Geo-Location System for Environmental Grants

GeoFinder - Grantee Map Functions
The grantee portal allows grant recipients to upload a shapefile, or to select a state, county, country, or city from a list.
Client:   William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

In order to track the geographic areas benefiting from their grants, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation asked GreenInfo Network to develop GeoFinder, a robust application that enables grantees to define the impact areas of their proposed grants, and helps them measure grant results. GeoFinder was retired in 2015.

The development of GeoFinder required careful "wireframe" design of very complex forms and user interactions, both external (grantees) and internal (Hewlett staff).  The core of the GeoFinder application is a custom web program developed by GreenInfo that guides grantees through a process of mapping their locations, service areas and grant impact areas.  It also supports foundation staff by providing extensive data management tools and a web mapping portal for reviewing grantee data and related environmental information.

Grantees begin by submitting impact areas as part of the application process, using GeoFinder's tools for choosing standard geographies (states, counties, etc.), creating custom areas using online drawing tools, or uploading their own GIS data.  Foundation staff review this data as part of clearing applications for submission of full application.  GeoFinder tracks the steps in this process and provides a dashboard for foundation staff to send email status reports and communications to likely grantees.  GeoFinder links closely with the foundation's overall grants database.

Once grants are approved, their details are loaded into GeoFinder by an automated synchronization process from the Hewlett Foundations grants database.  Grantees log in to GeoFinder find their grants ready for reporting. Grantees are asked to upload a shapefile indicating the intended area of the improvements ("grant areas"), and to upload shapefiles indicating areas of actual improvement ("metric areas").

The resulting map of Hewlett-funded improvements, gives a visual indicator of where money is being spent and on what sorts of projects. When overlaid with other map layers, a visualization is had of how well the grant regions match up with areas previously indicated for concern or improvement. This enables more focused decision-making on the part of Hewlett staff.

The grantee portal is multi-lingual, with website content stored in both English and Spanish.  The appropriate language and wording is generated when the user selects a language.

GeoFinder's extensive administration portal allows for easy management of grantees, as well as overviews of grants and grantees, and reports of pending grantee activity such as upcoming due dates.

Results: GeoFinder had its first full-scale usage in 2013, when all grantees were required to use it. The grantee portal and administration dashboard have saved significant time and effort in the management of grantees, and the resulting map literally answers the question "where did the grant money go?"

Focus:   Conservation, Environment, Philanthropy  

Services:  Interactive Solutions, GIS Services, Analysis, Data, Maps, Applications Development, Web Mapping, Website Design 

Tags:   OpenLayers, conservation funding, foundation, grantees, grants  

Project Years: 2011-2015

GreenInfo Network creates, analyzes, visualizes and communicates information in the public interest. We specialize in mapping and related technology for nonprofits and public agencies, focusing on using it for conservation, social equity, public health, environment and foundation grant making.
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