Regional COVID Response Dashboard – What’s Next

For more about free orientation and training sessions to learn how to use the dashboard, register here.
We are currently writing a report on the many lessons learned in the development of the dashboard, including implications for continued COVID response, crisis grantmaking and philanthropy overall. To receive a copy of that report when it becomes publicly available, email impact@sp2.upenn.edu.
We are exploring the development of additional dashboards focused on particular cause areas (e.g., mental health), funding communities (e.g., specific donor and philanthropic networks) and other geographic regions. We are also eager to collaborate with others committed to more informed and effective giving. To explore potential collaborative opportunities, contact impact@sp2.upenn.edu.

The Future of This Project

The current version of the dashboard provides a data-informed view of our region’s initial philanthropic response to COVID-19. More importantly, by visualizing that initial response against known need, it provides information that can help funders plan for what’s next. That is critical. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and communities in our region and around the world will continue to grapple with its effects.

By visualizing what’s been done, where need exists, and where gaps remain, the dashboard can also serve as a model for how funders might use data to inform decisions outside of COVID-19 response and recovery. In this section, we outline proposed next steps for our region, for COVID-19, and far beyond.

Update and improve the dashboard

The dashboard we created for the Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey region was a snapshot of need and giving from March 18 to June 29, 2020. Many of the participating shared funds continued to make grants after June 29, 2020, and have indicated interest in sharing this data so that it can also be visualized on the dashboard. While the basic structure of the dashboard is now in place, we see multiple ways it can be enhanced and improved:

  • Update the dashboard with additional data from existing funds.
  • Expand the dashboard to include other donors, such as additional shared funds beyond the original 13, individual donors, and donor-advised fund holders, and/or public funding.
  • Enhance with additional contextual data, including real-time indicators of community need, such as 211 calls, and other external datasets. We could then perform matched analysis of the community needs that grants were intended to address (e.g., an overlay of educational need with grants given to education).
  • Disaggregate contextual data on community needs (e.g., race-specific COVID-19 death rates) to perform matched analysis of demographics of geography served and demographics of those most affected by COVID.
  • Analyze grantmaking against recovery data to understand the impact of the shared funds.
  • Make it more visually engaging and compatible with existing data platforms used in the philanthropic sector.
  • Export the dashboard model to new regions and use cases

To put the many lessons of the dashboard into practice, we hope to expand the dashboard to include other geographies, funding groups, and cause areas. We see opportunities to develop dashboards focused on:

  • Particular cause areas (e.g., mental health)
  • Funding communities (e.g., other regional philanthropy networks, peer-giving groups)
  • Particular beneficiary populations (e.g., women and girls)

This is one of the first efforts we are aware of to collect and standardize geospatial grant awards information across multiple philanthropic funders. Beyond initial COVID-19 relief, the future of this tool can help funders:

  • Improve targeting of place-based grants by understanding the social, economic, and health-related context.
  • Enable more coordinated planning by analyzing grants made by multiple funders committed to a particular community or cause area.
  • Promote place-based evaluation by comparing outcomes for those who received funding to those who did not.

The mechanics of the dashboard and methodology have now been built, reflecting a significant investment in thinking and labor from our team and partners. Now that this investment has been made, we hope to expand and improve upon the dashboard through new and existing partnerships. As with all of our work, we welcome collaboration and hope that this dashboard and the many lessons learned can advance greater social impact

 

For more about how to help, visit our guidance, COVID 19 Pandemic: How Can I Help?
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