More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day. This abundance of data, combined with rapidly advancing analytics capabilities, could improve the lives of billions of people around the world – yet it’s only living up to a fraction of that potential. While private-sector businesses have been building and deploying data science capabilities for many years, most organizations in the non-profit, civic, and public sectors are far behind. They have a strong appetite to use applied data to make their work go farther, faster, and ultimately help more people – but they lack the resources to do so.
We know the power data science can have for social good because we’ve seen it in action. When mission-driven organizations have the right talent, tools, and knowledge, data science can generate real human impact: helping vulnerable families access public benefits; saving water and money during droughts; and saving time in resettling refugees – so they can find homes and jobs faster.
The Data Science for Social Impact Collaborative
The Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth have announced Data Science for Social Impact, a new model for collaborative philanthropy that will build and accelerate the use of data science to solve important social challenges. With a joint, $50-million commitment over five years, the collaborative will identify and invest in a pipeline of diverse opportunities—from catalyzing the availability of data, tools, talent, and resources from the public and private sectors, to amplifying the ability of governments and social and civic organizations to generate economic opportunity for those they serve. By leveraging The Rockefeller Foundation’s leadership in social impact and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth’s innovative approaches to building new pathways for financial inclusion among governments, businesses, and communities, the collaborative will empower a new generation of social sector leaders to solve challenges with scalable solutions.
The collaborative’s investments are focused on three strategic focus areas:
- Capacity & Leadership: Connecting talent to needs and creating data science solutions for
common issue areas, such as community health work and inclusive growth, as well as
highlighting thought leadership and supporting organizational change.
- Tools & Data: Investing in tools and analytics to give the social and civic sector
actionable insights to enhance their effectiveness.
- Policy & Governance: Developing research to help data science and domain experts define
problems that data can help solve, and identifying solutions to the challenges of data
governance and the responsible use of data.
Data Science for Social Impact is a transformational model for collaborative philanthropy to ensure that data science generates not just wealth for a few, but well-being for all.