Foundation Merger Pushes AI, Data Science For NPOs – The NonProfit Times


The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a global $1.5 billion data science and AI philanthropy, just got even bigger via a merger with the Cloudera Foundation in Santa Clara, Calif.

In a definitive agreement signed March 30, Cloudera Foundation will merge its staff, $9 million endowment, and $3 million of existing grants into the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. The move accelerates the creation of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation’s Data and Society program, an initiative that will enable the nonprofit sector to leverage the potential of data science and AI for impact. Data and Society is a key pillar of the foundation’s strategy to foster an equitable, sustainable, and thriving world enabled by data and AI. 

The transaction is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, according to a statement from the foundations. The definitive merger agreements were advised by Venable LLP for the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and by Adler & Colvin LLC for the Cloudera Foundation.

“Data science and AI-based tools, deployed with purpose and social conscience, could improve nearly every part of the human experience. Enabling civil society to access these technologies will unlock transformational approaches to many of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Patrick J. McGovern Foundation President Vilas Dhar. “I am honored by the trust of the Cloudera Foundation Board and leadership in joining us to create a new public resource that empowers data maturity in the civil sector. Backed by philanthropic capital and deep technical expertise, we are working together with social changemakers to advance a tech-enabled, human-centered future.”

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The Cloudera Foundation was established in 2017 by the enterprise data company Cloudera, Inc., to provide access to technology, data expertise, and technical support to build data capacity in the civil sector. This approach has been piloted with seven social change organizations. Now, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation will broaden, strengthen, and scale the approach to deliver global impact, serving up to 100 nonprofits addressing the breadth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

“Our missions couldn’t be better matched,” said Mike Olson, co-founder of Cloudera, Inc., and chairman of the Cloudera Foundation. “We have seen how data and analytics enable nonprofits to work more effectively and increase their impact. With the leadership and resources of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, our team can do even more to help mission-driven organizations change the world.”

Cloudera Foundation’s CEO Claudia Juech will direct activities around data enablement for nonprofits as vice president of data and society at the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. With an industry-leading team of data scientists, technical experts, and program managers,

Data and Society will offer a range of sector-building data and AI services including:

  • Accelerator partnerships to equip organizations with tools and expertise to extract actionable insights from datasets;
  • Multi-year partnerships with nonprofits that focus on holistic development of data maturity; and,
  • Public workshops, convenings and thought leadership for the civil sector.

“With the Data and Society team, nonprofits will have access to technical experts committed to the use of technology for social good,” said Juech. “We are prepared to meet nonprofits where they are in each of their data journeys and work alongside them to develop data maturity. We are eager to create and share a portfolio of use cases to provide practical examples of what’s possible in the field of data and AI for social change, guided by equity and the ethical use of data.”

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