(From The Hewlett Foundation)
The Hewlett Foundation is launching a free, Creative Commons licensed tool for looking at grants data. It's hosted now, on their web site, and makes it much easier (and more fun) to find patterns among the 7,148 grants that the Foundation has made since 2000.
· Largest grant made? $460.8 million
· Organization most frequently granted to: Stanford University: 162 grants over 12 years, covering programs as diverse as nuclear disarmament, school reform, and for Black physics students
· Program area with most grants: Global Development and Population (GDP): 1,658 grants
You can display the grants data by year, program, type of grant and then dig into the Hewlett Foundation’s funding history for each organization as well as click over to the organization’s own website.
“We created this tool to visualize data so anyone can quickly identify key trends and patterns in our grantmaking,” said Patrick Collins, the Hewlett Foundation’s Chief Information Officer. “You can easily find our largest grants or follow the level of funding for a particular subprogram or geographic region over time. By clicking the shaded boxes, you can learn more about the organizations we fund and see a detailed, 12-year history of our support for each grantee. We think this tool takes foundation transparency to a new level and we hope it enables users to easily address two of the most common questions we receive: ‘What do you fund?’ and ‘Where do you work?’
The most exciting thing about this persicope view is that the Hewlett Foundation is making the software that powers it available as an open source resource. Other foundations and grantmakers can use this to display their data, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has already received the source code. Perhaps the 15 foundations (so far) who have signed on to report their grants in common format will use this to display all of their grants. We'd then be able to see the trends across participating foundations, identify gaps and overlaps, and ask new questions of the data. You can also check out the company that made the site to learn about the choice of visualization techniques.
This tool from Hewlett, along with the recent reporting commitment announcement and the launch of MarketsForGood represent a collective step forward in sharing and showing philanthropic data. It's up to us now to put it to use.