Transform the Foundation Center from a data publisher to a knowledge services organization for the philanthropic community.
The Foundation Center’s mission is “to strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge and philanthropy in the U.S. and around the world.”
Established in 1956, in the wake of McCarthy-era hearings on philanthropy, the Foundation Center brought transparency to the work of foundations by publishing large subscription-based directories on U.S. grant-makers and their grantees.
For many decades, the Foundation Center was effectively the only curator and source for this valuable data. In 2011, however, the U.S. government indicated that it was planning to make this data (in its raw form) free and open to the public. While the Foundation Center supported this movement of free information-sharing, it also meant that it’s primarily offering could be rendered obsolete. As a result, the organization found itself at risk of losing 70 percent of its non-grant revenue. This potential risk, however, also provided the Foundation Center with a great opportunity to put more emphasis on developing its other more progressive forms of knowledge services, such as research/analytics, data visualization, education, and training. So, it began charting a long-term transformation, including the drafting of a comprehensive strategic plan.