Tag: data

“Our Region, Our Giving 2016” looks at WRAG member philanthropy in the region

By Rebekah Seder
Senior Program Manager

In the latest edition of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Our Region, Our Giving report, we take a look at WRAG member giving in the Greater Washington region in 2015. Over the course of this past summer, we collected data on our members’ giving through surveys, from WRAG’s Foundation Map, and through several of our members’ websites.

This snapshot of our membership’s philanthropy represents nearly $186 million in giving to nonprofit organizations that serve the region, and over $3.3 billion in assets.

Findings of particular note in this year’s report include:

  • Education and the arts & humanities were the most highly supported issue areas in 2015, totaling well over $54 million in philanthropic investment.
  • Nearly three-quarters of the WRAG membership provided general operating support to their grantees.
  • Sixty-three percent of members directed their giving across all three “states” that comprise our region.
  • Over two-thirds of members reported providing some type of non-cash support to their grantees.

This year’s report also takes a special look at WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series. With over half of WRAG’s member organizations participating in the learning series over the course of the first half of 2016, WRAG believes that advancing racial equity will become a major philanthropic priority in our region in the future.

Click here to read the full report.

Reported HIV cases decrease for seventh year in a row

According to a new report released by the D.C. Department of Health, the number of reported annual new HIV cases is down for the seventh consecutive year. (DCist, 2/2)

The report shows preliminary data for 2014, which includes 396 new HIV cases – a 29 percent decrease from the 553 cases reported in 2013. The highest number of HIV cases was reported in 2007 with 1,333 cases. Since then, numbers are down by 70 percent.

Executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership, Channing Wickham, had this to say of the news:

I’m very pleased to see the hard work of the nonprofit community, the D.C. Department of Health, and the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) reflected in the latest data for new HIV cases.  At the same time, it’s imperative to remember the thousands of District residents who are living with HIV and the need to continue and expand HIV prevention efforts.

REGION/ECONOMY | A new study by the Brookings Institution ranks the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area against 99 other metro regions in the U.S. in terms of recovery from the Great Recession. The study rates the D.C. area’s performance as: 71st in “growth;” 91st in “prosperity;” 72nd in “inclusion;” and 77th in “inclusion by race.” (DCist, 2/2)

HOUSING/DISTRICT | Some 7,300 households rely on public housing in the District. With a number of public housing properties slated for overdue rehabilitation or replacement, DC Fiscal Policy Institute shares some of the risks this could cause for families who may be displaced, and offers recommendations for their protection. (DCFPI, 1/27)

WORKFORCE/SOCIAL PROFITS | Hiring Keeps Rising at Nonprofits in N.Y and D.C., Study Says (Chronicle, 2/2)  Subscription required

– The District and the D.C. Public Library have announced a new program, Books from Birth, that will send enrolled children a book every month until the age of five. The program is a partnership between the city and the Dollywood Foundation. (WCP, 2/2)

How Rich Parents Can Exacerbate School Inequality (Atlantic, 1/28)

ARTS/RACIAL EQUITY | Opinion: A writer shares his experiences witnessing slotting, tokenism, and dehumanization in the nonprofit theater sector. (NPQ, 1/29)

POVERTY | OpinionWhat Data Can Do To Fight Poverty (NYT, 1/29)

The Washingtonian presents a guide to successfully living in Washington, D.C.

– Ciara

Why I’m asking WRAG members to Get on the Map

By Tamara Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

In the eight years that I have been at WRAG, there has been one resounding refrain from our members: we need to know who is funding what, we need the information to be easily accessible, and we need it to be up-to-date. And, for the last eight years, we’ve told you that we didn’t have the tools to provide that data. Instead, we made phone calls, hosted meetings, sent emails, convened brown bag lunches, and compiled survey results. All valuable methods of connecting you to information, but not the most efficient or comprehensive ways of giving you what you really wanted: data.

Now, we have a real solution: Foundation Maps, an interactive, searchable mapping platform from the Foundation Center that will visualize members’ grantmaking in the Greater Washington region. Participating in this effort by sharing your current grantmaking data is easy and painless (you can learn more about the process here).

WRAG’s most basic function is to connect funders so that they can do their work more efficiently and effectively. WRAG’s new Foundation Map will be fundamental to this mission and will allow us to better serve our members.

More importantly, WRAG’s Foundation Map will help inform your work – as foundation CEOs, CSR professionals, program officers, or grants managers. With a few clicks, you will be able to scan the local philanthropic landscape for detailed information about who else in the WRAG community is funding your grantees or prospective grantees. You will be able to find out who else is funding in a similar issue area or targeting a particular population, and what other nonprofits are working in the same space. You will be able to identify funding gaps, trends, and new opportunities for collaboration or funding alignment. The Foundation Map will serve as the information backbone to this community.

“Data” is a buzzword of the day and many increasingly question, rightly, whether data-driven decision-making leads us to undervalue experience, relationships, and qualitative knowledge. WRAG’s Foundation Map won’t replace the convening, information sharing, or networking aspects of WRAG. But, it will help us take these activities to the next level by collecting the available data and making it easily and quickly accessible to the funding community. It won’t do this, however, without a majority of members taking steps to share data.

This is the tool that we have been waiting for. Now, let’s make it as powerful as it can be. Can we count on you to Get on the Map?

WRAG Members: Click here to learn more about the Foundation Maps platform and how to contribute your data. Questions? Contact Rebekah Seder.

Helping funders and nonprofits tell better stories with data

By Rebekah Seder, Program Manager
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

We all know that collecting and analyzing data is critical to communicating the impact of the work that we do. However, sometimes the charts, graphs, and tables that are used to present data end up looking like this – messy, confusing, and almost impossible to interpret. When funders and nonprofits are under pressure to show the results of their work, telling an effective story with data is a crucial – if often overlooked – skill.

Yesterday, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers hosted Cole Nussbaumer, a People Analytics manager at Google, for a session in our Brightest Minds series titled “Storytelling With Data: Visualizing Philanthropy.” Cole’s motto is helping “rid the world of ineffective graphs, one exploding, 3D pie chart at a time,” and her work focuses on communicating quantitative data. For a group of funders and nonprofits yesterday, she explained the basic principles of data visualization and led participants through a workshop on improving some of their own graphs.

Here are a few key take-aways from Cole:

1. Use the right kind of graph for your data: Bar graphs work better for categorical data, and line graphs work better for showing changes in data over time. Pie charts, however, don’t work well for anything.

2. Get rid of the clutter: Only include the information that is needed to get your point across. Meaningless colors and unnecessary labels and data points can make displays difficult to read and interpret.

3. Draw the reader’s attention where you want it: By making judicious use of color and size variations, you can make your audience see the information you want them to see before they even realize they are seeing it.

4. Tell a story with your data: Use text to provide background information and to explicitly state what you want the reader to take away from your data.

5. Practice: Creating good data visualizations is hard, so get feedback from your colleagues and be prepared to spend time to get them right.

Check out Cole’s blog at www.storytellingwithdata.com to learn more about communicating effectively with data, and to see some helpful before-and-after data visualization makeovers.

This was the second installment of Brightest Minds, a colloquium series in celebration of WRAG’s 20th anniversary. The next event, on October 4, will feature economist Susan Raymond.