Foundation Center Knowledge Services

Information, analysis, and technology for smarter philanthropy

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How can we make the most of what we're learning?

When donors scan the funding landscape, they want to see how their efforts fit within a broader field. They seek to understand opportunities, needs, and gaps. Read more...A scan can help a funder adjust to a new position, learn a new area, take a fresh look at grants already made, keep current with larger trends, or chart a course for the future. Sometimes a one-off scan is all that's needed.

But in other situations, funders need to continually scan a field to help them stay informed, remain open to new ideas, and be connected with broader networks. For many, it's also a priority to keep the information in use by sharing—and maintaining—it in a systematic way.

Foundation Landscapes combine funding information, data visualization tools, research, news, stories, and social media around critical issues in philanthropy. These Foundation Center web portals, developed in partnership with funders and philanthropy networks, make the results of scanning easily accessible and are structured to be updated over time.

Foundation Landscapes are issue-based web portals for scanning and collaboration created by Foundation Center. Examples of our work on Foundation Landscapes include:

Peace and Security Funding Index

The Peace & Security Funding Index: An Analysis of Global Foundation Grantmaking is a first-of-its-kind research project that showcases the foundations and philanthropists dedicated to building a safer, more peaceful and prosperous global future.

These funders are investing in efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict and to rebuild after conflict. From research on stopping nuclear terrorism to citizen journalism in Egypt, peace and security funders are supporting peace, justice, diplomacy, and dialogue in a variety of ways. In 2013, 288 foundations supported over 1,200 organizations with more than $283 million spread across nearly 2,000 grants.

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Helping Philanthropy Engage in the Global Development Agenda. is the website of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The site enhances opportunity for collaboration across sectors through:

  • Maps and dashboards of key funding data, including progress by SDG, country, and population group.
  • Lists of top funders and recipients working on specific goals.
  • A collection of literature, including case studies and interviews with global experts.
  • An online community that serves as a hub for discussions and knowledge sharing.
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Equal Footing

Mapping, sharing, and expanding philanthropic resources in Central Africa.

For funders and others investing and working in Africa, having access to accurate and up-to-date information about philanthropic activity is critical. To meet this need, Foundation Center, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the King Baudouin Foundation launched Equal Footing, a freely accessible online tool that provides the data and knowledge needed to make informed funding decisions and maximize impact. With an initial focus on Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi, Equal Footing makes it easy to scan the landscape of philanthropic funding. It includes more than 1,000 foundation and NGO profiles, social sector research, maps detailing funding activities, and case studies on grantmakers both in and outside of the U.S. These resources enable users to see what types of development projects are underway, what solutions have had a measurable impact, and what needs are currently underserved.

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Foundation Landscapes: Education

Education is one of the largest funding areas within the philanthropic sector.

In the aggregate, U.S. foundations dedicate over 20 percent of their annual giving to education-related purposes, supporting early learning, charter schools, out-of-school time, college readiness, and more. Foundation Landscapes: Education conveniently showcases reports, news, giving trends, and resources to help funders and practitioners benefit from this scan of the field and stay informed about new developments. Program officers and others can sign up for alerts to update them as new resources become available.

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Advancing Human Rights

Foundations around the world support efforts to ensure that the rights of all people are honored and protected.

With immense challenges and limited resources, philanthropy networks like the International Human Rights Funders Group, Ariadne, and the International Network of Women's Funds want to ensure that dynamic, interactive data and research tools can help human rights funders and advocates increase their effectiveness. Working in tandem with these partners, Foundation Center has produced the first-ever analysis of the state of global human rights grantmaking, annual follow-up analyses to track trends over time, and the Advancing Human Rights website to enable grantmakers, NGO staff, activists, researchers, and academics to deepen their learning about the field of human rights philanthropy.

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Access to safe water is one of the most crucial issues of our time.

Worldwide, nearly 780 million people do not have reliable access to clean water, and a staggering 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation.

With lead funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Foundation Center created as resource for donors and other stakeholders interested in water access, sanitation, and hygiene around the globe. With a mapping application, community tools, recommended readings, and dynamically updated information, news, and knowledge, WASHfunders shares what was learned from baseline research and features timely updates.

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