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January 31, 2013



On the giving-side, some of the biggest US foundations are making very cool strides in finding new ways to use their data - like the Hewlett Foundation's "heat map" (hewlett.org/grants-tool/index) and glasspockets.org. The fundraising-side will have to see an incentive to participate, especially given the 'low-overhead' mantra and knee-jerk concerns to protect donor relationships.

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Beth, your excellent report mentioned the potential cost of making 990 data freely open and available. Perhaps the best way of tackling the cost question is to intersect this issue with the current effort to change private non-operating foundations' excise tax fee and structure. Foundations want to remove the 2-tiered rate (there are pros and cons to this), but the single rate that should be negotiated should cover the cost of making the 990 available. This cost should cover the expense of making this data open and transparent.

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