Contact Mazarine: (503) 673-FUND (3863)

So. You’re working for a social services nonprofit.

You’re writing a grant.

You’re stuck.

How do you show the funder the magnitude of the need?

Read on!

Or what if you’re the communications person?

If you serve vulnerable populations and you can’t put pictures of the people you really serve in your annual report?

You’re stuck for pictures to put in your annual report,

Well, here’s a free source of stats and maps to make your cause more compelling.

What is this tool?

It’s called Texas Connects. Obviously it’s not available everywhere yet. But if you’re one of the 75,000 nonprofits in Texas, you’re in luck!

If you’re working at a community foundation, you might consider putting together something like this for your state, combining 2010 census data and google maps to show areas of greatest need.

It will help your grantees make their case to other foundations and it can help your program officers and boards make more educated decisions as well.

Homeless shelters and Median Household income in Dallas Fort Worth

Homeless shelters (marked by dots) and Median Household income in Dallas Fort Worth







I went to #NTCATX in March, 2012. At this mini-conference, there was a panel discussion on collaboration and community mapping. The speaker that impressed me the most was Erin Brackney, the Research Evaluation Manager for Texas Connector at the OneStar Foundation. I was honestly blown away.

I wish every state in America had this tool.

The Texas Connector aims to bring interactive mapping to nonprofits and funders. It visually demonstrates areas of need in our communities and the scope of nonprofit resources available in those areas. Using Census data, you can see the areas where there is high unemployment, low median income, and see where the food pantries and homeless shelters are.

Unemployment and homeless shelters in Fort Worth, TX

Unemployment and homeless shelters (red and blue dots) in Fort Worth, TX

unemployment block groups

Unemployment key

You can also see what nonprofits are there, and what their service area is.

If there is a gap in service, this can be good for funders to talk with nonprofits about filling the areas of greatest need or addressing duplication of services.

And it’s also good for nonprofits to be able to use this data in their grant reports. You can drill down to the actual statistics on poverty.

The data there will be current with the 2010 census as of this month.

Check it out at

If you know of a tool like this in other states, please leave a comment!

If you’ve used this tool already, what do you think of it?

2 responses on “Big Data hits Nonprofits! POW!

  1. Mazarine Mazarine says:

    I agree Vanessa,

    it would be incredible if Canada AND the US had this, for social services if nothing else. Luckily census data is fairly easy to find.

    It’s here:

    Wish we could all have the technology to make this overlay with google maps!



  2. Vanessa says:

    What an awesome resource! I hope that Canadian Provinces are able to develop something like this.
    Even it if was not for the purpose of grant writers, but just aggregated information about the community and demographics, I imagine that would be really useful for social service organizations as they work towards fulfilling their mission.