2014

Palantir Philanthropy Engineering
Annual Impact Report

2014 was a year of growth and maturity for Palantir’s Philanthropy Engineering program.

We improved and expanded our existing projects, such as improving disaster relief efforts and combating slavery in supply chains, and built new partnerships to tackle issues like chronic homelessness, food insecurity, and environmental crime.

Below are a few highlights from 2014. I speak for all Palantirians when I say that it is an honor to support all of our incredible non-profit partners that work tirelessly to improve and save lives around the world.

Jason Payne
Philanthropy Engineering Lead

Of the 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day, 1 billion of them live in rural areas where agriculture is the main source of income.

These smallholder farmers must contend not only with poverty but also with the pests, diseases, and weather that threaten their crops, livestock, and livelihoods.

Grameen Foundation uses Palantir to understand how on-the-ground mobile agriculture programs can most effectively improve food security and alleviate poverty for smallholder farmers around the world. Using a mobile application, Grameen Foundation surveys farmers on their needs and agricultural practices and uses Palantir to help farmers improve their circumstances.

Nearly 2 million mobile interactions with more than 200,000 farmers have been integrated into Palantir alongside economic, demographic, and environmental data, enabling Grameen Foundation to understand and respond to farmers’ individual needs.

In Uganda and Colombia, Grameen Foundation uses Palantir to transform this raw data into actionable insights. Analysts can determine the farming practices that correspond to the best outcomes for farmers and produce tailored, data-driven farm management plans. Grameen Foundation is also leveraging Palantir to explore novel use cases, including early warning systems for localized disease and pest outbreaks, and connecting farmers to microloans for farm improvement projects.

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Millions of Syrians have been displaced by the ongoing civil war between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

With allegiances, power structures, and front lines constantly in flux, it has become difficult to safely and effectively deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the region.

The Carter Center and Physicians for Human Rights use Palantir to analyze open source data and provide humanitarian organizations, mediators, and government partners with up-to-date awareness of the situation on the ground. Their collaboration makes it possible to bring relief to the most vulnerable people affected by the Syrian crisis.

With Palantir, The Carter Center’s Syria Conflict Mapping Project is able to securely share analytical insights with its partner organizations, allowing them to deliver aid to refugees and internally displaced populations, negotiate safe passage for humanitarian convoys, and understand how the ongoing conflict might affect future needs.

Physicians for Human Rights uses Palantir to structure and analyze information related to violent assaults on Syria’s healthcare infrastructure and explore patterns of attacks against medical personnel in Syria. With Palantir, Physicians for Human Rights can collaborate in real time with The Carter Center to corroborate reports of attacks on medical facilities and better understand these attacks within the context of the conflict as a whole. For these groups and their humanitarian partners, Palantir serves as a living database that reflects the evolution of the conflict, including militant groups’ activities, areas of operation, and relationships with one another and their financial backers.

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An estimated 50,000 veterans are homeless each night in the United States.

Because of an inefficient housing match process that involves multiple government agencies and non-profits, these veterans often remain homeless while waiting for housing for as long as 300 days.

Palantir has partnered with Community Solutions to develop Homelink, a web application that streamlines the case management process to quickly match veterans to housing within a single, scalable platform. Through Homelink’s San Francisco and Nashville 2014 pilot programs, Palantir has enabled our government and non-profit partners to cut through bureaucratic hurdles and easily collaborate to house homeless veterans across their communities.

Palantir incorporates an algorithm developed by Community Solutions that automatically matches veterans’ needs with the eligibility criteria for different housing providers.

Intake surveys form the basis of client profiles, aggregating the data necessary for Homelink to match individuals with the housing assets available to them. As surveys are entered, Homelink generates a vulnerability score for each client so coordinators can understand who needs the most immediate attention.

In 2015, we aim to reduce the length of the average housing placement process to 60 days, expand to chronically homeless populations in addition to veterans, and introduce Homelink to multiple additional cities across the United States.

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Since 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative has facilitated over 31,000 “commitments to action” addressing issues in global health, disaster recovery, clean energy, and female empowerment.

The overwhelming amount of data accompanying these commitments obscures the answers to critical questions: is this working? What can we do better?

CGI uses Palantir to better understand their impact and answer these questions. By integrating nearly a decade’s worth of CGI data with 20 datasets of global indicators, CGI was able to evaluate which commitments have been successful and where they could be more effective.

Palantir allowed CGI to leverage their own data against multiple external datasets to identify lessons and insights from the past decade and strategically plan for the years ahead.

CGI analysts used Palantir to identify important strategic trends; for instance, commitments tend to be more successful when there are multiple contributing partners. Palantir also allowed analysts to conclusively measure mission outcomes, such as the success of commitments focused on lowering HIV rates.

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Transnational criminal organizations trafficking ivory are threatening to drive Africa’s elephants into extinction.

Not only are these criminal syndicates responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of elephants, but they are also inextricably linked to regional conflict, political corruption, and organized crime.

C4ADS uses Palantir to identify complex intercontinental networks of traffickers, financiers, and businesses that enable the illicit ivory trade. Palantir provides a unified analytical platform for C4ADS’ global wildlife crime database, allowing analysts to investigate and combat the illegal killing of elephants and the worldwide trafficking of ivory and other illicit environmental goods.

Using Palantir, C4ADS has mapped the flow of illicit ivory from its origins in Africa to destinations in Southeast Asia, identifying common trafficking routes, links between logistics coordinators and terrorist networks, and government agents who profit from wildlife trafficking.

By providing authorities with data-driven investigations that shine light on major ivory trafficking syndicates, C4ADS and a consortium of 50 local non-profits, government agencies, and private sector allies have made major strides in combating these illicit networks and their globally devastating effects. For example, in 2014 East African authorities were able to identify a suspicious shipment, leading to the seizure of $11 million in illicitly traded environmental goods, one of the largest environmental crime seizures in African history.

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In addition to the projects we supported in 2014, we have been diligently building the infrastructure to increase our impact in 2015 and beyond.

We are forging partnerships with some of the most effective foundations in the world and undertaking innovative ventures in areas such as global health and financial services for the poor. With the debut of our upcoming internship and fellowship programs, more students and Palantirians will have the opportunity to work directly with our partner organizations.