Philanthropy Classification System

New PCS FAQ

Can I provide feedback or submit a term for consideration?

Absolutely!  If there’s a term you have a question about or something you think we should consider adding, we encourage you to provide the Foundation Center with your feedback in one of the following ways:

  1. Click on the Comment icon in the upper-right corner of the term window when using the Visual Browser or Hierarchy viewing options to submit a comment to the Foundation Center.
  2. Click on the Permalink icon (also in the upper right corner of the term window in the Visual Browser and Hierarchy), to generate a link to the term you wish to comment on that you can then include in an e-mail to the Foundation Center (taxonomy@foundationcenter.org).
  3. Use our Feedback Form. Please be sure to choose one of the Purpose selections before submitting. 

How is the FCCS different from the NTEE?

The Philanthropy Classification System is based on the NTEE and the majority of the Subject codes overlap between the two models. Over the 30 years since the NTEE was first drafted, the Foundation Center has continued to update our taxonomy to better describe the activities of the philanthropic sector, whereas the NTEE focuses on entity types. The Foundation Center is frequently tasked with producing research reports, data visualization tools, and web sites that focus on specific topics being funded in the sector. As a result of these efforts, we’ve updated and added codes to the various facets of the taxonomy to fill gaps as we’ve identified them.

Realizing that many organizations in the sector rely on the NTEE as the basis for their taxonomic work as well, the Foundation Center maintains an up-to-date ”crosswalk” or comparison between the two systems. You may request a copy by e-mailing taxonomy@foundationcenter.org. Beginning July 2014, the Center will publish summary documents outlining updates to our taxonomy in the Documentation section of the site so those using the Philanthropy Classification System can easily identify changes that may impact their work.

How do you determine populations served?

“Population Served” codes are applied to grantmaker, recipient, and grant records in the Foundation Center’s database.

For grantmaker profiles, the population served represents the populations who are consistently intended to benefit from the support being awarded by that organization. Not all grantmakers have this indicator. For those that do, there is no limit to the number of codes that may be applied to a profile. Please note that grantmakers may have individual grants that are coded to a level of specificity that is not indicated in their general profile based on the specific work of the recipient organization or the activities supported by a particular grant.

For recipient profiles, the population served represents the populations who are consistently served or impacted on an ongoing basis by the services provided by the organization. Similar to grantmaker profiles, not all recipients will have this level of specificity applied and specific grant awards may have more granular coding based on the work supported by a particular grant. For those recipient organizations for which populations served are relevant, the Foundation Center can apply up to five codes.

Population served information is applied at the grant level only when there is enough evidence in the grant description to warrant a code being applied AND that information is different, or more granular, than the information already included in the default population served coding of the recipient as outlined above. Population served codes are not required at the grant level and up to five codes may be applied.

How do you determine geographic area served?

A “Geographic Area Served” code may be applied to grantmaker, recipient, and grant records in the Foundation Center’s database.

For grantmaker profiles, the geographic area served represents the locations where grantmakers provide support based on the location of the recipient organization or where services are being provided by the recipient.  For example, a grantmaker may support work being done in Africa, which means grants may be awarded to organizations located in Africa as well as domestic organizations who run programs in that country. These codes represent the longstanding areas supported by an organization across their grant portfolio and are not updated on a grant by grant basis each year.

For recipient organizations, the geographic area served is generally the same as the recipient location and a code is not assigned.  Additional codes are applied when the services provided extend beyond the city limits of where the recipient is located on an ongoing basis, such as an entire county or state, or take place in an area that is not associated with the recipient’s location, such as another state or country.

Population served information is applied at the grant level only when there is enough evidence in the grant description to warrant a code being applied AND that information is different, or more granular, than the information already included in the default geographic area served coding of the recipient as outlined above. Geographic area served codes are not required at the grant level and up to 10 codes may be applied.

How do you determine subject codes?

Subject code (also referred to as Field of Interest) is applied to grantmaker, recipient, and grant records in the Foundation Center’s database.

For grantmaker profiles, the subject codes represent the primary areas of focus a grantmaker consistently supports from year to year in its grant portfolio and is not updated on a grant by grant basis each year. This information is obtained from the grantmaker’s mission statement, online materials, and tax returns.

For recipient organizations, the subject codes represent the core activities and services of the organization. This information is generally derived from the organization’s mission statement, online materials, and information provided by funders.

Similar to our population group and geographic area served coding practices, subject codes at the grant level are applied only when the coding varies from those used on the recipient organization. If the grant details indicate that the work being supported by the grant is different or more specific than the default coding already applied to the recipient organization, the Foundation Center will then apply coding at the grant level. This information is generally derived from grant descriptions provided by grantmakers participating in our eReportring Program  and descriptions available on a funder’s Form 990-PF tax return. 

 

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