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Tides Canada commits to open data for its grantmaking

For a number of years, Tides Canada has been publishing detailed lists of grants in our online annual reports. This spring, as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we are building on that practice by committing to publish our grants as open data and are increasing the frequency of our reporting by publishing grants listings on a quarterly basis.

Tides Canada will be among some of the first funders in Canada, including the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council, Vancouver Foundation, and the Edmonton Community Foundation, to do so.

What is open data? Open data is information that is free, publicly available, machine-readable, and openly licensed for re-use and re-distribution. This means that anyone can access the information on Tides Canada’s website, download it into their own systems, and use the information for research, education, or even commercial purposes.

We believe that more frequent sharing of Tides Canada’s grants data strengthens our commitment to organizational transparency. And, by making the data open, we hope to participate in a movement to use data to promote innovation and collaboration in the sector.

Open data is important for many reasons. In the charitable sector, funders are making their granting data open to:

  • support informed and effective grantmaking;
  • foster learning exchange between grantmakers, grantees, and the public;
  • provide charities with information to identify aligned funders;
  • reaffirm a shared commitment to transparency and public accountability; and
  • support sector innovation and value creation.

Tides Canada joins a small group of foundations in Canada that are using open data or employing open data practices when publishing grantmaking information. We hope that our collective contributions will inspire more funders to join the Open Data movement.

Increased use of open data could also lead to new opportunities and resources to support the sector and increase its positive impact. For example, Landscape, built by Ajah, is an online database of grantmaking in Canada. Charities can use the open data on Landscape to find other organizations that are aligned with their mission and outcomes, identify opportunities for collaboration, and discover overlap or gaps in work being done.

Tides Canada already goes above and beyond requirements by posting detailed lists of its grants every year. Our audited financial statements and tax filings are also publicly available. We are proud to be accredited under the Imagine Canada Standards Program, which recognizes charitable excellence in governance, accountability, and transparency.

Our shared platform project Powered by Data (PbD) is leading the charge to maximize the availability and impact of open data for public good. PbD works with nonprofits and civil society groups, government, funders, and global data initiatives. With an approach blending strategy, governance, stakeholder convening, and policy development, PbD helps develop infrastructure to enable the social sector to better use, share, and learn from data. Our thanks to our PbD colleagues for helping with the open data initiative.

“We are excited that Tides Canada is joining the Open Data movement and sees the tremendous opportunity open grants data has in helping the sector. This is an important step that can help other funders and potentially encourage more funders to share their data,” said Michael Lenczner, Project Director of Powered by Data.

Tides Canada has a unique role in Canada’s charitable sector, making grants and providing strategy, expertise, and tools to ensure changemakers can get from vision to impact. We work with diverse partners to create mission-aligned and measurable impact on the ground. Tides Canada will look to apply open data practices across other areas of the organization from evaluation to collaborative funding.

See our grants listing here.

FLOW: advancing sustainable water management in Canada

The Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) is an independent think tank focused on water policy issues in Canada and a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform. We interviewed Project Director Tony Maas to learn more about the project and its work on public policy.