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February 7, 2016
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Recap: Inaugural Grant Innovation Roundtable

On January 12th, over 40 stakeholders from all across the Federal grant sphere joined the Data Foundation and the Aspen Institute at the Gates Foundation to discuss the state of data in grant reporting. For the first time, representatives from multiple federal grantor agencies and departments joined nonprofit researchers, members of the public sector, and technologists to share experiences, challenges, and opportunities to harness data for the public good.

The Current State of Nonprofit Data

There is no gentle way to say this – right now, nonprofit reporting data is by and large a mess. Vast swathes of forms and reporting are still document based, and those that are digital are disparate and disconnected from one another, even within single agencies. Current processes and IT systems fail to address duplicative reporting burdens because they are structurally incapable of doing so. On top of burdening the grantees and subgrantees with redundant, time-consuming reporting, this leaves program managers and leadership with their own administrative crosses to bear – with no functional ways to input and cross-reference grantee and program information outside prohibitively expensive manual data entry or text crawlers which then have to be verified, program improvements are too long coming and cannot address emerging or changing needs.

On top of this, the sheer volume of requested data is arguably doing both grantors and grantees a disservice – every additional metric and measure requires additional administration on the part of both parties. Agencies are frequently asking for information with no clear idea of how it might be used, operating under the assumption that more data is always better, but in many cases the near-continuous increase in collection points can serve to obscure instead of illuminate. Differences in vocabulary – not only between grantors and grantees, but between and even sometimes within agencies – can lead to incorrect reporting and subsequently to contrary answers and analytics that should line up but do not. This in turn leads to challenges in policy development, funding requests, and program justifications despite a wealth of information delivered in good faith by grantees.

The Grant Innovation Roundtable, thanks to generous support from Workiva and StreamLink Software, took a first step toward solving the mess.

Continue reading the blog post here

Spotlight: Enigma's Prescription for Healthcare Data Project

Enigma builds data discovery and analytics tools that make it simple for organizations to liberate their own private data, and for the wider community to explore and build upon Enigma’s own integrated public data platform. 

Their most recent project is the Prescription for Healthcare Data Site, a series of initiatives where Enigma links distinct datasets from across its public data repository to explore and inform a particular question or challenge.
This site enables visitors to select from a list of over 80 well-known and high-spend drugs and see a visualization of major milestones for a drug presented across a timeline. For a given major drug, the hundreds (and often thousands) of data points will be color-coded and organized in a way that is both impressive in its detail and simple to break down visually. Enigma's objective is to provide an easily-accessible experience for users. 
Initiatives like Enigma's Prescription for Healthcare Data Project would not have been possible without public data sets from government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, and the National Institutes of Health. If all government agencies published their data sets in standardized, open and accessible formats greater insights could be made available to the public and between agencies.

Learn more about Enigma's Prescription for Healthcare Data Project here.

Coming soon:

  • In late February: our first Standard Business Reporting research paper, co-published with PwC

  • In March: our first XBRL research paper.

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New: Grant Innovation Fellowship 

Meet the Data Foundation's new Grant Innovation Fellow, Jenata Spencer. 

The Data Foundation has established the fellowship to support focused engagement around open data in grant reporting. The program would not exist without the generous support of StreamLink Software and Workiva.

To learn more about the Grant Innovation Fellowship, please contact Jenata at jenata.spencer@datafoundation.org.

Rep wants Congress to 'track changes'

Cloud.gov is now FedRAMP Authorized for use by federal agencies

IT management and tech-driven transparency remain at forefront for House Oversight

Supporters


Booz Allen Hamilton 
data.world
Eric Hopkins
Ez-XBRL
Grant Thornton
Graphiq 
Kearney & Company
MorganFranklin Consulting
PwC
RDG Filings
RR Donnelley 
StreamLink Software
Socrata
Workiva
 

About the Data Foundation
Through research, education, and programming, the Data Foundation supports the publication of government information as standardized, open data.


 
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