Using the power of data science to unlock solutions to society’s most pressing problems
Advanced application of data and data science is common today in the private sector, but the high cost of implementation, a dearth of data science professionals, and the need for organizational transformation has caused the social sector to lag in adoption — with profound implications for the societal problems the sector seeks to solve.
Founded in 2020, data.org is a platform for partnerships to build the field of data science for social impact globally. To build the field, data.org is committed to developing use cases that show great and replicable exemplars, to increasing capacity of data science professionals, and to transforming the commons by providing resources and matchmaking on a robust digital platform. Recognizing the vital role of cross-sector collaboration in achieving success, data.org brings together social impact organizations, academia, private sector technology firms, philanthropies, and other interested stakeholders to drive transformative use of data science to the social sector.
- $10 million
In January 2021, data.org announced eight awardees of the $10M Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge. Funded by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the global Challenge was created to kickstart breakthrough data science ideas and advance existing innovative social impact projects to lift up all segments of society.
We believe public goods are integral to strengthening the data science ecosystem, ensuring needed resources for the next generation of data scientists. We invest in targeted experiments, with high demonstration value. We build the capacity and leaders of critical organizations. And we aim to teach and promote sophisticated data science consumers and practitioners.
Data.org has identified three approaches to reach its mission:
Investing in use cases with high demonstration value
data.org works to support specific initiatives that leverage data science to improve the lives of people. data.org will invest in targeted experiments to advance the frontier of data science use in the social sector, ensuring best practices to donor communities and NGO’s are widely available, and that they catalyze investment.
Example investments include: Benefits Data Trust using data science to improve people’s access to public benefits; and Community Solutions using data driven approaches to reduce homelessness.
Building capacity among leaders and organizations
data.org will support a pipeline of initiatives and organizations seeking social outcomes that need the talent of dedicated data scientists to advance their work. data.org elevates social sector organizations’ capacity to utilize data science through trainings and talent-matching to reach their goals more quickly and at scale.
Example investments include: supporting DataKind to scale into the premier platform for meeting the data science needs of the social sector. In addition, data.org is working with university leadership across the globe to identify a common core curricula to define data science for social impact.
Public goods to strengthen the ecosystem
data.org believes that the field of data science has the potential and the responsibility to be aligned with tackling the most pressing challenges of our day. This will require public goods to help organizations learn; investment in new datasets and tools to unlock innovation in areas of high potential impact; and both campaigns and convenings to mobilize and change the behavior of funders, nonprofits, and technology companies to make the use of data science effective and pervasive in the social sector.
Example projects include the Universal Labelling Project to invest in training data for machine learning applications for high-social value; a public advocacy campaign to encourage technologists to work on pressing social issues; and convenings of funders and technology companies to develop a generalized scoping approach to create a pipeline of projects to support.
We are focused on building capacity, providing training resources and sharing publicly available data to realize the potential for data-driven insights to solve some of society’s biggest challenges.
joint, initial commitment over 5 years
to DataKind to connect a global cohort of data scientists
to Benefits Data Trust to connect the American people to public benefits and services
With data.org, we are building on a rich history of data and technology for social good led by the groundbreaking work of the ONE Campaign.
The original DATA.org launched in 2001 when a group of innovative social entrepreneurs, together with anti-poverty advocates and philanthropist and rockstar Bono committed to alleviating debt, AIDS, and trade inequalities in Africa. In what ultimately became the ONE Campaign, they galvanized support for poverty alleviation by focusing on data-driven, evidence-based approaches to development.
Inspired by their achievements, we partnered with the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth to jointly commit $50 million to relaunch data.org as a platform for partnerships to build the field of data science for social impact.