As Business Grows, Foursquare Offers ‘Location Philanthropy’

"'Foursquare for Good' is Foursquare’s first dedicated, data-focused philanthropy program aimed at making the world a better, smarter, safer, more inclusive place through the power of location technology," says Foursquare's Sarah Spagnolo.

The expansive value of location data is widely recognized by all major brands, publishers, agencies, and platforms — and as that has helped Foursquare add a consistently growing lineup of major media partners.

And after being written off for dead a just four years ago, Foursquare’s success as a location data analytics and attribution provider has it feeling… charitable these days.

That’s the impetus behind a non-business initiative called Foursquare For Good. While companies like GroundTruth (formerly xAd), PlaceIQ, and Placed have used their respective geo-data services to promote humanitarian efforts, Foursquare For Good is the company’s “first dedicated, data-focused philanthropy program aimed at making the world a better, smarter, safer, more inclusive place through the power of location technology,” writes Sarah Spagnolo, Foursquare’s communications director in a Medium blog post.

Foursquare presented its non-business offering at the fifth annual Bloomberg’s Data for Good Exchange 2018 last week. The gathering is predicated on finding  ways data scientists, corporations, policy makers and researchers “can collaborate on data science projects that result in positive social outcomes.”

As of now through October 16th, non-profits and socially conscious developers and disruptors can submit their ideas  -“wild or otherwise,” says Spagnolo  — for apps and services that harness the power of Foursquare’s location technology to make a meaningful impact.

The winning proposal will receive free access to Foursquare’s API and SDK, as well as “critical engineering resources” to help bring the idea to life. The company is also donating $10K to the winning organization’s cause.

The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges whose expertise span across a number of industries — from engineering to editorial, from product to venture capital — and we’ll be announcing the winning submission on #GivingTuesday2018 (Tuesday, November 27).

In essence, Foursquare for Good builds on and formalizes past uses of the company’s Places API and database that were open to developers who applied Foursquare’s tech to create location-based experiences. Some examples include BlindSquare (an app to help guide the visually impaired), Beam (an app that turns retail experiences into charitable opportunities) to Wheelmap (a free and global online map for wheelchair-accessible places), among others.

“We know that there are other incredible ways that Foursquare’s location tech can be used to improve the world,” Spagnolo says. “Consider a couple examples: Imagine a mental health app that uses visit patterns to identify signs of imminent risk, and then sends critical resources to help. Or a hiking app that connects outdoor explorers to volunteer opportunities in nearby parks that they’ve visited in the past. We want to surface these amazing ideas, and make them a reality by partnering with people who are equally as passionate as we are about making an impact.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.