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 will have three main areas of focus:
- Capacity & Leadership: Identify and bring together talent and resources capable of producing organizational change.
- Tools & Data: Invest in tools and data to fill gaps in intelligence and give the social sector actionable insights to address constraints.
- Policy & Governance: Develop research to help data and domain experts define problems and recommend policy and regulation that lets data science for social impact flourish and mature in the marketplace.
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.