Glen Rock, NJ, (May 22, 2017) – Charity Navigator is pleased to participate in the first-of-its-kind “Form 990 Datathon” May 23-24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Forms 990, the informational tax returns nonprofits file annually with the IRS, are the cornerstone of transparency and oversight in the nonprofit sector. Accessing the treasure trove of data in these documents has required intensive manual review, advanced computer skills, or both. Although the IRS began to release the data in a digitized format last June, data scientists and researchers have encountered difficulties interpreting the information. As such, the full potential of the open 990 data as a tool for the public has yet to be realized.
The Datathon – which takes place at the Aspen Institute’s Washington, DC headquarters – is a unique collaboration between nonprofit researchers and data scientists to make Form 990 data more accessible and comprehensible to the general public. In addition to Charity Navigator, Nonprofit Open Data Collective participants include Chris Thompson, an independent researcher, as well as representatives from the Aspen Institute, GuideStar, Urban Institute, Syracuse University, Indiana University, and George Washington University.
The Datathon will expand on the work started earlier this year by Charity Navigator. Together these groups will accelerate the process of mapping the digitized Form 990 data released by the IRS into a more accessible, public database. Unlocking more of this data, which spans 1.7 million organizations, will help nonprofit leaders, donors and policymakers make better decisions.
“When we published the Digitized Form 990 Decoder - an open-source project for exploring nonprofit public tax records - in February, we knew it was just the start,” says said Dr. David Borenstein, Lead Data Scientist at Charity Navigator. “Mapping all the fields of available data is a tremendous undertaking. The convening of this collaborative group of nonprofit experts will expedite that work, but there will still be more to do after the Datathon.”
The Form 990, a tax form that all nonprofits are required to file, is a key tool in understanding the nonprofit sector: it discloses vital data on tax-exempt organizations’ expenses, activities, and operations.
About Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator is the largest expert charity evaluator in America. The organization makes philanthropy easier for all. It does this by providing data on 1.7 million nonprofits and in-depth analysis of over 8,500 charities. More than 7 million people - including donors, nonprofit leaders, researchers, the media, and policymakers - access Charity Navigator’s free tools and evaluations annually. Charity Navigator, a 501 (c) (3) public charity itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations, and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America's nonprofit sector. To learn more, visit www.charitynavigator.org.