Mastercard, Rockefeller Launch Data Platform for Social Impact

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The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth have announced the launch of a data science partnerships platform and a $10 million challenge aimed at building the field of data science for social impact.

Announced at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the platform, Data.org, is part of a five-year, $50 million data science initiative launched by Mastercard and the Rockefeller Foundation at last year's WEF meeting. When fully operational, the platform will provide NGOs and nonprofit organizations with training resources, data sets, and open-source tools they can use to harness the power of data insights and analytics. In conjunction with the announcement, the platform announced a $10 million challenge aimed at crowdsourcing scalable and sustainable data science solutions for the social sector. Details of the challenge will be available in March.

The new platform builds on the work of the original DATA.org, which was launched in 2001 in support of data-driven, evidence-based approaches to poverty alleviation and other development challenges and ultimately became the ONE Campaign. Partners in the new effort include DataKind, Benefits Data Trust, Community Solutions, and the Tableau Foundation.

"Our commitment to building the field of data science is rooted in the belief that data-driven insights can deliver transformational change that improves the lives of vulnerable people and helps solve the world’s most pressing challenges," said Mastercard vice chair Michael Froman. "We must make sure that even as people have unprecedented access to technology, we don’t allow a new digital divide to emerge."

"While the private sector has been gathering data and using data science analytics such as artificial intelligence for many years, most nonprofit, civic, and public sector institutions still lack the resources to do so," said Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah. "Just as these tools have given businesses competitive edges, enabling them to find nuanced ways to improve productivity and market impact, data science can increase the speed, depth, and accuracy of analyzing a social challenge, pointing to solutions, partnerships, and innovative investments that can provide impact."

(Photo credit: Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth)

"Mastercard and Rockefeller Announce Data.org: A Platform for Data Science Partnerships." Mastercard and Rockefeller Foundation Press Release 01/23/2020.