Data Practice

“Data science and AI-based tools, deployed with purpose and social conscience, could improve nearly every part of the human experience. Enabling civil society to access technologies will unlock transformational approaches to many of the world’s greatest challenges.”


The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation’s Data Practice connects nonprofit organizations around the world with expert technical guidance and practical hands-on experience using advanced data approaches and tools that can unlock new pathways to impact. The team’s data scientists, engineers, and program leads work together to surface, support, and share learnings from data use cases and challenges that can inform the data practices of civil society organizations focused on a variety of social and environmental issues. 
Data Practice grant partnerships are high-touch engagements between nonprofit staff with varying levels of data expertise and experienced PJMF data practitioners with industry-leading skill sets. Our technical leads are not implementing partners; they guide and build solutions with nonprofits, teaching them how to advance cultures of data and technology use in impactful, responsible, inclusive ways.

Because we are both tech- and region-agnostic in our approach, we create an open space for nonprofits to explore the data solutions best suited to their work, communities, and contexts – rather than limiting choices to the data solutions that are most accessible to them in the near-term. Accordingly, Data Practice programs are designed to meet the needs of nonprofits at different stages of their respective data journeys, and are accompanied by commensurate levels of grant funding: 

Launch: For nonprofits at the start of their data journeys. These organizations wish to introduce their teams to foundational data tools, approaches, and possibilities that are relevant to nonprofits and are not tied to a specific technology. 

Boost: For nonprofits at early stages of their data journeys. These organizations may have a data hunch, but meet difficulty carving out dedicated time and resources to build the skills required to develop a new data strategy or approach.  

Accelerate: For nonprofits working with complex data sets, ecosystems, and analytical approaches. We enable organizations to augment their data analytics, management, and governance capabilities in an environment where they can test new data strategies or approaches before deciding to invest in and scale them.  

Transform: For nonprofits keen to scale promising or proven data strategies or approaches for sector-wide impact, and who require deep engagement with partners and consistent access to resources over a longer period of time. These organizations receive customized support with direct access to technology, data science and engineering expertise, and long-term technical assistance, allowing them to establish infrastructure and develop technical capabilities to scale and sustain their work.

Influence and Amplify: The Data Practice’s Influence and Amplify portfolio is not tied to individual organizations, but instead supports the development of platforms, channels, and processes that help nonprofits gain greater visibility into the iterative processes and best practices of their peers, reduce duplicative efforts, hasten progress on meeting shared impact goals, and deepen nonprofit cultures of data use.