Foundation Center Expands Electronic Grants Initiative
Effort Boosts Foundation Transparency
The Foundation Center
New York, NY -- November 17, 2008. The Foundation Center, the nation's leading authority on organized philanthropy, today announced the expansion of its electronic grant reporting initiative, which enables grantmakers to submit their most recent grants lists in a standard electronic format. This effort ensures that the most current grant information is available to the thousands of people who use the Center's database of U.S. funders and their grants. The Center's goal is to double the number of electronic grant reporters by 2010.
The program has already attracted the participation of more than 175 foundations throughout the nation who regularly send their recent grants to the Center electronically. In addition, leading grants management software providers have signed on to partner with the Center, making it a simple matter for their clients to supply grants information. For the most recent year, over 49,000 grants of $10,000 or more were reported electronically, totaling more than $10 billion.
Electronic reporters range from large independent foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation to more modest-sized family foundations like the Helen Bader Foundation to community foundations like the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Community Foundation.
"In the tough times ahead, current grant information will be vital for understanding how philanthropy is meeting the challenges we face," said Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center. "As more and more foundations join in this effort to be more transparent, the Foundation Center is ensuring that people have access to quality information that goes beyond old Form 990 tax data to shed light on how foundations spend their valuable resources today."
All electronic reporters are offered complimentary links to dynamic maps and charts in Foundation Directory Online Professional that convey the scope of a funder's grantmaking activity. Participating foundations can link to the maps and charts at their web sites and share them in a variety of other ways. The maps display grants of individual foundations for multiple years, by state, county, city, zip code, and also by grant subject and recipient type. The recent addition of grants mapped by congressional district, available only from the Foundation Center, can help grantmakers and policymakers better understand the distribution of funding to nonprofit organizations located in these areas. The maps and charts make giving trends more transparent than ever, making the need for current grant data even more critical.
"Grantmakers are particularly interested in being able to drill down to see their grants by county, zip code, and congressional district," said Rick Schoff, senior vice president for information resources and publishing, "and the grants management software companies are delighted that their clients can take advantage of our mapping and charting service. This is obviously a win-win for everyone: grantmakers, grantseekers, and all those with an interest in the field of philanthropy."
About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 57,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of close to 400 Cooperating Collections throughout the U.S. and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.