Assessing and Dashboarding $815 in Grants

Praxata recently partnered with EarlyWorks LLC, a women-led and Detroit-based strategy and insights consulting firm, to untangle seven years of grantmaking and more than 3,000 grants and regrants for a large private foundation. The foundation provides grants across two U.S. regions to support four key areas: active lifestyles, preparing for success, caregivers, and entrepreneurship and economic development.

The team first developed a research plan and process for answering key questions about the foundation’s reach and commitment to equity. It then processed and compiled data provided by the foundation and its 17+ partners on grants awarded to hundreds of primary external organizations, valued in excess of $815 million. Although not unique to the sector, many nonprofits use very different methods and systems for awarding and tracking their grants and regrants. These ranged from basic spreadsheets to third-party Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. As such, a significant portion of this process was dedicated to merging the various data sets, relying on a combination of Python, to automate the cleaning and calculation processes, and Google Sheets, to enable those with limited technical experience to work on the data set.

To empower the foundation’s trustees and offer them the knowledge that this data offers, Praxata created a Tableau-based dashboard to visualize and monitor the provisioning of these grants, incorporating demographic and socioeconomic information to evaluate how equitably these grants were awarded. In the end, this process distilled 3,000 grants spanning 16 states and 49 counties, into a three-tab dashboard with an easy to navigate interface. Redacted samples of the dashboard are featured below.