Democratizing Data on Charitable Activity

This project is mapping the entire network of U.S. foundations and grantees from 2011 to 2021 to better understand how philanthropy both redistributes resources and exacerbates inequality.

Philanthropy is a cornerstone of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector. However, little is known about the complete funding network of foundations and grantees, its structural characteristics, and how it has changed over time. To help fill this gap, we are extracting 10 years of IRS Form 990 data from every nonprofit organization that files with the IRS (~1 million organizations per year). Then, we are using natural language processing to match the foundation data with the grantee data to construct the first-ever longitudinal foundation-grantee network of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector from 2011 to 2021. This project is enabling researchers, foundation leaders, and nonprofit professionals to:

     1) better understand the scope and scale of charitable activity in the U.S.,

     2) track the sources and distribution of funding, and

     3) reveal how philanthropy both redistributes resources and exacerbates inequality.

“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary….”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Project Leadership
Brad R. Fulton
Funding Sources
  • Aspen Institute
  • Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)
  • Indiana University
Related Awards

Best Example of Using Data for Good

Work with Brad R. Fulton

Work with
Brad R. Fulton

To learn more details about this project or to work with Brad R. Fulton, please contact him below.

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