What is the Data4Change Accelerator?

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the Cloudera Foundation websiteIn April 2021, the Cloudera Foundation merged with the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

July 30, 2020

Cloudera Foundation embarks on new program to help nonprofit organizations explore, analyze datasets

Many nonprofit organizations have unique datasets that – alone or in combination with other data – may offer deeper insights into the needs of beneficiary groups or faster tracking of programmatic interventions. Program staff working on data-centric programs may have a new hypothesis about the information contained in their organization’s datasets that – if validated – could dramatically improve decisions and activities.

Yet through our conversations with 300+ nonprofits over the past three years, the Cloudera Foundation has learned the in-house infrastructure, tools, and technical expertise required to yield these insights are often out of reach due to prohibitive costs and overburdened nonprofit staff.

In response, we are offering the Data4Change Accelerator to equip nonprofit organizations with the tools and expertise needed to test whether they can generate added value from their data.  

The D4C Accelerator is a fixed-term, nonprofit data exploration and analysis platform managed by Cloudera Foundation’s data engineers and operated on the Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Public Cloud. The D4C Accelerator functions as an analytics “sandbox” that can handle large, complex datasets.

At the Cloudera Foundation, our mission is to enable nonprofits across the world to use data and data analytics to improve people’s lives and the planet. However, as a technology foundation, we acknowledge that technology is only one component needed to generate value from data. We see our core contribution to nonprofits and funders as providing technical support and expertise in advanced analytics and data technology.

Nonprofits selected to participate in the D4C Accelerator will team up with dedicated Cloudera Foundation data engineers and technologists to:

  1. Translate problem definitions into data questions 
  2. Prepare the data for ingesting, and
  3. Use a cloud-based platform to determine whether the datasets explored contain the information needed to answer those previously defined questions

Beyond our in-kind contributions of infrastructure and expertise, we may also provide supplementary support to cover expenses associated with running the nonprofit’s data exploration of up to $75,000 (at least $25,000 of this grant amount would be allocated to cloud-related costs). 

Actionable outcomes

Each engagement will run for up to 6 months, with success defined as delivering a conclusive response to the nonprofit’s data hypothesis and determining actionable next steps for the nonprofit’s program – whether that entails outlining a means to address newly identified data gaps and quality issues, sharing promising insights with potential partners, or targeting larger grantmaking organizations to advance the nonprofit’s data project.