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Funders Node Retreat: The role of philanthropy in using data to address complex challenges

Location: Wasan Island, Ontario, Canada
Event Date: 12 — 15 September 2018

Foundations all over the world are grappling with their role in the emerging field of data and artificial intelligence. The field is fraught with potential controversy but also with possibility. Data has the potential to help us work at a larger scale than ever before, be more efficient, and solve problems more effectively.

Despite the potential, philanthropy isn’t engaging in this field fast enough, and is well behind other sectors. Very few big foundations have the capacity or technical knowledge to either shape innovations or make sense of which ones to back, and when they do get involved they face complex challenges about transparency, ownership and ethics.

SIX is hosting a three-day gathering of pioneering global funders to explore how data can help cross-sector partnerships address complex problems, and the role of philanthropy in this.

This retreat will build on SIX’s latest global scan and research highlighting how data is being used in different ways for social good, the challenges in this field and how philanthropy is and can be engaging in this work.

The retreat will be rooted in practice and will provide a focused space to dive deeper to explore how more foundations can become key enablers in this work.

Key questions we will explore include:

  • What is the role of philanthropy in enabling more data-based systems change?
  • How to best develop the capacity, infrastructure and access to accelerate and sustain the use of data?
  • What are the next big opportunities for social action?
  • How to collectively learn as rapidly as the technology advances?

We are hosting the retreat on Wasan Island, thanks to the generous support of the McConnell Foundation and their partnership with the BMW Foundation, the Breuninger Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and Robert Bosch Stiftung.


For more information, please contact [email protected]