Key Points

This article reports qualitative research that explores the role of data in philanthropy and proposes an integrated framework. Interviews with charitable foundations in central Texas, including members of a regional evaluation and learning collaborative, reveal an orientation toward data that is becoming increasingly institutionalized.

The research suggests that data are generated and used in a multiplicity of ways, including identifying populations and geographies in need of investment, informing funding decisions for service delivery as well as policy research and advocacy; evaluation and learning; and measuring community impact.

This article discusses these thematic findings, notes specific practices, and presents six principles for integrating a data perspective into philanthropy.

Open Access