Overview and Outcomes
Working in partnership Viable Industries LLC., Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW), and Chesapeake Commons successfully launched FPWGrants.org. The new site allows FPW staff and the general public to visualize, query, and roll up invaluable statistics on 1,021 environmental restoration projects throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Leveraging the open source technology of Commons Cloud, FPW can transparently share the impact of their grant making dollar for dollar by watershed, Pennsylvania House/Senate district, county, or large scale river basin.
Users are able to effectively drill down to view project investments by interacting with a series of well designed search tools making FPW’s grant’s database open and transparent. For example FPW was named the benefactor of a 2011 settlement from GenOn-a coal-fired electric power producer. This settlement resulted in 3.5 million dollars for environmental projects within the Kiski/Conemaugh watersheds and is geared to leverage other grant funded restoration work. Using the new site, program officers at FPW are able to track, document, and share the on going work funded by the GenOn settlement dollars, demonstrating accountability and impact through environmental grant making. FPWGrants.org’s relational back end makes it easy for program officers to integrate data updates into their daily routine, ensuring data being fed to the publically facing site is accurate, up to date, and dynamic. Our team went to great lengths to ensure all code and data used to power the product is available to the client. This ensures that FPW benefits from custom software development approaches but is not “locked-in” to using the Commons and Viable exclusively.
The advanced search menu enables users to hit FPW’s database from just about any direction. Users can query by keyword, funding and date ranges, project partners, and FPW program to name a few. Further, the user can leverage both the geographical and advanced search components to filter grants that meet their specific criteria. A single grants pages can be accessed from both the grant view toggle or by clicking a teardrop on the map. The single grant page provides useful information on the project timeline, abstract, photos, and even a satellite map of where the project occurs on the ground.
Our work on this project empowers local stakeholders to know what type of restoration has occurred in their backyard and makes funding processes and outputs more transparent. In time this growing data service will provide policy makers, NGOs, and other foundations with useful strategic and operational insights related to environmental grant making in Pennsylvania.