New partnerships to build digital infrastructure for non-profits

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The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) and partners have launched three essential projects to create accessible and user-centered online platforms. Each will support community organizations across different sectors to collect critical data that can be used to inform and strengthen programs and services to improve the well-being of Ontarians.

The ability to collect and use data in the non-profit sector has often been limited due to limited capacity, knowledge and digital infrastructure. Over the course of the pandemic, organizations across a range of sectors expressed a need for access to data to understand the impact of their work and support data-driven decision making and innovation.

Through the Partnership Investments program, OTF recently joined three innovative partnerships to address gaps in data collection and use across organizations, communities and fields of study. Projects delivered through these partnerships will help create new online data platforms and dashboards to achieve significant outcomes for the non-profit sector. Project outcomes include: 

  • Organizations gain skills and knowledge to better understand how to strengthen their work and meet the needs of communities. 
  • A network of non-profit organizations that champion the use of data to drive collective impact across communities. 
  • Improved data equity and data ownership that allows organizations to manage how their information is used.  

Data platforms and dashboards can be defined as digital systems or digital infrastructure that allow organizations to collect, manage, analyze and distribute large volumes of data. They serve as a centralized online hub for data related activities, providing tools and services that process data into meaningful, organized information.

OTF’s new partnerships include the following projects:

  • Data Narratives for the Arts (DNA): This partnership will address gaps in accessible data and training opportunities in the arts & culture sector with a new user-centered data analytics platform. The data platform will help arts organizations access data to support strategy, decision-making and innovation. A learning series will also be delivered that focuses on the perspectives and needs of arts organizations to help them adapt and strengthen their work using available information from the data platform.
    • Partners: Mass Culture, Metcalf Foundation, Azrieli Foundation, Calgary Arts Development, City of Toronto – Economic Development and Culture division, Ontario College of Art and Design University, Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Digital Resilience. 
  • Quality of Life Data Portal: Partners will create a customizable, open-source data platform to enable organizations, from a range of sectors, to track the relationship between reduced financial volatility at the household level, successful program outcomes, and long-term quality of life indicators.
    • Partners: West Neighbourhood House, Prosper Canada, Ontario Securities Commission, JP Morgan Chase, Logical Outcomes, Building Up, EBO Financial Education Centre.
  • Rural Community Wellbeing Data Portal: This partnership will develop a dashboard that is accessible to the public and includes a set of indicators to identify and measure quality of life and wellbeing in rural and small municipalities. The partnership will also increase understanding of how to navigate and use the dashboard to develop priorities, inform policies, and strengthen programs and services at community and organizational levels.
    • Partners: Rural Ontario Institute, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Mitacs, University of Guelph, ECO Canada, Stats Can / Centre for Rural Economic Development, Ontario Nonprofit Network.

Quick Facts

  • The Partnership Investments program connects the non-profit, public, and private sectors to build a stronger non-profit sector in Ontario. The program's mission is to mobilize relationships and resources in communities to build the capacity of the non-profit sector to innovate and deliver better outcomes for Ontarians.
  • In 2022-2023, Partnership Investments mobilized relationships and resources across the non-profit sector. OTF contributed $2 million to partnerships and partners contributed $5.4 million.