Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Using Maps for Planning Grant Making

 I've posted several articles showing my goal of having maps used strategically in deciding where grants are distributed with a goal of coaching a better flow of operating and innovation dollars to normally neglected areas.  When I've seen a promising practice I point to it with an article and a link. Sadly, that's not too often.

However, here is something that I saw today that looks promising.  The description provided on the web site says: "The maps on this site are part of the COVID Response Dashboard, developed by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy in collaboration with Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. They include grant award data from participating funds serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey."

This platform focuses on the greater Philadelphia area and on grants focused on Covid19 relief and seeks to show where funding is being distributed and where more is needed. That's a planning tool that is needed for other categories, such as youth serving organizations. 

Below is the dashboard, described as a "Strategic Planning Tool" that was created to support this project.  I'm working on an older PC so this kept crashing on me as I tried to use it, so I hope others have better luck. However, the interactivity shows excellent potential.

This platform was created by Urban Spatial, a firm located in Philadelphia and led by Ken Steif, who I met on Twitter. Browse the website to learn more about what Ken feels is the potential for using platforms like this.

My goal for 25 years has been to host a platform like this, with several layers of information. We created a version of this in 2008 when a team from India built the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator (which is now only available as an archive). 

Across the top you can see tabs opening different resources and at the left you can see tabs that represent different layers of information.  You can zoom into this and create maps focused on specific areas of Chicago, as shown by the map below.

This shows levels of poverty, locations of poorly performing schools (from 2007 or 2008), locations of non-school tutor and/or mentoring programs, and locations of assets who could help programs within a geographic area do more to help kids.  Assets would be banks, churches, colleges, hospitals, insurance companies, etc.  

I posted a blog article a few weeks ago showing layers of information needed on a platform like this. 

The platform showing Covid19 funding in Philadelphia shows additional types of information that could be layers on such a map, and a dashboard that might help people use it better.

Building a platform like this would provide a tool any one in business, philanthropy or government could use to mobilize and distribute resources into high poverty areas, supporting the growth of a range of birth-to-work programs, which I've described in these articles

The Chicago Program Locator is now out-dated and I've not been able to update it since 2013. However it still works and demonstrates what's possible.

I don't have the talent, or funds, to build and/or manage such a platform. but I've built a platform that models what's needed and a strategy that collects information and and shares it regularly so more people use the platform to support youth program growth throughout Chicago. Thus, I'd be an ideal partner/consultant to someone who has the vision, commitment and resources to build an updated version.

I'm on social media at these places. Let's connect. 

9/14/2020 update - Philadelphia looks to be using maps in creative ways. Visit this Rebuild Philadelphia page and view the data maps.