Highlights

  • 100&Change

    100&Change was a competition created by the MacArthur Foundation to give a $100 million grant to fund one proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem. It was created to solve problems that cannot be solved by typically-sized grants awarded to foundations. This competition was open to proposals from any organization worldwide, without restrictions on the problem being addressed or the location of work. The only major criteria were that the work have a charitable purpose, and that there be evidence of the proposed solution’s effectiveness. Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s joint proposal won, but countless other proposals showed promise.

    In partnership with MacArthur, we developed the 100&Change Solutions Bank, a public, searchable database of all the proposals on the competition site. This bank brings greater visibility to these ideas and hopefully sparks greater collaboration and learning among organizations tackling similar challenges.

    Explore Solutions

  • Art Connects

    Our New York space showcases work from Art Connects, a nonprofit organization that connects artists and curators with social service agencies in New York City to create museum-quality permanent exhibitions of contemporary artwork. It was a pleasure to work with curator Peter Gynd to select a permanent collection to share with visitors to our New York space.

    The exhibit features multi-talented artists with an organic eye for composition. Artists include Etty Yaniv, Keisha Scarville, Ellie Murphy, Katya Grokhovsky, Jennifer Williams, Lawrence Mesich, Fanny Allié, Ryan Sarah Murphy, and Maria Britton. Each piece is thought provoking, visually appealing, and tells a compelling story.

    Take a Virtual Tour Come Visit

  • CF 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 third year at Foundation Center, CF Insights continued to deliver a high level of service to its members.

    By working with other services, such as CFLeads and our own IssueLab, we released groundbreaking research on the relationship between philanthropy-serving organizations and community foundations, we launched a Community Foundation Knowledge Center, and published field-wide Columbus Survey results as a responsive online dashboard for the first time. “We’re proud to expand on our offerings for the community foundation field,” says David Rosado, member services manager, CF Insights, “and we have much more in store in the future.”

    Visit CF Insights Read Research

  • 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. With millions of grants from 2006 to the present, innovative ways to visualize funding data, and the flexibility and precision to tailor research, Foundation Maps helps funders and nonprofits access the knowledge they need to make strategic decisions and strengthen their impact. Foundation Maps is available for free use on-site at our five regional offices or at any one of our more than 400 Funding Information Network partner locations.

    Foundation Maps currently includes data on 9.5 million grants totaling $2.5 trillion made by more than 83,000 funders to 665,000 recipients. Each year, we update and enhance the features of Foundation Maps. Our 2017 enhancements include an ability to track data by U.S. congressional districts and a dashboard that combines small versions of the map, constellations, distribution chart, and list views for “executive overview” of philanthropy based on natural language search. These improvements shine through on data visualization maps such as Open Agriculture Data Map and FundingtheOcean.org.

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  • Foundation Websites

    Do you know about this best kept secret? Foundation Websites is our web design and support service for private foundations and other grantmaking organizations. With only 10 percent of foundations in the U.S. having websites, this is our effort to increase foundation transparency worldwide. We offer professionally designed and maintained customized websites for foundations free of charge or for a modest fee. By the end of 2017, 225 foundations had taken advantage of this service.

    JP Morgan Chase, F.M. Kirby Foundation, and Weissberg Foundation are grantmakers who have worked with us on their websites. “By providing up-to-date software, surfacing previously hidden material, and integrating social media content, we create engaging spaces for foundations that strengthen their communications and transparency with their grantees, potential applicants, and other connected stakeholders,” says Daniel Matz, foundation web manager. Clients reported receiving better proposals and answering fewer requests by phone and mail, saving them both time and budget dollars.

    Learn More

  • Funding the Ocean

    Did you know that illegal fishing accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s catch, costing up to $23.5 billion a year? Did you also know that foundations have committed about $40 million to combat the issue? In March 2017, we launched FundingtheOcean.org, an online hub designed to track, inform, and inspire ocean conservation philanthropy. This new Foundation Landscapes project centralizes and provides access to information needed by ocean funders and conservationists as they work to improve the condition of the ocean, its inhabitants, and the livelihoods that depend on it. The site includes a funding map, a resource center with reports and case studies, as well as an online community for those working on this issue to share information and collaborate. Foundation Center’s staff has presented on this resource at conferences and events since its launch, including at the Biodiversity Funders Group’s annual Marine Conservation Program meeting, the UN World Ocean Conference, and the Center for Effective Philanthropy conference. The site and accompanying funding map were visited by 9,245 users from around the world in 2017.

    Dive Through Data

  • GlassPockets

    Transparency strengthens a foundation’s credibility, increases public trust, and promotes collaboration that builds a community of shared learning. GlassPockets champions philanthropic transparency in an online world. We provide data, resources, examples, and action steps foundations need to understand their value, to be more open in their communications and shine a light on how private organizations are serving the public good.

    In 2017, GlassPockets curated several blog series and features that aligned with current events and trending topics to advocate the relevance and importance of philanthropic transparency to an effective social sector. GlassPockets started 2017 with a web feature, Eye on the Trump Administration, detailing publicly known causes and charities that Trump Cabinet members have supported. The Glasspockets blog, Transparency Talk, also added a new “Trending Topics” feature highlighting serial content of interest to readers. The top ranked blog content was the #OpenForGood series highlighting the importance of knowledge sharing by foundations, comprised of nearly 20 blog posts by a dozen “knowledge sharing champions” from the philanthropy field. “The solution and call to action here is actually a simple one — if you learn something, share something.” says Janet Camarena, our director of transparency initiatives.

    Read the Blog

    Explore Transparency Tools

  • GrantCraft

    Where do you go to get practical wisdom from funders around the world? GrantCraft is a variety of resources developed to showcase funder experience to strengthen philanthropic practice. Through the Atlas Learning Project, coordinated by the Center for Evaluation Innovation, GrantCraft produced a suite of resources that captures the wisdom of philanthropic leaders who have participated in funder advocacy collaboratives. And, in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, GrantCraft also published one of our most popular resources, Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact, a leadership series paper that offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action. We also published 54 guest blog posts and 30 videos, infographics, podcasts, and case studies addressing questions on various strategies and issue areas.

    GrantCraft’s in-person presence expanded by facilitating workshops and events with networks such as PEAK Grantmaking, Philanthropy New York, and Philanthropic Foundations Canada, and also leading conversations at numerous foundations. Our GrantCraft team attended and presented at multiple global conferences including the EDGEfunders Alliance conference on Re/Organising Power for Systems Change, the European Foundation Centre’s Annual General Assembly, the Community Foundations of Canada conference, and the Kultura Nova Foundation’s Participatory Governance in Culture Conference. “By meeting funders where they are for critical conversations grounded in practice,” shares Jen Bokoff, director of stakeholder engagement who leads GrantCraft, “we can actually help move them from a point of being stuck to understanding their next action that can move the needle forward. And, you realize just how relevant one foundation’s experiences and knowledge is to another, regardless of where they’re from or what they’re working on.”

    Explore Resources at GrantCraft.org

  • IssueLab

    We believe that knowing what others know can strengthen your work — so we made it easy to read up. IssueLab represents one of the largest platforms of social sector knowledge, spanning 38 issue areas and containing more than 23,000 publicly available resources (published by nearly 6,000 organizations), such as white papers, case studies, evaluations, and issue briefs. After redesigning and relaunching IssueLab in 2016, we continued to enhance the platform in 2017 based on both user feedback and existing plans. These enhancements included the development and launch of IssueLab Results, one of the key assets of the #OpenForGood campaign; a refresh of the homepage; a deep dive into search engine optimization for repositories; and much more. In 2017, there were 2,260 reports added to IssueLab and increased user engagement.

    Browse published knowledge and contribute your own:

    IssueLab.org

  • Open Agriculture Project

    To support efforts to end world hunger and food insecurity, Foundation Center, The Gates Foundation, InterAction, Development Gateway, Publish What You Fund, Open Data Services, and CGIAR came together to develop a new resource for funders. The Open Agriculture project is a portal for funders to gain knowledge so they can make smarter agricultural investments by ensuring organizations have timely, comprehensive, and comparable data.

    The portal includes open data on funding for international agriculture and food security activities and an accessible Open Agriculture Data map with information on $4.3 billion worth of grants from nearly 1,900 funders to more than 3,000 organizations around the world. Our director of data discovery, Laia Griñó says, “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.”

    Explore More

  • Philanthropy News Digest (PND)

    Where do more than one million people go for the pulse on the philanthropic sector? In 2017, Philanthropy News Digest (PND), a daily news and information service of Foundation Center, provided philanthropy-related news, articles, and features about the social sector to more than one million people. Published on a continuous basis since 1995, PND also is known and valued for its popular RFP (request for proposal) service, its free job board, its widely followed Twitter feed (@pndblog), and PhilanTopic, its popular blog. In 2017, the PND website was updated in line with the center’s other web properties, making it easier to find and navigate the many regularly updated content features on the PND site. “Today, more than ever, people need sources of news and information they trust and can rely on,” said PND publisher and editorial director Mitch Nauffts. “As one of the center’s original ‘knowledge service’ products, PND has tracked, reported on, and helped explain the role of philanthropy in American life for more than twenty years — without the cant that has come to dominate cable news and a significant chunk of the mainstream media. It’s an honor for those of us who work on PND to do so under the Foundation Center banner, and we look forward to many more years of serving the news and information needs of the sector.”

    Read Philanthropy News Digest

  • Publications

    Foundation Center has a rich collection of data combined with a suite of specialized tools that inform understanding of — and action by — the social sector. We use this data to publish original research that is insightful and relevant to funders, the media, researchers, and nonprofits.

    Some 2017 highlights include:

    Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, which gives an updated analysis on U.S. foundation funding trends for African American males.

    Global Charter for Philanthropy, which provides a global vision for how to leverage global data and strengthen civil society.

    Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy, which was especially timely given numerous natural disasters in the fall.

    Assessing Community Foundation Needs and Envisioning the Future, which analyzes results from a survey of large community foundations and summarizes proceedings from a day-long symposium.

    Local Communities with Global Reach: International Giving by U.S. Community Foundations, which is a first-of-its-kind analysis.

    Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact, which offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action.

    Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking, which analyzes $2.7 billion of human rights funding and reveals the priorities of foundations and bilateral and multilateral donors.

    Read Foundation Center Publications

  • Professional Development

    Professional development helps us engage our staff and bring a greater depth of knowledge and value to our work. For us, this knowledge starts from the inside where we have employees teach fellow staff on what they know and have learned. We held in-house technical classes on SQL, Python, PHP, ElasticSearch, and CSS. Jake Garcia, vice president for data and technology strategy, says, “Because these classes combine Foundation Center’s data along with the programming skill being taught, and because each class is taught by other staff, we’re finding that they are a good launchpad for folks who want to learn and apply new skills quickly. With the constant evolution of the tech landscape and the growing of our data volume, products, and services it’s vital that we all stay interested in learning new things that will help us do our jobs better and to inspire us to keep innovating. It’s been really great to see our colleagues helping each other pick up new skills and generating new ideas together through these classes.”

    Also, Foundation Center set a goal of migrating its web properties to Amazon Web Services (AWS) prototype to make our resources faster, more reliable, more secure, and more scalable for the social sector. To accomplish this, we committed to building up the skills of our diverse information technology staff. In March, we had one person on staff certified in AWS; by December, 15 of our staff achieved one, two or three certifications.

  • Regional Dashboards

    Building on the success of the Get On the Map campaign with the United Philanthropy Forum, Foundation Center developed and implemented regional giving dashboards, which provide real-time insights into the composition of foundations in the region, giving priorities of those foundations, and giving to the region by all foundations, regardless of location. These dashboards are now implemented in seven regions including California with The James Irvine Foundation, Illinois with Forefront, Indiana with Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, and New Mexico with New Mexico Association of Grantmakers. These dashboards provide top-line data about the philanthropy landscape to regional foundations, nonprofits, policymakers, and media.

    “Thanks to our partnership with Foundation Center,” says Dawn Melchiorre, chief program & policy officer at Forefront, “we can now provide our members real-time interactive data about the Illinois Philanthropic landscape. The dashboard allows Forefront to increase awareness of the impact our philanthropic community and promote transparency. Our Illinois Foundation Stats Dashboard is valuable tool for Forefront to connect with and provide value to our members.”

    More on our United Philanthropy Forum Partnership

  • Integrating Salesforce

    To stay better connected with our donors and manage customer relations and partnerships, we implemented Salesforce Sales Cloud in 2017 for use across the organization. A cross-departmental team collaborated over seven months to build out the platform, migrate data from legacy systems, and build an integration with our financial system. Leveraging this customer relationship management software has significantly improved our organization-wide understanding of our donors, thereby strengthening engagement and decision-making. “Salesforce allows us to consolidate many of our disparate systems into a robust and user-friendly platform, allowing us to streamline our technical resources and organization-wide business systems with the industry-leading CRM,” says Crystal Mandler, director of business insight. This is a part of a multi-year effort to build a common platform for users to interact with Foundation Center (leveraging Salesforce). Additional implementations will include Salesforce Marketing Cloud in 2018, Salesforce Service Cloud in 2019, and numerous integrations with our products and websites.

    Get a smiley face next to your name in Salesforce:

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  • SDGfunders

    The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are an important, globally-agreed to agenda, and philanthropy is a big part of it. We are staying on top of how philanthropy is in on the action through SDGfunders.org, our knowledge portal which illustrates philanthropy’s contributions towards achieving the SDGs. It has been used by many academic researchers from many renowned schools as a research tool. In 2017, SDGfunders produced 37 original blog pieces and has been cited in wide range of publications and is visited by a broad global audience regularly.

    Explore the Data Read More

  • Special Data Projects

    Our knowledge portals combine data visualization tools, news, and research to illuminate key issues in philanthropy in a comprehensive and cohesive way. These Foundation Landscapes are dynamically designed to make it easy for donors to scan the landscape to reveal opportunities and needs, and to see how their past, current, and future efforts fit into the broader field.

    We launched Visualizing Funding for Libraries in February 2017. This data tool provides free access to grants data on library funding through a custom map and training for librarians and their supporters, including foundations. A new landscape Funding the Ocean launched in April 2017, exploring examples of foundation funding tied to ocean conservation. The fourth edition of our Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy data launched in October 2017 in partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, followed soon after by the 2017 edition of Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys data in partnership with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement in November.

    Explore more:

    Visualizing Funding for Libraries

    Funding the Ocean

    Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy

    BMAfunders.org

  • Stakeholder Engagement

    To better connect with and listen to our audiences, we built stakeholder engagement into our ongoing communication work. We added this lens to all aspects of our project process by directly embedding this function with our knowledge services team. Everything from data collection to our newsletters to pre-project launches now place new attention to who we’re connecting with, why, and how to ensure that every interaction is meaningful and useful to all. Internally, we established key performance indicators for engagement on all projects to learn and grow, and we have extended our communication outreach strategies to better meet our audiences’ needs. As a result, we have increased our user engagement across our core platforms, on key projects, and with our global audiences.

    Read our latest

  • In the News

    We regularly contribute to various news publications to provide perspective on issues affecting the social sector. Our staff author articles related to their expertise, and also contribute to articles published by accredited partners such as Inside Philanthropy, Alliance, TechRepublic, and The NonProfit Times. Samples include: “Opening the Door: Is There Any Good Reason Not to Accept Proposals?” by Tate Williams, Inside Philanthropy; “Finally! A global (data) language!” by Lauren Bradford and Larry McGill, Alliance; “To #SaveOurOcean, We Have to Work Together”, by C. Davis Parchment, IISD; “How nonprofits use big data to change the world” by Dan Patterson, TechRepublic; and “Community Foundations Expand Reach Globally” by Mark Hrywna, The NonProfit Times.

    We also work through our own platforms and projects to elevate thought leadership. Some favorite 2017 posts include: “The Brave New World of Open Source” by David Hollander, PhilanTopic; “Recipe for Success: How to End Malnutrition” by Sophie Durrans, WASHfunders.org; “Getting RACI With Our Partners” by Aimee Hendrigan, GrantCraft; and “Five years of mapping human rights funding: our key findings” on humanrightsfunding.org/blog.

    Read more from experts and thought leaders:

    PhilanTopic GrantCraft

  • Under the Hood

    In 2017, we made a special effort to give our social media audiences a peek under the hood at the people that power Foundation Center — we posted 32 staff spotlights that were engaged with over 800 times by those in our online communities. Each post included a fun fact about the featured staff member.

    Explore More Staff Spotlights