The Association of Charitable Foundations research found that grant makers are increasingly looking at how technology can improve giving.
Charitable foundations are increasingly exploring how technology can help good causes, according to a report into grant giving trends. The Association of Charitable Foundations ’Foundation Giving Trends 2019’ report looked at the top 300 foundation grant makers to assess the key trends that are affecting how they support good causes. This found that foundations are “having to adapt to technological change, both in their own organisations and with regard to those they fund". The report says they are increasingly focusing on how best to fund technology innovations, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence. It suggests that foundations are becoming more interested in trials that look at the role of technology in areas such as data issues. “In their role as funders, foundations are becoming increasingly exercised about issues such as how best to fund rapid-scale tech innovation, the implications of artificial intelligence and how automation is shaping the future of work,” states the report. “It also brings questions of what role these technologies might play in developing or underwriting pilot studies in areas like universal basic income or in the broader field of data ethics.”
The report also notes how technology has an increasing role in ensuring foundations’ work is transparent and open. “The continued progress of open data movements has challenged foundations to be more transparent about how and who they fund. “Many organisations have responded, citing the dual benefit of driving efficiencies in grant-making and enhancing public trust.” Among foundations to highlight the need to use technology in its grant giving is the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Earlier this month it said digital technologies, such as an online forum for networking and online application processes, can better attract younger applicants. Total grants made by the top 300 foundations were worth £2.9bn in 2017/18.