SOURCE: Foundation Center

Foundation Center

November 04, 2013 09:45 ET

Foundation Center Launches Open Data Tool

"Foundation Stats" Lets Users Generate Free Custom Data on the Fly

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 04, 2013) - The Foundation Center, the leading source of information about philanthropy, has launched Foundation Stats, an online tool that provides free and open access to a wealth of data on the U.S. foundation community. The intuitive web-based platform can be used by anyone to generate thousands of custom tables and charts on the size, scope, and giving priorities of the nearly 82,000 independent, corporate, community, and grantmaking operating foundations in the U.S. It includes an Application Programming Interface (API) so that web developers can freely extract the data for their own use.

"Foundation Stats allows grantmakers, nonprofit professionals, researchers, and journalists to get exactly the foundation data they need," said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center. "It represents a huge leap forward in opening up data on philanthropy and paves the way for the development of innovative applications of the type that only open data makes possible."

Examples of needs that can be met with Foundation Stats include:

  • A philanthropy association in Ohio could generate data-driven charts on its web site that dynamically reflect giving trends of the top 50 foundations in its state.
  • A strategist working on a public-private partnership for school funding in Michigan could instantly produce a PDF of top education funders.
  • A researcher could compare arts giving by California foundations to those in New York and produce visual displays for her report.

The "Foundations" section of Foundation Stats allows users to quickly explore basic financial data of foundations based on organization type, location, and fiscal year. The "Grants" section -- which is based on giving by the top 1,000 U.S. foundations -- allows data to be filtered by subject area or population group served and by the geographic location of recipients. Links to "top 50" lists are on every screen, and menus allow easy comparisons of giving across different states or subject areas. Users can generate their own tables, charts, and graphs to show trends over time, and all custom results can be downloaded for use in spreadsheets.

The Foundation Stats API provides free, open access to multiple years of aggregate-level statistics so that developers can pull them into their own applications under a Creative Commons License. "This is the first time that aggregate statistics on foundation funding have been made available as an online data feed," said Lawrence T. McGill, the Foundation Center's vice president for research. "By making it easy for others to use this information, the API extends the potential of the data to inform public and social sector decision making."

The Foundation Center has long been the authority for data and research on the activities of grantmaking institutions, meeting the need for information on trends in the field, informing decision making at social sector organizations, and championing greater transparency in philanthropy. Recently, it published the new annual Key Facts on U.S. Foundations report, which documents the overall size of the U.S. foundation community and provides perspective on the giving priorities of the nation's largest foundations. Together with Foundation Stats, these new resources provide users with free and flexible access to the annual statistics that the field has come to rely on from the Foundation Center.

Funding for Foundation Stats was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund.

Foundation Stats can be accessed at data.foundationcenter.org.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

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