The most transparent grantmaker


Lucy Bernholz


Twitter made my day when I received this:


Check out David’s blog post for what he’s up to – here’s a short list of what he’s aiming to post.

‘I commit to publishing a blog post within 15 days of the signing of a grant agreement that I have facilitated between Omidyar Network and a partner organization.

The blog post will contain the following information:

  • Amount of grant
  • Date that grant agreement was signed
  • Name and link to receiving institution and other organizations involved in the project
  • Name and link to co-funders
  • Summary of grant
  • Contextual analysis of related issues
  • Metrics to gauge the impact of the grant
  • Date and manner that the relevant project will be evaluated’

He goes on to note that he’ll be using the IATI schema and will get to the XML version of this information soon.

I jumped at this news and hope to speak with David next week to learn more. In the meantime, we have a responsibility to help David’s efforts succeed. Let’s use his effort to push further on our own transparency initiatives. It’s a great opportunity for Glasspockets to chime in, for other grantmakers to think about their information sharing and for the rest of us to use the information that does get provided. It’s great that one grantmaker has committed to put this information out there – but transparency improves practice only when the information is used. We need others to follow David. Perhaps you’d like to surpass him, you’re not going to let him get away with this ‘throw down challenge’ as most transparent, are you?!

We need activists and grantees to respond, request, use the info; we need sites that can mash grantmaker data with public information, political giving, results data, other financial flows, etc. We do need to focus, as Phil Buchanan of CEP notes, on ‘the transparency that matters’. As important as what we share is why we share it and what we do with it. In other words, transparency is part of a series of behavior, actor and organizational changes (it’s part of institutional conversations) not just ‘another thing to do’.

We need to see the sharing of the info as the first step in a conversation that aims toward better results.

Thanks, David, for your efforts. Everyone else, how will you use the information and join the conversation – what will you do to be more transparent?

Lucy Bernholz is the author of the blog philanthropy2173, where this article first appeared.

Tagged in: David Sasaki Grantmaking Omidyar Network Transparency

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