The Massachusetts Nonprofit Database comes to the Ethos Roundtable!

Please join us in February at the Ethos Roundtable!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
4:30 - 6:00 pm
Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Featured guests: Tom Pollak and Doug Denatale, developers of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Database

In my opinion, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Database is an "epic win" for our sector, and I have high hopes that it will become a national model.

Here's a description of the project, from Tom Pollak:
Massachusetts Nonprofit Database, a collaboration of the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Boston Foundation, will provide nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and citizens with comprehensive data, information and tools to build stronger nonprofit organizations and communities, promote greater citizen engagement, and link to other data and information resources. It includes a number of modules:

Starting with a core of mostly IRS data from the NCCS databases, the Community Inventory enables users to view, update and add nonprofit organizations, schools, churches or other organizations or resources and to overlay with data on community needs via maps, charts, lists or tables.

TheFinancial Analyzer permits users to compare an organization’s performance to similar organizations (a user-defined peer group or general category) and to graph key ratios.

The Programs and Service-Delivery Area Mapping Tool lets users combine program descriptions from IRS Form 990s with additional data from 2-1-1 and other community databases and define and map the service delivery areas of the organizations to create a comprehensive picture of the programs and services in a community. (Urban Institute outcome measurement tools may be integrated into this system, as well.)

The Shared Goods and Services Tool provides a convenient system for nonprofits to communicate with one another about both their needs and potential excess capacity.

Project Management Tools enable nonprofit organizations or groups of citizens or students to collaborate efficiently in mapping community resources and needs.

Advanced Tools for custom analysis of nonprofit data are also available for registered users.

A Knowledgebase of resources to help citizens create their own projects and learn more about the how to create stronger communities and nonprofits is linked into the system.

We expect to incorporate resources from the Foundation Center, the Mass. Charities Bureau and possibly others through our Data Sharing Infrastructure, which permits real-time sharing of NCCS data and viewing of non-NCCS data with key partners.

We believe that the key to making this project successful is to get its tools used on the ground to meet the practical needs of nonprofit organizations and communities. Potential users include United Ways, high school and college student outreach organizations, nonprofit associations, place-based education and human service initiatives and others. If you are interested in working with us, we would like to hear from you!
Here's a little bit about Tom himself:
Thomas Pollak is program director of the nonprofit National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute, a Washington DC-based research organization, which he joined in 1996. He has his law degree from Georgetown University and has been actively involved with a range of other nonprofit organizations as a director, volunteer, consultant and employee.
Here's a profile of Doug:
Douglas DeNatale is the President of Community Logic, Inc., an independent consulting firm that specializes in the development of information systems for the cultural sector and managing qualitative research projects. Dr. DeNatale has consulted for national foundations and institutions including the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Library of Congress, Heritage Preservation, and the Smithsonian Institution; as well as a variety of regional and local organizations. He served as co-director of the ethnographic documentation component of the Ford Foundation’s six-year “Internationalizing New Works in the Performing Arts” initiative; and directed a year-long ethnographic documentation project in Lowell, Massachusetts, for the Library of Congress. He has authored a range of articles, monographs, and white papers, including a handbook on documentation for cultural organizations; a white paper on current data systems in the Humanities for the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; a white paper on cultural support to Cambodia for the Rockefeller Foundation (co-author with Khatharya Um)); and a series of studies examining the economic health of the creative economy in New England (co-author with Gregory H. Wassall) Dr. DeNatale holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as Deputy Director of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Director of Research at the New England Foundation for the Arts, and Director of the Folklife and Oral History Program at the University of South Carolina.
Liz Keating, the third developer in this project, won't be able to join us in February, but I think that every friend of the Ethos Roundtable should be aware of her expertise, so here's her bio:
Elizabeth Keating CPA PhD is a Lecturer in Accounting at the School of Management at Boston University. She is also an Associate Scholar at the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. Her research focuses on nonprofit and governmental accountability, financial health retirement funding, employee compensation and benefits, and overhead. In the past year, she has produced two reports for the Boston Foundation: "For the Benefit of Our Workers: The Massachusetts Nonprofit Employee Benefit Study" and "Purpose Restructuring, Repositioning and Reinventing: Crisis in the Massachusetts Nonprofit Sector." She has taught at Harvard University, Northwestern University, and New York University. She received her PhD in management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and her MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

At the conclusion of our Ethos Roundtable session, we will stroll down the hall to enjoy the good company, charming venue, and free food at the 501 Tech Club, which is generously underwritten by TechFoundation. The 501 Tech Club is the monthly gathering of technology professionals who work with nonprofit organizations.

All Ethos Roundtable attendees are welcome at the Boston 501 Tech Club, and vice versa.

Please remember that there's never any need to make a reservation to attend Ethos Roundtable events. Just come if you can, and feel free to invite others! However, if you're planning to attend the Boston 501 Tech Club event at 6:00 pm, we ask that you send an email to Kathleen Sherwin of TechFoundation (ksherwin AT techfoundation DOT org). Since TechFoundation is providing the free food, it's courteous to let them know how much to order.

See you in February!

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