2016 Highlights

CF (Community Foundation) Insights

CF Insights is the leader in data collection and research for the community foundation field in the United States with a reputation for benchmarking and analysis of trends. In its second year at Foundation Center, CF Insights continued to deliver a high level of service to its members, initiated several new partnerships and consulting engagements, and undertook original research on community leadership by community foundations and on the role of infrastructure organizations in supporting the field. Together, CF Insights members serve half of the U.S. population and represent two-thirds of total community foundation assets. Through CF Insights, community foundations have the ability to improve performance and sustainability—individually and collectively.

“It has been such an exciting year for CF Insights. Listening to conversations across the country has been a rewarding experience, and we’re converting it into action through brand new, relevant research that reflects a fast-evolving field,” shares David Rosado, CF Insights’ member services manager.

Visit CF Insights

Growing quality and breadth of data

Foundation Center continues to be a leading driver in establishing data standards for philanthropy. Our ongoing work to continually improve reporting allows foundations to more efficiently and accurately transmit their grants electronically (eReporting). The “Get on the Map” campaign with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers continues to be successful, helping push the number of foundations that report their grants data electronically to Foundation Center, from 1,203 in 2015 to 1,388 in 2016. Foundation Center staff have obtained and processed over 170,000 grants (totaling over $15 billion) from fiscal year 2015 from eReporting foundations. These are grants that are not yet available on public IRS 990 PF forms, but are now viewable on Foundation Center’s products and services, including FDO and Foundation Maps. There’s also no minimum dollar amount, so grants as small as $100 become just as much a part of a foundation’s story as a $1,000,000 grant.

Funders, become an eReporter Today

Foundation Maps

Foundation Maps is Foundation Center’s premier data visualization tool and the easiest way to see who is funding what and where around the world. The tool currently includes data on 6.3 million grants totaling $1.7 trillion in funding, made by over 73,000 funders to nearly 470,000 recipients. In 2016, we added U.S. federal grants data to give a more comprehensive funding picture and continued to add enhanced features to provide a more in-depth and customizable experience. Daniel Saronson, application developer, shares, “One beautiful feature we added is the distribution chart. It gives the user the ability to see breakdowns of funding by subject area, population served, and support strategy, and it is an invaluable tool for getting a quick cross-discipline picture of the overall funding landscape.”

The flexibility and precision to tailor research has paid off. Amanda Dillon, knowledge services manager, shares a favorite story: “A funder collaborative based in Indiana had a hunch that there was limited capacity building investment for their grantees. By submitting data collectively to Foundation Center and then visualizing it on Foundation Maps, they were able verify funding gaps in this area. As a result, they created a special fund for capacity building grants, showing how data can directly inform decisions.”

Foundation Maps is available for free use on-site at the Center’s five regional hubs or at any one of our more than 400 Funding Information Network partner locations, or by subscription anywhere you are.

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Explore Map: Women’s Funders Network

Explore Map: The New York Community Trust

Foundation Websites

Foundation Websites is our web design and support service for grantmaking organizations. With only a surprising 10 percent of foundations in the U.S. having websites, this service is one way that we work to increase foundation transparency. For foundations that are ready to go online to share aspects of what they do and how they do it, we professionally design and maintain customized websites free of charge or for a modest fee. Grantmakers who have worked with us on their websites report receiving better proposals and answering fewer requests by phone and mail, saving them both time and budget dollars. By the end of 2016, 220 foundations had taken advantage of this service. Daniel Matz taps both web design and customer service skills to meet the needs of foundation partners. “Every time we launch a new foundation website, we’re showcasing our client’s pride in their work, helping them be more transparent, more open. Knowing that we are helping foundations communicate their game-changing ideas is why I do what I do.”

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With growing pressure on foundations to be more transparent about operations and how they fulfill their missions, Glasspockets is our home for the data, resources, examples, and action steps that guide them in doing so. In 2016, with support from the Barr Foundation, we evolved our formerly static, hard-to-read “Heat Map” of the least and most commonly shared transparency elements on foundation websites into. Transparency Trends, an interactive, custom transparency benchmarking tool. In addition to being far more user friendly, this has inspired Glasspockets profile completion and increased contribution of indicator data. In 2016, there were nearly 60,000 users of Glasspockets. Foundations report that Glasspockets has helped them to design transparency and accountability strategies which have resulted in transparency improvements within their institutions. Marc Moorghen, director of communications at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, shares, “Glasspockets is a great tool for improving philanthropy. Because the transparency assessments can be publicly shared and then compared, you can benchmark your openness against that of other foundation peers, which then motivates aspiration and understanding that we, as a philanthropic field, can and should do better.”

Glasspockets is keeping an Eye on the Giving Pledge, which 157 of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families have joined since 2010 by publicly declaring their intentions to commit the majority of their assets to philanthropic causes. We provide an in-depth picture of the participants, their publicly-known charitable activities, and the potential impact of this collective effort. We continue to update the information available and maintain detailed profiles on those who have signed the pledge. They range in age from 30 to 101 from across 20 countries with a combined net worth of more than $780 billion.

Explore Transparency Trends

Explore Eye on the Giving Pledge

Nonpartisan, trusted information

During a year when many media outlets and information sources took political stances, we deepened our emphasis on providing trusted, nonpartisan information that is relevant and useful across the aisle. For example, through our Funding for U.S. Democracy website, we launched an infographic series that investigates the data to answer common questions. The first in the series, How Foundations Get Out the Vote, identifies 1,859 grants totaling $222.7 million in support of efforts related to voter education, registration, turnout, and access. Recognizing that demographic disparities exist for voter turnout, the infographic highlights the amount of funding for these efforts that focus on specific underrepresented population groups. Consistent with recent judicial focus on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as well as state voter ID laws, a breakdown by strategy reveals that a substantial proportion (24%) of funding for voting supports litigation.

Another example: The data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with the divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. When news headlines nationwide in June and July exploded with commentary about the intersection of race and policing, we responded with facts. In a collaborative staff effort, we pulled together an IssueLab special collection that includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university-based research centers that have not only described and documented the issue, but that also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic challenge.

See more democracy-focused infographics

Explore the race and policing collection

Researching critical funding issues

We created a new resource, the Peace and Security Funding Index, in partnership with the Peace and Security Funders Group in 2016. This is a first-of-its-kind research project that showcases the foundations and philanthropists dedicated to building a safer, more peaceful and prosperous global future. The Index strives to help funders, policymakers, and the general public better understand the peace and security funding landscape; it identifies who “peace and security” funders are, what issues they fund, where they focus, and how they make an impact.

The Center also built on its slate of research tools for the human rights field with the Advancing Human Rights initiative, including an interactive website, an annual key findings update, and data mapping tool, produced in partnership with the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG). We incorporated data on international aid flows for human rights, sourced from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In addition to analyzing human rights data from foundations by issue, population, and region, we added support strategy as a new data point for analysis. Similarly, in our third year of partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, we made enhancements to the interactive mapping platform on Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy, including new features that visualize trends, identify funding gaps, and explore philanthropic networks and funding relationships. A process was also created to update the map with new disaster-related grants more frequently.

Anna Koob, knowledge services manager, says, “In human right and peace and security funding, there’s a lot of rhetorical support among funders for investment in social movements and support for local capacity-building, particularly in the context of international trends towards closing space for civil society. For me, it’s always so interesting to see where this commitment is (or is not) reflected in the grants data.”


Advancing Human Rights

The Peace and Security Funding Index

Disaster Philanthropy