Santa Cruz, CA – Feb. 4, 2014 - Looker, a company with a next-generation approach to data discovery and business intelligence (BI), and, an online charity helping students and teachers in need, today introduced the Giving Index, which reveals 2013 trends in educational needs and charitable giving across the country. Key findings include the prevalence of location-based giving, greater contributions to benefit younger students, and increasing emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects in higher grade levels.

The index was created through Looker’s powerful analysis of data, which in 2013 alone includes nearly 340,000 donors, $60.2M in donations and over 130,000 school projects.

In addition to the index, is opening up public access to 100 percent of their anonymized data through Looker. As part of the Hacking Education initiative, approved researchers, journalists, and citizens will be able to instantly access, explore, visualize and share insights on 20+ million records of marketplace data, which will be combined with data on public education. Looker will allow anyone – not only the tech-savvy – an interactive way to generate education insights and learn about the current state of giving and need in U.S. schools.

“Exploring and analyzing our data through Looker has helped us develop strategies to increase charitable donations to schools. By identifying giving trends, we can better restructure and target our fundraising,” said Charles Best, CEO, “To date, has helped more than 10 million students by channeling $220 million into classrooms across the country. The Giving Index and the public Hacking Education database project will empower Americans with data insights to help improve the education system in America.”

Specific trends identified by Looker and in the Giving Index include:

On Campus: Donors Motivated by Neighbors in Need

According to the Giving Index, people are inclined to donate within the regions they live, as 50 percent of donors give within 25 miles of their zip codes. The market giving to education projects is hyper-local, likely because people care most about the schools their children attend.

  • The Big Apple and Chicago show generosity to neighbors in need. Chicago ranks as the number one neediest city, but also as number three in terms of giving. Brooklyn and Manhattan are the top two most charitable urban centers, with Brooklyn and the Bronx among the Top 5 most in need (based on projects requested).
  • Although not among the Top 5 most in need, San Francisco and Oklahoma City rank in the Top 5 in giving.
  • Houston and Los Angeles could use additional support, as these two cities round out the Top 5 most in need, yet are not among the most giving.

Young Minds Drive Big Donations

Donors gave more money to lower grades, as compared with middle school and high school projects, according to the Giving Index. Specifically, the majority of donations were for pre-K to grade 2 ($20.6M), with grades 3 to 5 the second most funded ($17.6M). Grades 6 to 8 ($10.8M) and grades 9 to 12 ($11.4M) were the least funded grade levels.

Back to Basics: Fundamentals and STEM Trump the Arts

The Giving Index found that STEM and literacy projects made up the majority of donations requested and funded. The data also revealed that basic school supplies, including books, are in high demand, constituting 51 percent of all requested projects. Highlighting the lack of essentials to foster and improve reading ability, most requests were for literacy projects (55 percent), and classroom libraries were the most funded projects of 2013.

STEM Efforts Increase with Age

The analysis revealed that emphasis on STEM projects increased with grade levels. The majority of projects requested by pre-K through grade 5 fell under literacy, with math and science a far second. However, the priorities flipped in grades 6 to 12, with STEM projects forming the majority of requests, by subject, in the higher grades. Projects requested by subject in 2013 were:

  • Pre-K – grade 2: 27,821 Literacy; 9,651 Math & Science
  • Grades 3 – 5: 18,409 Literacy; 11,742 Math & Science
  • Grades 6 – 8: 7,493 Literacy; 7,546 Math & Science
  • Grades 9 – 12: 4,578 Literacy; 5,972 Math & Science

“Non-profits like need insight to understand who and what drive the most donations, in order to maximize giving. Most philanthropic organizations can’t afford a full analytics team, but with Looker, they don’t need one,” said Frank Bien, Looker CEO. “Company-wide access to data allows everyone to make smarter and impactful business decisions. As a result of Looker’s ease-of-use, non-profits like can leverage BI to optimize their fundraising. Also, by powering the Hacking Education public data initiative, anyone can discover new insights into education needs and giving preferences. ”

Interested parties are encouraged to explore’s public data through Looker. Request access at

Looker is the business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform part of the Google Cloud data and analytics suite. Transcending traditional BI, Looker powers data experiences that deliver actionable business insights at the point of decision and infuses data into products and workflows to allow organizations to extract value from data at web-scale. More than 2,000 industry-leading and innovative companies, such as Cisco, Sony, Amazon, Essence, Home Depot and IBM, have trusted Looker to power their data-driven cultures. For more information, visit Looker or Google Cloud and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

About Google Cloud
Google Cloud provides organizations with leading infrastructure, platform capabilities and industry solutions. We deliver enterprise-grade cloud solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology to help companies operate more efficiently and adapt to changing needs, giving customers a foundation for the future. Customers in more than 150 countries turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to solve their most critical business problems.

Next Previous