Tracking the Field: Q and A with Rachel Leon and Franny Canfield - Learn new insights about this database


Health and Environmental Funders' Network interviewed EGA's Knowledge and Program Manager, Franny Canfield, and Executive Director, Rachel Leon, about EGA's Tracking the Field Database.  Learn new insights from their answers about the database, including changes in funding trends and new ways EGA members have been using the data to stengthen their grantmaking. 

Below is a sample of a few questions from the article (you can see the full length article here).  Please contact Franny Canfield (fchiles@ega.org) with any questions or comments about Tracking the Field.  You can also contact Franny about Tracking the Field Reports for specific issue areas. 

Questions and Answers selected from the article 'Tracking the Field' by Health and Environmental Funders' Network:

What is Tracking the Field?

Tracking the Field is an annual report that analyzes environmental giving trends of EGA members and overall environmental philanthropy. The project is based on data collected by our research team. The researchers analyze all of our members’ 990 tax forms, grantees and foundation websites to categorize over 10,000 grants. It also includes in-depth reports on more specific regions and issue areas. In 2012 EGA launched an interactive searchable database available to EGA members as a tool for them to utilize, and to help to enhance our community capacity to interact all year-long.

So what does the latest Tracking the Field tell us are the current trends for overall environmental giving?

The report will show a large increase in grantmaking by EGA members in 2010, after a dramatic drop in funding in 2009 in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This increase in 2010 reflects almost 2,000 more grants and over 155 million dollars in environmental giving.

What lessons has EGA learned about tracking grants in cross-cutting issue areas?

We have found that many grants that we would consider to be “environmental” were not necessarily categorized by our member foundations as being environmental because they were outside of the foundation’s environmental program area. We believe that a sustainable communities grant or environmental health grant that is funded out of a community-based program area is equally important to include in our analysis. Therefore, our research team looks at all of our members’ grants rather than focusing on environmental programs.

How are EGA members using the data?

EGA members have been using Tracking the Field to find new partners, learn about trends, and make program related decisions based on gaps in funding. The Tracking the Field searchable database has allowed members to search issue areas, geographic regions, and possible grantees to connect to other EGA members with similar grantmaking interests. We have also heard from many program officers that they have used Tracking the Field as a valuable lens on the wider field of environmental philanthropy and to identify future trends and priority areas in discussions on their dockets with their boards.

Is EGA planning any upcoming releases on specific interest areas?

In 2011, EGA released a report focused on international grantmaking leading up to Rio +20 in partnership with the Ford Foundation. We are currently talking to a number of foundations about other focused research. We hope to hear from the EGA and HEFN community about what would be the most useful next steps for the health and environment focused community. We are excited by the amount of data we have collected over the years and look forward to digging in where we can add value!

We welcome ideas for collaboration, drawing on our baseline of data to help inform and strengthen environmental philanthropy.

 

See the full article here: http://blog.hefn.org/2012/10/22/tracking-the-field/

Author of the full-length article: Lauren Linville, Health and Environmental Funders Network