Strategic Philanthropy Demands Data-Driven Decision Making

August 22, 2012

If you are a philanthropist or responsible for funding decisions, you have no doubt faced difficult choices in these tough economic times.

Rates of poverty and unemployment are soaring while health outcomes and educational attainment are slipping. Faced with shrinking funding portfolios and skyrocketing community needs, the use of data can help drive decision-making.

Over the last few years Advancement Project‘s Healthy City program has partnered with a variety of funders to transform their strategic giving by incorporating data and research. Now it’s time to share what we have learned! Our new report, Good Data = Good Decision Making: For Philanthropy, highlights case studies and explores best practices we’ve developed to support philanthropic efforts in California.

Several grantmakers in Southern California are leading the way in using mapping and data to successfully assess their initiatives and target their giving. Healthy City’s unique blend of mapping (GIS) technologies, distinct research methods, and data holdings have helped our philanthropic partners to:

  • Visualize the impact of funding decisions in local communities
  • Target funding based on need, a set of risk factors, or community strengths
  • Identify assets and resources in a region
  • Understand community boundaries and demographics

We hope that data, mapping, and other research tools continue to inform funding decisions so that every dollar is strategically spent.

This report was made possible through the generous support of First 5 Los Angeles.

To learn more, download a PDF of Good Data = Good Decision Making: For Philanthropy today OR
Register for the free WEBINAR Focus on Philanthropy: How to use Data to Drive Decision Making on October 23rd at 10 am, which will guide you through the report and also show you how to access maps and data on

Thanks for reading,

John Kim is co-director of Advancement Project, and Director of Healthy City.  Healthy City is a free, easy-to-use community data and mapping website for all of California. We encourage you to visit to look up services, get data about communities of interest and create maps to inform your funding. For information about upcoming trainings and webinars, check out our Training and Event Calendar.  

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