Let There Be Light: A Top Foundation Puts Three Decades of Grants Online

One of the most frustrating things about the world of foundations is how few of these outfits make it easy to understand where they're putting their money. To be sure, more top foundations have created online grants databases in recent years, but a shocking number of large funders leave you to rifle through their 990s a year or two later. Sorry, but that's not okay, as IP's David Callahan argued in a recent New York Times op-ed

So we're excited by the news out of Los Angeles, where the Getty Foundation, one of America's largest foundations, recently launched a new searchable online grant database, which allows unprecedented access to information about Getty grants awarded since the foundation opened its doors in 1984.

Kudos to the folks at Getty!

Admittedly, this isn't big news to most people, but it's big news to us, and to anyone hoping to hit up this giant for support. If you're a nonprofit looking for a Getty grant, it's a must-browse resource.

The database offers a number of ways to search for grant information, including a sliding timeline so that users can search for grants within a specific date range, a keyword search, and a sorting tool that searches by year, initiative, grantee, region and country. Take the search-by-initiative option, for example. This type of search provides information about the foundation’s current initiatives, including Keeping It Modern, Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative, Digital Art History, and Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, among others.

Grant details include the name of the grantee, the name of the initiative, amount awarded, date of the award, location of the project, and a link to the initiative and project description on the foundation’s website. The database also offers a running total number of grants, grantees, funds awarded, and reports of grants awarded by year. Phew!

Getty says the database is part of a larger effort by foundations across the U.S. to increase transparency and accessibility of their data. That's true, and let's hope it continues. 

So what are you waiting for? Check out the database here.

Related: Still in the Dark: Why Philanthropy Remains a Black Box