Our Commitments/

INNOVATION

We seek solutions to the world’s great inequities at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation.
Overview

Accelerating Impact Through Breakthrough Solutions

Our Innovation portfolio seeks to amplify and complement work across all the Foundation’s other initiatives by finding new ways to utilize data, to strengthen partnerships and to extract more leverage from existing networks. Across all these diverse pursuits the aim is magnify the combined impact of the Foundation and its many partners.

 
  • $50million

    in joint, initial commitments over 5 years for data science for social impact through data.org

  • $20million

    to DataKind to connect a global cohort of data scientists

  • $7.5million

    to Benefits Data Trust to connect the American people to benefits & services

 
Our Approach

Our approach to magnify our impact and position our institution for the future is based on four capabilities: building Data Science products, leveraging partnerships through data.org, identifying New Frontiers, and facilitating Convenings & Networks.

Harnessing the Digital Transformation

At one level, data science-driven approaches are fundamentally changing how organizations work. More broadly, issues like data ownership and privacy, the integration of artificial intelligence into economies, and changing social contracts between the government and citizens all affect our portfolio of work. We see a need to be engaged in this digital transformation to harness its potential to advance our vision of equitably-distributed gains and reduced risks.

 

Leveraging Networks

Increasingly, global change is accomplished by dispersed but organized actors as by traditional institutions. Convenings help bring diverse people together to harness the power of networks to shape agendas and mobilize resources. We see a need to grow our convening power and expand our network of partners to help realize goals whose ambition exceeds the resources we directly control.

 

Ensuring Future Relevance

There is constant growth in the philanthropic sector and the resources that are being devoted to social impact. Our voice is most influential when we lead early efforts to frame a problem, thus guiding the eventual solution. Having foresight into what’s next before others helps The Rockefeller Foundation influence agendas and help shape opportunities for future investment ahead of the curve.

Milestone Tracking

Our Work and Impact

We evaluate the success of our direct contributions to The Rockefeller Foundation’s diverse program goals by monitoring the uptake of our ideas through follow-on investments by others and the enhancement of our reputation and relevance in new topic areas. Some examples include:

 
 
Accelerating our efforts to End Energy Poverty

In support of our Power initiative, our Data Science team worked to develop e-GUIDE. The Data Science team helped identify, vet, and design the e-GUIDE project to ensure its outcomes advance the initiative goals. This included appraising the technical engineering team and providing feedback on their research findings, designing the open API grant deliverable, and building the data visualizations to communicate e-GUIDE’s work to an external audience.

 

Advancing Equity and Economic Opportunity

The Data Science and New Frontiers teams collaborated to maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) without requiring changes to policy through our support to Code for America.

  • We must position ourselves not only for the challenges of today, but to also address problems that we can’t yet see over the horizon.
    Strive Masiwiya
    Former Rockefeller Foundation Trustee

Recent Updates

Jul 14 2020
Blog Post
Announcing the Lacuna Fund: Closing Data Gaps to Enable Equitable Machine Learning
More
Jul 27 2020
Field Note
On the Frontline in Fragile Countries: Using Data to Prioritize Covid-19 Resources and Save Lives
More
Jun 12 2020
Blog Post
A Big Day for Inclusive Finance — and for Digital Public Goods
More
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