Grantmaker Story

How Siegel Family Endowment Leverages Demographic Data

For many grantmakers, 2023 was a year to build more diverse and equitable portfolios. It’s a heavy lift even for foundations that already have a robust grants management system in place. 

But for Siegel Family Endowment, it was an undertaking that coincided with the implementation of its first-ever GMS and the integration of Demographics via Candid. For Kyla Stewart, the Endowment’s Senior Knowledge and Impact Associate, it required setting up new processes while also identifying new ways to leverage the demographic data it was collecting.

Demographics via Candid is a campaign that empowers nonprofits to share demographic data on their Candid profile only once, where it can be accessed by all. As Brian Schultz, Director of Partnerships at Candid, stated, “We wanted to create a more efficient process [through Demographics via Candid]. What we deemed as the primary problems to solve were the lack of data to inform our work on equity and the heavy burden on nonprofits to report this demographic data.”

As 2023 drew to a close, GivingData’s Chief Innovation Officer, Roberto Cremonini, sat down with Kyla and Brian. The conversation centered on GivingData’s recent integration of Demographics via Candid and the steps funders like Siegel Family Endowment are taking to leverage demographic data in their grantmaking. 

Siegel Family Endowment’s Mission Alignment

Siegel Family Endowment has a broad mission to understand and shape the impact of technology on society, focusing on learning, workforce, and infrastructure. Their approach to effective philanthropy involves connecting with peers externally and improving processes internally. The organization emphasizes equity and strives for representative portfolios and perspectives. 

Kyla emphasized her focus on process development and equitable data collection. She explained that aspects of Siegel’s grantmaking include co-designing metrics alongside grantees, offering multiple options for reporting (both oral and written), and leaning on publicly available data when possible to reduce the burden on grantees. In her role, Kyla works to streamline and improve these processes and find ways for the Endowment to make further refinements based on their learnings.

A Streamlined Approach

Siegel Family Endowment implemented GivingData in 2023 – its first-ever grants management system. That, alongside revamping its data collection protocol and processes, has helped the foundation advance its goals. 

It's part of our ethos that we have room to grow. There's always places where we can improve,” Kyla said. “We're feeling hopeful for what this brings for us and our grantees and just for the field as a whole. It's been a really exciting time.”

Recognizing the need for accountability, the Endowment decided to begin collecting demographic information to ensure an equitable and representative portfolio. Kyla describes the organization's approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives as “curiosity over quotas,” emphasizing the commitment to avoiding specific quotas or segregated programs. The process involved careful consideration of not only what data to collect, but the phrasing of those questions, the inclusivity of categories, and factoring in the potential burden on grantees. 

“We wanted this information not to eliminate people from our portfolio, but to gain valuable insight into our work, who we're supporting, and how we can better diversify our sourcing pipelines and our portfolios. We wanted to know how to best support our grantees in developing diverse workplaces, but also diverse boards.”

Candid + GivingData

In 2023, GivingData launched its integration with Demographics via Candid to provide grantmakers with access to their nonprofit partner’s demographic information in real-time. 

“What put the puzzle together for us was the GivingData integration of Demographics via Candid,” Kyla says. “This launched only a little bit ago, so it's new to us but it already has been such an asset in easing our process.” 

Siegel Family Endowment chose to partner with  GivingData to increase the ease of its processes, both for staff and grantees. With information living in different platforms, both were required to jump to different places, with lots of copying and pasting. Everyone involved in the grantmaking process struggled with the paperwork burden.

The Endowment’s goal is to cut down additional work for grantees as much as possible, but still collect the data it needs to inform its initiatives. Introducing GivingData solved many of those problems for the team.

Kyla expressed excitement for the increased ease that this process will bring to the foundation and its grantees. It reduces administrative burden significantly and allows them to keep everything a bit more centralized. 

“Even beyond us and beyond our grantees, I'm most excited about what this means for our sector. Philanthropy is uniquely positioned in our capacity both to do so much good, but also so much harm. I feel as though the field is more aware of the precarious nature of our position every day.”

The Future of Equitable Grantmaking

Through it all, Kyla stresses the need for continuous improvement through a stronger commitment to equity.

There still exists plenty of apprehension about collecting this data because it may not show what grantmakers want it to show. Kyla highlights this as a potential wake-up call and opportunity to change.

There's no moment that's better than now to take the initiative to use that data to come into a board meeting and do what you need to do. It's our responsibility as part of the sector and it's our responsibility to our grantees.”


Click here to watch the entire discussion between Roberto, Brian, and Kyla. 

Sign up for the GivingData Insights Newsletter

Receive actionable insights to streamline your grantmaking processes straight to your inbox.