The One-of-a-Kind Million Dollar List

October 25, 2011

One of the most important aspects of philanthropy is simply awareness. The more transparent a foundation, charity or other organization is about their mission and needs, the higher probability there is for people to interact through donations or other contributions.

We are so excited to have worked with Center on Philanthropy to launch The Million Dollar List, a one-of-a-kind online database. Here’s the story:


Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University wanted a comprehensive resource that projected philanthropic gifts of $1 million and more to anyone who was interested in learning about philanthropy, donating or raising funds.


They wanted to raise awareness through the transparency of giving. Anyone should be able to search to see where donations are coming from, the organizations receiving them, and where else needs for donations might exist.


Center on Philanthropy came to SmallBox with a big vision in functionality and a short timeline. Not only did we want to make this extensive list of data searchable, and easy to understand, but we wanted to make it fun for visitors to the site!


One million dollars is a significant amount of money to donate, and therefore we needed to provide users with the ability to easily discover where they want to give. We implemented a search functionality that allows users to search donations by donor, recipient, location or subsector.

An Indiana resident who is passionate about both higher education and his local art community and wishes to support it through donating $1 million, but wants to know where his money is most needed, can visit www.milliondollarlist.org and search by location. From there, he can search total donations received by sector and will notice that higher education has received over 57%, while Arts, Culture and History organizations have received just over 4% of total Indiana donations. He can easily and quickly click on organizations to learn more about them and discover where his contribution best fits.


SmallBox scaled processes to fit within Center on Philanthropy’s quick 4-week timeline. We wanted to see what tools were already available that would fit with this big picture, but we also wanted the user experience to be easy and fun. We made sure that while the deadline was tight, our quality of work didn’t waiver.

An effective and interactive interface, even one that contains extensive data, shouldn’t require instructions. The content and functionality should do all the work. We wanted it to be easy and fit Center on Philanthropy’s needs and the needs of visitors to the site.


In milliondollarlist.org, Center on Philanthropy has an awesome searchable, powerful and free tool that arms their audience with a tool to easily make decisions, learn about philanthropy and raise their awareness on where needs for substantial donations might exist.

Anyone can visit the site and learn about philanthropy by seeing who has given, where they gave, discover trends in giving and more. The site covers more than 60,000 gifts of $1 million and up in one single database. A visitor can search throughout the entire world for donation information, or segment their list as small as individual donors or recipients.


SmallBox’s content management system allows Center on Philanthropy to be more efficient in their reports on giving. They no longer have to take the time to update extensive spreadsheets. The data updates on the site and is easily exported in as large or small segments as needed.

Together, Center on Philanthropy and SmallBox launched the most comprehensive, free, online public record of gifts of this size.


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