May 14, 2015 / by John

Place-based Grantmaking in the Shenandoah Valley

Identified as a priority region by many foundations working to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the Shenandoah Valley has been an excellent model for strategic “place based” grantmaking. By collaborating with the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN), our team built a data visualization that helps members of the funding collaborative view their grants in the context of one another. We consolidated data for nine years of funding, across seven foundations who have worked to build and strengthen environmental capacity in the Valley. Based on the data our team pulled together from 2006 to 2014, over 14 million dollars were spent on environmental restoration efforts ranging from capacity building to on the ground restoration. The seven foundations displayed in the visualization, funded 276 projects and bolstered the efforts of 51 grantees.

Our chord diagram places raw grant data into context by helping users view the explicit relationships between funders, grantees, and dollars spent on a given project. Foundations are placed on the outside edges of the chart and connected to the smaller circles or grantees via strands. The individual strands represent a specific grant made to a grantee from a CBFN member. Strand width correlates to the size of the grant given and circle diameter is scaled according to the total grant dollars received by a grantee. Mousing over a foundation on the outside of the chord diagram, reveals all related grants and grantees. Similarly mousing over a grantee shows that organization’s major donors by grant amount.

This simple visualization will be the first of many we produce to help CBFN members tell data-driven stories that highlight their collaborative efforts. If you’d like to learn how to make a similar data visualization please tweet @JohnDawes4 or fork our repo.

View Data Viz

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