A number of PFS client foundations have given permission for staff to send information to the Foundation Center, and that is great! Why? Because the Foundation Center then organizes the data in graphics, and lets everyone see where grants are made, what they are for, and how big they are. The public can see where philanthropic dollars are going, and foundations can use the information to make more strategic grants by finding out what program areas and regions are receiving the most dollars—or the least amount of dollars.
As Janet Camarena, Director of Transparency Initiatives at the Foundation Center, wrote in a blog post:
“Thanks to support from The James Irvine Foundation, researching these kinds of key statistics for California institutional philanthropy just got a lot easier with the launch of Foundation Center’s new California Foundation Stats dashboard, which is a free, online tool that allows anyone to access hundreds of charts and tables on the size, scope, and giving priorities of California foundations, as well as giving to California-based recipients by those outside California, lists of top funders by region and issue area, and also includes access to nearly 900 research reports about California-based initiatives, sortable by regional focus. Data about trends in funding specific support strategies and population groups is also included.
California Foundation Stats provides statewide data, as well as regional data tables for nine different regions: Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, North Coast, Orange County, Sierra Range, and South Coast and Border.
An exciting aspect of these data tables is that as Foundation Center receives updated grants information from grantmakers as part of the “Get on the Map” campaign effort or as a result of newly available 990 forms, the dashboard will be a living data set that changes to reflect up-to-date information about giving priorities and giving to the state or regions. Everyone from grantmakers, grantseekers, to academics, advocates and journalists will find the dashboard to be a useful tool to support their work.”