javiersotoData-driven Philanthropy for Community Foundations

By: Javier Alberto Soto In: 2013 Fall Conference| Philanthropy

23 Sep 2013

One of the most pressing topics for community foundations is the reinvention of their position as catalysts for change.  Foundations are increasingly taking on new, proactive roles within their communities, capitalizing on their ability to lead and advocate.  They are independent and unencumbered by political affiliation or private interests.  They are uniquely positioned to take the long view on communities’ growth and progress.  As community foundations delve into these new roles, it is important that we take stock of where we are and use data and community input as the base on which to drive forward innovation within our organizations.

The “A Tale of Two Cities” session at the 2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations will examine our foundations’ approaches to data-driven philanthropy. The Toronto Community Foundation’s Vital Signs Report provides an annual snapshot of the city’s quality of life and identifies opportunities to provide long-term solutions.  Using Vital Signs as a model, The Miami Foundation launched Our Miami: Soul of the City to provide greater focus for the Foundation’s work and build a Miami that attracts and retains young, talented people.  Conducting in-depth research has guided programming at both of our foundations, making us more thoughtful about how and why we tackle particular issues.  It connects the head to the heart in the community work we do.

Community foundations become strategic knowledge centers for philanthropy when they use research and data to uncover a community’s needs.  We invite you to come learn about an international collaboration that developed data-driven philanthropy models in Canada and the U.S.  The conversation will cover our parallel journeys building community awareness, doing diagnostic analysis, launching innovative communications campaigns and, ultimately, creating new programmatic frameworks.

Guiding the discussion will be input on your community’s biggest challenges and how you think data-driven philanthropy can address them.  Share them on Twitter and Facebook using the #philanthrodata hashtag. We’ll review your posts before the session and show how quantitative methods help develop impactful solutions.

2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations
A Tale of Two Cities: How Miami and Toronto Use Data to Drive the Art of Giving
Tuesday, September 24
4 – 5:15 p.m.
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego – Manchester C, Second Level

Connect with fellow attendees before the session and share ideas: #philanthrodata and #COF13

Javier Alberto Soto is president and CEO of The Miami Foundation and Rahul K. Bhardwaj is president & CEO of Toronto Community Foundation

Comment Form

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact webteam@cof.org.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Sarita Venkat
Ira Strumwasser, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Ramirez
Janelle Harris
Valerie Batts
Candace Winkler
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker
Daniel Mansoor
Diana Campoamor
Brenda Chumley
Terry Kaelber
Jennifer Ford Reedy
Andrea Jett
Kevin Murphy
Susan Barry
Tracy Viselli
Teri Behrens
Janet Brown
David Maurrasse
Kaberi Banerjee-Murthy
Lana Williams
Lisa Ranghelli
Jessica del Rosario
Sean Stannard-Stockton
Raul Perea-Henze
Terri Freeman
Paulette V. Maehara
Nick Deychakiwsky
Terence Mulligan
Jeff Hoffman
Curtis Ogden
Phil Hall
Alicia Philipp
Elizabeth Sullivan
Michelle Byrd
Carmen Fields
Julia Boyer and Danny Murphy
Amanda St. Pierre
Victoria Dunning
Rockhelle Johnson
Niki Jagpal
Kim Embretson and Tom McSparron
Matt Charles
Jerry Hagstrom
Will Heaton
Rob Buchanan
Omar Passons
Deborah Ellwood
Mary Vallier-Kaplan