Recap: Analyzing our Food Funding Landscape

A presentation

On December 7th, CFF partnered with Foundation Center to host a briefing titled Analyzing Our Food Funding Landscape. The meeting was attended both in-person and via webinar by over 20 funders.  Unfortunately the recording feature of the webinar malfunctioned so we do not have a video to share.  If you are interested in learning more about the details of the meeting, please contact CFF or reach out to Jen Bokoff at Foundation Center.

The bulk of the meeting centered around Foundation Maps, a data visualization platform that lets you see who is funding what and where around the world.  Foundation Center staff showcased the software and demonstrated how one could answer a few hypothetical inquiries using the platform.  The data in Foundation Maps dates back to 2006 and is collected from 990 forms and then indexed by staff to match Foundation Center’s own taxonomy. There is now a campaign to have foundations e-report directly to Foundation Center which will speed up the availability of data. Foundations that submit to Foundation Center using their e-reporting standard (there are currently 1200 and counting) will receive a free interactive map showing all of their grantees (see an example on the Mott Foundation website).

Given the focus area of CFF and the increasing popularity of food funding, we looked primarily at categories and searches related to food, but of course the platform can be used to perform an inquiry on any topic. We then also heard about other resources such as GrantCraft, IssueLab, and Foundation Funding for US Democracy.

Foundation Maps is a paid subscription service, but like all of Foundation Center’s resources, it is accessible for free at any of the 450 locations in their Funding Information Network.  There is also a free 24-hour trial period for Foundation Maps.

Following the meeting, Foundation Center staff created the following suggestions for exploring the different resources mentioned at the briefing. 

1) Foundation Maps
  • Watch the intro video to recap some of our demos, or take a deeper dive with our monthly webinar series.  There is also a how-to guide that can be downloaded online.
  • Sign up for the free 24 hour trial
  • Narrow the map to New York (or your location of interest), and see if you can create a constellation of New York-based funders who fund in an issue area you care about
  • Using the organization search in “More Filters” find your foundation’s most recent grants in the database
    • If they’re not very recent, or very accurate, let us know! We can connect you with our eReporting team
    • If they are, thank you and kudos!
  • Look up one of your grantees. Who are the other funders? How are those funders structuring their grants? Are there ways you might connect with those funders to strengthen your collective giving impact?
  • Click on the pathways icon to see if you can discover any new organizations doing work that might interest you that you didn’t already know about.
  • Pricing info
2) Philanthropy Classification System
  • Click around to learn how we code data
  • Try using the “search” feature or exploring with the Visual Navigator to find codes related to your work
  • Download the printable list here
3) GrantCraft
  • Explore recent content by type, strategy, or issue
  • Use the keyword search to see what we have on anything specific you might be looking for
  • Browse the “Foundation Center Features” content type, where I try to curate cool tools from around Foundation Center that you might not have heard about
  • Set up your user name (free!) and subscribe to the newsletter. You’ll also have access to your own personal content dashboard!
  • Think: What story might you want to share with peers in the field?
4) IssueLab
  • Browse new library editions
  • Browse the special collections linked to from the homepage
  • Search by the “agriculture and food” category using Advanced Search. How many resources come up?
  • Think: Are there any reports I might want to add to this sharing platform?
  • Subscribe (free): to be alerted when new reports are added in areas you’re interested in
5) Foundation Funding for US Democracy
  • This and other custom projects that are available to the public are listed online, so check out some others like Equal Footing
  • Explore the custom taxonomy and where funding is going. Do you see any gaps?
  • Using the keyword search in More Filters, search for “food” and dive into some of the grants details
  • Think: if you were to customize a Foundation Maps project for food-specific issues, what would feel exciting and useful?
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