Brad Fulton, an associate professor at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, has received a 2022 Customer Excellence Award from Alteryx, Inc., at its annual user conference, Alteryx Inspire 2022.
Fulton earned recognition in the Impactor category as the best example of using data for good by developing a comprehensive workflow to automate data extraction, cleansing, and matching from multiple sources. The vast volumes of unstructured administrative data often inhibit researchers and practitioners from conducting field-level studies of philanthropic efforts to address social needs. Fulton and his team from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering’s Data Science in Practice course, including recent graduates Jessi Arthur, David Ross, and Hannah Corso, increased usable data by more than 200 percent, improved data processing speed 16-fold, and optimized match rates. The result is a first-of-its-kind network dataset that links U.S. foundation and grantee data spanning the past 10 years.
“Given that we were competing with Fortune 500 companies for this award, I’m impressed that our team could distinguish itself in providing a high-quality, innovative, and impactful use case,” Fulton said. “I work with a lot of data scientists from around the world and the Luddy students are among the best. It’s great that our efforts to use big data for the greater good received this recognition in a very competitive field.”
By linking U.S. foundation and grantee data, the dataset of more than one million non-profit organizations successfully reveals the flow and distribution of money throughout the non-profit sector to show how funding patterns affect community-level social and economic inequality.
“I plan to use these data to collaborate with researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who are interested in conducting field-level analyses of the entire nonprofit sector or any of its subsectors such as the arts, education, and healthcare,” Fulton said.
Fulton is also in the process of seeking additional funding so that he can make the data and platform publicly available in a plug-and-play format.
“The ability to transform complex raw data into business insights is critical to remain competitive in the current business landscape,” said Matthew Stauble, chief customer officer at Alteryx. “The 2022 Customer Award Winners are shining examples of what businesses can achieve by coupling a culture of analytics that focuses on upskilling employees with the right analytics tools. We are thrilled to recognize their achievements and look forward to seeing how they continue to evolve their programs in the coming year.”