April 25, 2016

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Knowledge Services from the Foundation Center: Foundation Landscapes

Foundation Center offers great tools for both funders and those seeking funding. They are incredibly useful and can be game changers in terms of information research and sharing.

Amongst their resources are the Foundation Landscapes. As per their description,

Foundation Landscapes combine funding information, data visualization tools, research, news, stories and social media around critical issues in philanthropy.

These web portals offer donors an easy and accessible way to scan the funding landscape and see how their efforts can fit into a broader field. The Foundation Landscapes cover a range of topics throughout the world, and can be as broad as funding for projects contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals worldwide, to funding for the arts in southeast Michigan. By having subject-specific funding information accessible, funders can find opportunities, needs and gaps, as well as potential areas of investment. They also offer a space  to stay informed, connect to other networks and share information.

Information is presented in traditional and non-traditional ways, from pie-charts for the more traditional to interactive data visualisation tools for those looking for  alternative presentations.

In their Foundation Landscapes page, Foundation Center offers a comprehensive list of their projects. Here are some that stood out for us:

  • The Advancing Human Rights web portal has detailed information on all funding channeled towards human rights. It breaks the topic into thirteen areas that fall into the human rights umbrella, including access to justice/equality before the law, freedom from violence, health and well-being rights, migration and displacement, etc. You can see the amount of funding allocated to each of the thirteen areas of interest, and then see its breakdown by funder, regional focus and population focus.
  • The Community Foundation Atlas provides a directory of names, locations and establishment for the 1,843 community foundations that have been identified to date. You can use the map to see these organisations throughout the world, how many are where, and link directly to their websites. For those looking for a more “human” approach, the Community Foundation Atlas also shares  stories of how community foundations have connected people to resources to effect positive change.
  • Equal Footing focuses on Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. It maps who is funding what and where across all issues in the three countries. Through its breakdown of allocation of funds in the three countries, it advocates for the investment in interventions through women to bring economic development. It offers a map to explore the funding landscape, with the option to see the detailed breakdown by funding foundation, recipients, and grants. It even gives you a compilation of related research, including reports from various organisations working in the countries. The site also provides a list of foundations (with their background information and contact details!), along with the number of grants  and their total value in U.S. dollars.
  • The “goals” page of SDGfunders gives insight into foundation funding and its breakdown for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It gives the user the option to explore funding by goal or by region or country. If you select the first option, you get the percentage of the total MDGs funding going towards that goal (i.e. goal 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger gets 23% of the total MDGs funding). Furthermore, you can see the breakdown of that funding by foundations, recipients and countries, along with comparative graphs to the other MDGs and a breakdown by population. Building on those, the SDG tools are being piloted in a few countries.
  • SustainArts Southeast Michigan offers very straightforward funding information in an specific area. It has a detailed list of organisations working in the arts in southeast Michigan, along with an interactive map which allows the user to explore funding by year, discipline, budget size, location, and grant sizes. It also includes a page for “key learnings,” where they show information of their experience in the area through graphs and a full report.
  • WASHFunders.org also includes a map to navigate funding implementations in the WASH sector by region or country. Through the map, you can read about strategies, outcomes, lessons learned, and tools for measuring impact. You also have the option to share your story to have it pinned on the map. A very interesting option offered on this site is the “Outcomes Toolkit: Outcomes and Impacts,” where you can read about cutting-edge tools measuring outcomes. It includes a “best for” recommendation at the end of each project description, to guide funders as they scan the site.

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