The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and the Rockefeller Foundation have announced “Data Science for Social Impact.” This transformational model for collaborative philanthropy will accelerate the use of data science by empowering non-profit, civic and government organisations with the tools, expertise and knowledge they need to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
The collaborative was announced at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, with an initial commitment of $50 million from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Impact Fund over five years and an invitation to other companies and philanthropies to join.
More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day. This abundance of data, combined with rapidly advancing analytics capabilities, has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people around the world. While businesses have been building and deploying data science capabilities for many years, those on the front lines of social good often lack the resources to do the same. However, governments and non-profits are actively looking for new ways to advance their efforts through applied data to allow, for example, improved access to public transport for underserved communities or the acceleration of d*****e diagnoses.
Building on The Rockefeller Foundation’s leadership in social impact and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth’s innovative approaches to data philanthropy, the collaborative will identify key priorities and investment opportunities to accelerate data for good, whether that be research, skills or new technology platforms. By growing the data science capabilities of social and civic organizations the collaborative can help local leaders uncover new insights and trends from their data and build more impactful programs for the communities they serve.
“At Mastercard, we believe the digital economy needs to work for everyone. If we can close the gap by providing the civic and social sectors with the tools, talent and investments they need to apply data science effectively, then we have a s**t at solving some of the greatest challenges of our time,” said Michael Froman, vice chairman and president, strategic growth at Mastercard. “We see a world where the infinite promise of technological innovation can deliver on our goal of inclusive growth.”
“Like the introduction of science to medicine 100 years ago transformed the delivery of health worldwide, we are poised to take the next big leap bringing data science to social impact,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “We’re excited to invite partners from the public and private sectors to join Data Science for Social Impact and help us inspire a new generation of social sector leaders to use data for good.”
The collaborative’s first activity will be a $20 million investment in DataKind, a global nonprofit that harnesses the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity that has completed over 250 projects by deploying their network of about 30,000 expert data science volunteers across five worldwide chapters since its founding in 2011. The investment will allow DataKind to transition from a project to a platform-based model, thereby, supporting more organizations on a set of common issues, including community health and inclusive growth.