 percent increase in human rights funding worldwide between 2011 and 2015, from $1.4 billion to more than $2 billion. In partnership with the Human Right Funders Network, we began to map the landscape of human rights grantmaking in 2010, which led to this first-ever five-year analysis. In addition to the site update, we also launched a blog series featuring human rights funders who provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into key trends related to their areas of focus. And we created an infographic that distills the key findings from the analysis.

Content Published

What We're Excited About

  • We are a founding partner of the first U.S.-based Opportunity Collaboration Conference, taking place in Florida in May.
  • We answered nearly 900 questions about nonprofit management and the social sector more broadly through our online chat service in January.
  • We're giving GrantSpace — our website geared to grant seekers — a makeover so it's simpler to find what you're looking for. Keep your eyes peeled for the new site in April.
  • Our revamped custom training program for grantseekers uses in-person and online tools to connect participants in meaningful ways and promote concrete outcomes. Through assignments, peer review, expert coaching, and workshops, you'll be supported from start to finish. Email our training team at fctraining@foundationcenter.org for more information.
  • A soon-to-be-released GrantCraft Leadership Series paper by Barbara Chow focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy.

Projects in the Pipeline

  • In partnership with Sustain Arts and Audience Architects, a new report mapping the dance ecosystem in the Chicago area
  • In partnership with the Council on Foundations, a report on international grantmaking by U.S.-based foundations

For more on these projects or how to work with us, send us an email.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Our staff will be speaking at these upcoming events:

Our staff will be attending and/or exhibiting at these events:

Data Spotlight

  • 328,486 new grants added to Foundation Maps since January 1, of which 4,045 were made to 2,591 organizations outside the U.S.
  • New data sharing partners: Austin Family Foundation, Charities Aid Foundation of America, ClimateWorks Foundation, Laffey-McHugh Foundation.

Tell your story through data so we can communicate philanthropy's contribution to making a better world — learn more about our eReporting program.

If you found this update helpful, feel free to share it or shoot us an email! I'll be back next month with another update.

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

The Role of Philanthropy in Conflict Prevention: 15 Takeaways

December 15, 2017

Number15In early November, Foundation Center hosted an event with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE) that drew more than forty-five people from ten countries to discuss the role of philanthropy in conflict prevention and resolution. The energy around the topic was palpable and there was no shortage of knowledge shared. Here are my top 15 takeaways from the meeting:

1. Less than 1 percent of philanthropic funding is going to peace and security. It's true; take a look at the data. Given the currency and the social and economic costs associated with conflicts worldwide, this is a worrying figure. According to former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, "The economic and financial cost of conflict and violence in 2014 has been estimated to be US$14.3 trillion, or 13.4 percent of the global economy." So why is this area of work underfunded? Is it because foundations are more risk averse than they like to believe?

2. Philanthropy has the ability to be adaptable, flexible, and take risks. It can play a research and development role in the field of peace and security, but it must respect that this work is high stakes and requires a great deal of flexibility; it is not philanthropy as usual and there are rules to be followed when operating in a sensitive environment. Funders must carefully consider relevant contextual and cultural information when funding and working in conflict-affected environments.

3. Without peaceful and secure communities, the climate, humanitarian, and development agendas will not be realized. Conflict, humanitarian disasters, and climate change are interlinked and their effects are unevenly distributed and primarily impact economically disadvantaged communities. These different agendas can’t be realized in isolation, and we won’t make progress without expanding our efforts to prevent and resolve conflict.

4. There are roles for both large and small funders. Some smaller funders feel that the situation is just too complex for them to get involved. However, increasing the availability of small, unrestricted grants can make a critical difference in conflict-affected environments, where the context is constantly shifting and flexible funding is key. Larger grants and long-term funding are also crucial to ensure the continuity and long-term relationships necessary for effective peacebuilding programs. Regardless of size, funders large or small, can support indigenous locally led efforts, provide core support, and commit to the long term.

Continue reading »

Driving Innovation in Global Development: Why We Need Next-Generation Leaders

December 13, 2017

P1_Edible-InsectThe face of global development is changing. Shifting priorities, new organizations, new technologies — the landscape of the field is in flux. And in this era of sustainable development, a new generation of global leaders is poised to play a leading role in catalyzing change.

The Challenges Ahead

Despite decades of progress, the global community continues to grapple with urgent challenges such as poverty, malnutrition, and environmental degradation. Global trends such as urbanization, income inequality, climate change, and technological disruption increasingly are driving the scale and intensity of these challenges, forcing us to think differently and more collaboratively. The United Nations2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is emblematic of this changing landscape. The message is clear: business as usual is no longer an option.

In the area of global nutrition, these trends are already having a profound impact. Malnutrition remains one of the most pervasive challenges and is the leading underlying cause of child mortality worldwide. As the planet becomes more populated and prosperous, food production and consumption patterns are changing and stressing our fragile natural resources. With the global population on track to hit 9.8 billion people by 2050, the field of nutrition is ripe for innovation. The task at hand is significant, if not daunting: How do we sustainably meet the nutritional needs of a growing global population?

To address hard problems like these, we need to consider new approaches and sustainable solutions. The health and livelihoods of many vulnerable communities — and the planet we all share — depend on it.

Engaging Emerging Leaders

Harnessing the insights and talents of the next generation of global leaders will be critical to unlocking innovation for sustainable development. With an eye to the future, early-career professionals can help us examine problems in new ways, elevate diverse perspectives, and surface creative new ideas. We should not underestimate the value of the entrepreneurial energy that early-career professionals bring to the table. By questioning age-old assumptions and confronting problems with analytic, data-driven vigor, they can help us chip away at some of the barriers that have slowed our progress.

Continue reading »

Philanthropy in India Report Sparks Questions…and Opportunity

December 11, 2017

Sdgs-circleRecently, Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace, in association with Alliance magazine, Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), and the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University, released a highly anticipated thought piece on the emerging philanthropic sector in India, one of the largest and most rapidly changing countries in the world.

The report, a working paper by Caroline Hartnell titled Philanthropy in India, draws on interviews with key local actors to inform us about the varying types of philanthropy, illustrate some of the current challenges and opportunities, and throw light on the history of and approaches to philanthropy in India. The report does not purport to answer all questions or predict trends, nor does it present hard numbers on giving or impact, but it does start to give an intelligible and exciting glimpse into the complexities and highly varied contexts in which philanthropy operates in a country as multifaceted as India. But because the report, understandably, offers only a partial view into Indian philanthropy, it raises as many questions as it answers.

Giving by the middle class in India is rising rapidly — this is one important insight offered by Hartnell's paper, as it may be the most significant trend in Indian philanthropy. Other findings — such as the lack of donor education about local contexts and the constantly competing interests of local and international NGOs — are more troubling but equally important, in that we see these issues over and over worldwide without doing anything to change our collective approach. And still other findings, such as that almost 33 percent of the Indian population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day while around 69 percent live on less than $2 a day, provide a strong call to action for philanthropy to respond to.

Continue reading »

Finally! A Global (Data) Language!

October 25, 2017

Trying to get global consensus on anything is nearly impossible. But in collaboration with a dynamic cohort of individuals and organizations, we've managed to develop a new manifesto with respect to the structure and sharing of data about global philanthropy that is valued across contexts. Meet the new Global Philanthropy Data Charter.

GDC_infographic
Philanthropy, and more broadly, civil society, play a large and increasingly visible role in solving complex societal issues around the globe. Over the last twenty years, as private wealth in countries around the world has exploded, we've seen a significant increase in giving by institutions and individuals. At the same time, technology adoption and economic populism have emerged from the shadows while foreign aid to the least developed countries has declined. Established in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals paved the way, in 2015, for the multi-stakeholder Sustainable Development Goals. Each step in this evolution was guided by data. Good data? Not always. But in our rapidly changing world, everyone must tell their own story — or risk having it told for them. The good news? Philanthropy has had to become more transparent, more accountable, and more effective. Rather than siloed efforts, maximizing impact based on smart giving and shared learning has become a collective world-wide aspiration.

Continue reading »

Commitments for Hurricane Irma Relief

September 20, 2017

In the nearly two weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated wide swaths of the Caribbean and Florida, corporations, foundations, and public charities have pledged support for relief and recovery efforts. Here are the commitments of at least $25,000 tracked by our Foundation Center colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato as of September 20.

For commitments designated for both Harvey and Irma relief, please see our updates to the Harvey relief commitments announced by corporate foundations and corporate giving programs, foundations, public charities, and individuals. See also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake.

[We're continuing to update the tables as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates.]

Table 1: Company-Sponsored Foundations, Corporate Giving Programs

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Abbvie Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 Also employee match
Allergan Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $150,000 $100,000 to American Red Cross for relief efforts in Florida; $50,000 for relief efforts in Caribbean
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program MusiCares $25,000
Amgen Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Direct Relief, American Kidney Fund $100,000 Also employee match
Amway Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match
Anthem Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Americares $75,000 Also employee match
AT&T Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Team Rubicon, Telecoms Sans Frontieres, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,400,000 $1,000,000 to Team Rubicon; $150,000 to Telecoms Sans Frontieres
Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,250,000 $1,000,000 to be allocated when an assessment is completed
BankUnited, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 For impacted areas of Florida
BB&T Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 Includes $250,000 in donated supplies
BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $825,000 $75,000 for employee match
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000
Charter Communications, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Rebuilding Together $1,350,000 Includes $1,000,000 in donated public service announcements
Charter Communications, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Rebuilding Together $1,350,000 Includes $1,000,000 in donated public service announcements
Chevron Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program DonorsChoose.org $400,000 For local public school classroom projects in south Florida
Chevron Global Fund Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $600,000 Also employee match
Citi Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000
Coach Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Direct Relief $33,000
Coca-Cola Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Immediate relief and long-term rebuilding
CUNA Mutual Group Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation CUAid $50,000 For affected credit union partners and employees
CVS Health Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Florida Disaster Fund, CVS Health Employee Relief Fund $75,000
Duke Energy Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Volunteer Florida Foundation – Florida Disaster Fund, United Way, Energy Neighbor Fund, local community agencies $1,000,000
eBay Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 For impacted areas of Gulf Coast
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $250,000 Also product donations from company
Enterprise Holdings Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Americares $1,000,000 $750,000 to American Red Cross; $250,000 to Americares
EVERTEC, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program United for Puerto Rico – Together Changing Trajectories, Unknown Recipients $150,000 For relief efforts in Puerto Rico; $50,000 for social media match
FedEx Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and value of transportation support
Fifth Third Bank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000 $250,000 for employee match
Ford Motor Company Fund Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $150,000 Employee match.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida and the Caribbean. Also employee match
Google.org Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,250,000 For impacted areas in southeastern United States and Caribbean; $250,000 for employee match
Humana Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee match
IBM Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 Shelter and call center management. Also donations of Cloud and consulting, and technologies for large-scale volunteer management for Government and NGO partners
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 For impacted areas in United States and Caribbean
Kohl's Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee volunteerism
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and in-kind donations. Also customer donations
MAXIMUS Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Volunteer Florida $100,000
McKesson Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Americares $185,000 Value of donated product
Mckesson Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $125,000 Employee match
Merck & Co., Inc. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund, Multiple Recipients 1,250,000 Also product donations
Microsoft Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $750,000 Also donation of tech services
New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Save the Children, Feeding America, UNICEF, NYLIC Family Disaster Assistance Fund $450,000 Also employee match; $100,000 for impacted agents and employees
NextEra Energy Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Florida Disaster Fund $1,000,000 Also employee match
Norfolk Southern Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Feeding Tampa Bay, Feeding South Florida $100,000
Paypal Holdings, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Save the Children $200,000 Also customer donations
PepsiCo Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Feeding America, American Red Cross $1,750,000 For assistance in Florida and the Southeast U.S., Mexico, Caribbean
Prudential Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $500,000 Also employee match
Royal Bank of Canada Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $300,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida and the Caribbean
Scotiabank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Canadian Red Cross $500,000 $250,000 for relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean; young people in affected communities
Sealed Air Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program World Food Program USA, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity $225,000 $100,000 each for emergency aid for the Caribbean and mainland U.S.; $25,000 for employee match; also product donations
StorageMart Partners, L.P. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program GlobalGiving $25,000 Employee match
SunTrust Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 $250,000 to American Red Cross
Target Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, UNICEF, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and in-kind donations
United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $50,000 Customer match
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For impacted Florida communities. Also employee match
UPS Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For recovery efforts in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Includes cash grants, in-kind transportation movements and technical expertise
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match.
Verizon Communications Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hand in Hand $2,500,000
VS Health Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Value of donated water
Walgreens Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 For relief efforts in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Also donating food and water.
Wal-Mart Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $10,000,000 Customer match
Walt Disney Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients 2,500,000 For Florida, the Caribbean, and other impacted areas
Wells Fargo & Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,100,000 $500,000 to American Red Cross; $100,000 for relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean
Xerox Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $75,000 $75,000 for employee match
Total: $50,243,000

 

Table 2: Foundations

Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Inc. Independent Foundation All Faiths Food Bank, Pines of Sarasota Foundation $374,000 $172,000 for two weeks of food; $202,000 for air conditioning
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. Independent Foundation Senior Resources Alliance, Feeding South Florida, Feeding Northeast Florida, Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County, Jewish Community Services of South Florida $500,000 For the immediate needs of older adults in areas most affected; for emergency food, water, supplies, and repairs throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties; for crisis case management, including counseling and financial assistance to low-income older adults for home repairs and other needs related to the hurricane
Total: $874,000

 

Table 3: Public Charities

American Kidney Fund, Inc. Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $120,000 Emergency disaster relief assistance to 500 dialysis patients
Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries Public Charity Unknown Recipient $500,000 For rebuilding school libraries that have been damaged during this year's hurricane season
Our Family Foundation, Inc. Public Charity American Red Cross $250,000 For hardest hit areas in Florida
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Miami-Dade Animal Services, Atlanta Humane Society, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,115,000 For animal welfare organizations. Also product donations
Total: $1,985,000


September 22, 2017

The CUNA Mutual Group Foundation announces a $50,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The MAXIMUS Foundation, Inc. announces a $100,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

The New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program announces a $450,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The Norfolk Southern Foundation announces a $100,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $50,194,000


September 25, 2017

The United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $150,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program announces a $825,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $51,069,000


September 27, 2017

The Coach Foundation, Inc. announces a $33,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries announces a $500,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announces a $500,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

Updated total: $52,102,000


September 28, 2017

The Duke Energy Foundation announces a $1 million commitment for Irma relief efforts.

Updated total: $53,102,000


Harvey Relief: Individual Pledges/Commitments (Table 1.4)

September 09, 2017

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that followed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on more than $28 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (see Table 1.4 below). We've also tracked nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (Table 1.1), more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (Table 1.2), and over $9 million in public charity pledges/commitments (Table 1.3) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $285 million ($284,911,000) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs) | Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 1.4: Individuals

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Leslie Alexander NBA owner Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $4,000,000  
Odell Beckham, Jr.  Pro football player Americares, Samaritan's Purse $100,000  
Chris Brown Musician American Red Cross $100,000  
Sandra Bullock Actor American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Charles Butt Businessman Houston Flood Relief Fund $5,000,000  
Jim Crane (Houston Astros) Businessman Houston Flood Relief Fund $4,000,000  
Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen DeGeneres Show Entertainer American Red Cross, SPCA Texas, Unknown Recipient(s) $75,000 American Red Cross ($25,000), SPCA Texas ($25,000)
Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show Entertainer Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
James Harden Pro basketball player Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Kevin Hart Actor American Red Cross $25,000  
Kieu Hoang Businessman Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $5,000,000  
Huntsman Family Business Beaumont Foundation $1,000,000 To launch Huntsman Flood Fund
Kardashian-Jenner Family Family Reality TV personalities American Red Cross, Salvation Army $100,000  
DJ Khalid Record producer American Red Cross $25,000  
Kroenke Family American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Nicki Minaj Musician Houston Flood Relief Fund $25,000  
McNair Family (Houston Texans) NFL owner United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund $2,000,000  
Paul Simon and Edie Brickell Musicians Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000  
Amy Adams Strunk (Tennessee Titans) NFL owner Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Donald Trump POTUS Multiple Recipients $1,000,000  
J.J. Watt Pro football player Houston Flood Relief Fund $100,000  
Chris Young Musician American Red Cross $100,000  
    TOTAL: $33,575,000  

 

September 15, 2017

Businessman Kieu Hoang pledges $5 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Updated individual total: $33,575,000


Harvey Relief: Public Charity Commitments (Table 1.3)

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that followed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on more than $9 million in public charity pledges/commitments (see Table 1.3 below). We've also tracked nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (Table 1.1), more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (Table 1.2), and over $43 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (Table 1.4) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $3000 million ($299,934,500) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs)| Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 4: Public Charities

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
American Jewish Committee Public Charity Multiple Recipients $34,000  
Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio Public Charity Texas Baptist Men, Salvation Army $100,000  
Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For impacted public libraries, teachers, and students in Houston
CHS Caregivers Fund Public Charity Diocese of Rockville Centre Hurricane Harvey Fund $100,000  
Direct Relief International Public Charity Unknown Recipient $200,000 Also entire current inventories worth $100 million made available
Henry Schein, Inc. Public Charity Multiple Recipients $500,000 Cash, in-kind and employee match
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Inc. Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000  
Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For rebuilding school libraries that have been damaged during this year's hurricane season
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Up to $1 million in direct support to help blood cancer patients in affected communities
NFL Foundation, Inc. Public Charity United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000 Matching Houston Texans donation
PETCO Foundation Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $2,300,000 All For Saving Lives fund raising campaign in Petco stores and online through September 10
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Multiple Recipients $2,000,000 To animal welfare agencies; also pet food and supplies
Scholarship America, Inc. Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000 For college students affected by Harvey
    TOTAL: $11,134,000  

 

September 15, 2017

Scholarship America, Inc. announces a $200,000 donation to unknown recipient(s) in support of college students affected by Harvey.

Updated public charity total: $9,634,000


September 27, 2017

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation announces a $1,000,000 donation for impacted public libraries, teachers and students in Houston.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries announces a $500,000 donation for rebuilding school libraries.

Updated public charity total: $11,134,000


Weekend Link Roundup (September 2-3, 2017)

September 04, 2017

Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

RosieClimate Change

Did climate change magnify the destructive power of Hurricane Harvey? Robinson Meyer The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer uncovers a fair amount of evidence which suggests that global warming is making a bad situation worse.

On the Yes! Magazine site, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben talks with Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program about the threat of climate change as a lens to understand many of the injustices confronting the planet.

Collaboration

Which of the following elements of effective collaboration is the most challenging: reaching consensus, bringing diverse perspectives to the table, taking meaningful action? Hop over to the Kauffman Foundation site and cast your vote, then read on to learn how "to apply the principles that matter to move to [a] place where collaboration can happen on a much larger scale." 

Data

Could data science be the key to unlocking the next wave of social change? Elizabeth Good Christopherson, president and chief executive officer of the Rita Allen Foundation, talks with Jake Porway, founder of DataKind, a global network of volunteers skilled in data analysis, coding and visualization, about changes in technology that are influencing the work of his organization and the prospects for accelerated social change.

Disaster Relief

The New York Times has a good roundup of federal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Looking for commonsense advice about the best way to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts? This article by Pam Fessler on the NPR site is a good place to start.

In a post on Slate, Jonathan M. Katz explains why the Red Cross, the default disaster relief recipient for a majority of corporations and individual Americans, won't "save" Houston.

And in a post on the NCRP site, Ginny Goldman, founder and former director of the Texas Organizing Project, the Houston-based affiliate of the Center for Popular Democracy, reminds Americans that "[w]hen camera crews head home and it's time to rebuild Houston, the people on the ground will need organizing capacity and legal support to fight for themselves." 

Continue reading »

Two New Data Tools for the Open Ag Sector

August 14, 2017

The following post is part of a year-long series here on PhilanTopic that addresses major themes related to the center's work: the use of data to understand and address important issues and challenges; the benefits of foundation transparency for donors, nonprofits/NGOs, and the broader public; the emergence of private philanthropy globally; the role of storytelling in conveying the critical work of philanthropy; and what it means, and looks like, to be an effective, high-functioning foundation, nonprofit, or changemaker in the twenty-first century. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

_____

You work at a foundation, government agency, or nonprofit committed to reducing poverty and hunger. Recognizing the importance of agriculture for achieving this goal, you've decided to focus on improving the lives of smallholder farmers, who represent a significant portion of those living on less than $2 a day. You know which regions you want to work in, and now you're trying to determine which value chains you should invest in to create the greatest impact. As part of the Initiative for Open Ag Funding, Foundation Center has two new tools to help you answer that question.

First, an acknowledgment: such a decision requires an analysis of many, many data points. Among the factors to consider are: Which crops are produced by smallholder farmers? Which of those crops have the most potential to increase farmers' income? What does the market for these crops look like? What is the potential for significant productivity gains? Is there the infrastructure needed to get these goods to market? Who else is investing in these particular value chains?

The Initiative for Open Ag Funding focuses on this last question: Who is doing what, where, with whom, and to what effect? And rather than reinvent the wheel, the initiative uses the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data standard as its starting point. IATI aims to improve the transparency of international development and humanitarian resources and activities and has been widely adopted by bilateral and multilateral donors as well as many other organizations. To date, two of Foundation Center's major contributions have been: 1) filling a gap in IATI data; and 2) developing a tool to enrich that data so it better meets the needs of the agriculture sector.

Shedding Light on Foundation Funding for Agriculture

Foundation Center has been collecting and sharing data on foundations' grantmaking for decades. This data has been used to ground philanthropy research, inform grant prospecting, and foster collaboration. Given our comprehensive data on foundation grants and the fact that few foundations have published their data to IATI, we have opened our data on funding for international agriculture and food security activities. This data represents $4.3 billion worth of grants from nearly 1,900 funders to more than 3,000 organizations around the world. In addition to posting the data on the IATI Registry,* we've also made it accessible through a new and publicly available Open Agriculture Data map.

OpenAg_tools_grino

Making IATI Data More Relevant for Agriculture

At the moment, most data published to IATI is coded with OECD DAC purpose codes or the organization's own subject taxonomy. Early conversations with agricultural practitioners revealed, however, that these categories are not granular enough. In response, we developed an open source agriculture autocoder for the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) AGROVOC thesaurus. Enter a project title, description, or any other text and, using machine learning, the OpenAgClassifier will return codes for terms such as rice or bananas or goats. (You can learn more about our approach to open source in this blog post by my colleague, Dave Hollander.) As a result, what would have been a time-consuming and probably manual process of identifying who is working in, say, the rice value chain is now much faster and easier.

Foundation Center and the Open Ag Funding team know that data and tools alone won't lead to smarter investments or more collaboration. Our goal is simply to give organizations a better starting point for making decisions about where and how to direct their resources. Given the progress of the open data movement, a lack of data or good tools shouldn't be a major reason why organizations duplicate efforts, why Organization A didn't know to go to Organization B to learn more about their approach, or why an organization really making a difference is invisible to those that have the means to support it. Our hope is that by putting the right data and tools at their disposal, we can make it easier for organizations to focus on the harder things about getting development right.

Headshot_laia-grino(*Note: To avoid duplication of data on the IATI Registry, we have removed funders already publishing to IATI from our IATI data.)

Laia Griñó is director of data discovery at Foundation Center. For more posts in the FC Insight series, click here.

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