October 21, 2011

The Million-Dollar List: New Tool for Data-Hungry Donors

By: The Bridgespan Group

By Susan Wolf Ditkoff

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University has just published a great new online resource. The Million Dollar List shows publicly announced grants over $1 million since 2000 by U.S.-based donors. It is searchable by donor, recipient, specific subsectors, location, and amount given.

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, philanthropists can anchor their philanthropy in many ways. Do you care about specific places? Problems? People? Pathways to getting results? Perhaps you have a philanthropic philosophy (like market-based or community-based solutions) that will tie your giving together. Regardless of your anchor, one critical aspect is learning from how others about how they’re giving so you can get a sense of the landscape you’d be operating in. The Million Dollar List is one tool that can help you do just that.
  You can see which causes your peers are funding, what gaps in funding exist, and which of your causes are already receiving large gifts. Beyond the data, you can read compelling stories of donors and peruse a growing list of other resources. Such information can even help you find collaboration partners—donors with causes similar to your own—so that you don’t have to fly solo.

How might you use this list? Let’s say you care about the environment. You can click on “Subsector” and then click on “Environment.” You can then click on donors who are large contributors and read more about each one's investments. Similarly, you can break this down by your favorite geography or recipient.

A useful resource indeed. We look forward to watching the library grow over time!

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