A cascading thought on What If… very quickly rushed up on us:
If we’re building a plug-in that not only gives grantmakers a searchable database of grants on the web in a format that’s readable by big data initiatives…
…why not make it free, open source code?
Community cooperation, a driving concept of open source, is also signature of our shop. Our grantmaking seeks to leverage public-private partnerships and collaborations for results that no single actor can accomplish.
However, we’re well aware of the tendency in our field to develop solutions to common challenges in isolation and with proprietary tools. In grantmaker technology it’s quite pronounced, with solutions developed grantmaker by grantmaker, leading to a proliferation of data types, taxonomies and infrastructures. Bradford K. Smith’s post to the Philantopic Blog takes this on directly, a “data dilemma” by his reckoning with some bold recommendations for philanthropy.
So, Yes, Do, Let’s.
We are approaching this challenge with the intent to share our techniques and tools with our peers, embrace open source philosophies, and do our part to expand funder participation in transparency and open data initiatives. We agree with the Foundation Center that we’re seeding richer data sets that can drive effective collaboration, strategic decision making, and a more engaged philanthropy sector.
With our partner Mission Minded we’ll publish Open hGrant source code to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees.
Let’s see what we make of it.