By Janet Camarena, Director, Transparency Initiatives, Foundation Center
Did you know…
- The Bay Area is home to 2,617 foundations that collectively give more than $4 billion annually?
- In the last 10 years, giving by Bay Area foundations has more than doubled and assets have increased by 73%?
- Education, Environment & Animal Welfare, and Health are the top funding priorities favored by Bay Area foundations?
The longer I work at Foundation Center, the more I realize how difficult it is for those of us in the social sector to understand the ecosystems in which we work. Grantmakers and nonprofits evolve their areas of focus, public reporting of current activities takes longer than it should, and keeping up with the latest information takes time. As a result, all of us, from those with innovative solutions but little experience with fundraising, to those with years of experience who are convinced we are always working with the usual suspects, all at some point realize we could use some current, authoritative data to inform strategies and decisions.
Not surprisingly, the most frequent questions we get from grantseekers and grantmakers alike relate to getting a lay of the overall philanthropic landscape and responding to queries about who are the top funders in a particular field or region, or where a particular foundation ranks in the big scheme of things.
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.
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, 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, and one which they will want to bookmark to come back to as the data changes. The highlighted facts shared at the top of the blog are just an example of the data you can uncover by taking some time with this new tool.