Grantmakers, Get on the Map!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Get on the Map – And Get Even More Savvy about Your Grantmaking!

Imagine being able to see who is funding what and where—anywhere in our region, anytime, and with just a few clicks…

Access to accurate, up-to-date grantmaking data is critical to understanding the funding landscape and ensuring that your giving is as effective as it can be. And that’s what the "Get On The Map" campaign is all about!

Get on the Map” is a partnership between Forefront and Foundation Center, and its mission is:

To improve the quality, timeliness, and availability of rich grant data—for and about funders in our region.

And it all starts with you—sharing your current grants data.

If I share my data, what’s in it for me?

By sharing your data, you’ll be making a powerful contribution to several important initiatives that Forefront has undertaken with Foundation Center to tell the story of philanthropy in Illinois. Your data powers:

  1. Illinois Foundation Stats, our regional dashboard, which aims to give you the most up-to-date picture of funding in Illinois.
  2. The annual Giving in Illinois report, which provides an authoritative overview of giving in our region.
  3. Foundation Maps: Forefront (login required), a highly interactive, searchable mapping platform from Foundation Center that lets you visualize data at the grants level. This is accessible to all Forefront grantmaking members.
  4. Your own map (see sample); a window into your own grantmaking visualized through the Foundation Maps platform. This map can be used as a communication tool and/or incorporated into your website.


But, it’s all about participation. Only when our community of funders commits to sharing data will we be able to get timely, accurate answers to questions like…

  1. Who else is funding a particular issue in our region?
  2. Which organizations are tackling that issue, and how?
  3. Are we reaching everyone in our community, or are certain groups being left behind?
  4. Who may be natural collaborators?
  5. Where are there gaps in funding?
  6. How much money is collectively going to specific issues or areas in our region?


Just think…What could “anytime-access” to information like this mean for your work?


How do I submit grants data?

Foundation Center Updater makes it easy for you to keep us up-to-date on the work of your organization.  Use Foundation Center's Updater to upload your grants data for the Illinois dashboard, Giving in Illinois, and Foundation maps, all at once! 

How does Updater work?

To use Updater, just follow these easy steps:

1. Register for an account.

Once logged-in you can:

2. Update Your Profile:

Basic Information – name, contact details, etc…
Work Categories – areas supported, geographic focus, target groups etc…
Fiscal Data – financial information
People – trustees and key staff
Application Information – application deadlines & funding requirements
Programs – detailed information on program areas

You control what information you wish to include in your profile.

3. Upload Your Grants data

Generate a grants report following Foundation Center’s eReporting template. Your grants management software may already include this template. Check Foundation Center’s list of software partners to see if eReporting is built into your system.

Only a few grant details are required to submit your report:

Recipient Name

Receipient Location (city, state and country)

Grant description*

Amount (with currency if not in USD)

Fiscal year

If feasible, we also recommend including some additional grant details:

Transaction ID (if available)

Recipient EIN or equivalent international identifier

Geographic area served

Program area

Grant subject

Populations served

Support strategy

Grant duration (or grant start/end dates)

If you have any questions about how to submit grants data, please email


*Why is it important to provide a grant description?

Providing a detailed grant description is one of the best ways to ensure that your data is coded with the correct subject, population, geographic area served and support strategy codes (for an example of how your grant will appear on your map, please see below). In general, a good grant description includes information on:

  • WHAT: What is the primary objective of the grant?
  • HOW: How will the objectives of the grant be achieved?
  • WHO: Which group or groups are meant to benefit from the grant?
  • WHERE: What geographic location(s) is the grant meant to serve?


Access to accurate, up-to-date grantmaking data is critical to understanding the funding landscape and ensuring that your giving is as effective as it can be. Please help the entire social impact sector by sharing your Foundation's grants data!

If you have any questions about how to Get on the Map, please contact Dawn Melchiorre at or 312-327-8930.