Code Purple

CODE PURPLE: COVID-19 Threatens America’s Heartland

November 20, 2020

This summer, created an interactive, dynamic map to show the areas of the country that were hardest hit. We used a simple color code—green for counties with few or no cases per 25,000 residents, and yellow, orange, and red for counties harder hit.

About a week ago, we woke up to the reality that our map was more than half red. The color coding system of the Giving Map is not just informational. It is designed to give concerned individuals a way to connect with communities in need. With this in mind, we have introduced a new color category: “code purple,” designating the parts of the country with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. As of today 94 counties across the United States qualify as “Code Purple.”

Watch this time lapse animation* to see how the infection spread across the country:

COVID-19 Cases in USA
COVID-19 Cases in the Continental US: October – November 2020

Watch as YouTube video.

Watch seven-month time lapse GIF animation (April – November 2020).

We are faced with the reality that for every one case of COVID-19 reported, between five and ten people may be spreading the virus without showing symptoms or knowing that they have it. In Wisconsin in the past week, 36.5% of COVID-19 test results have come back positive.

It’s no secret that Coronavirus infection rates are spiraling out of control in the United States, with over 1 million new infections in the past week and over 8,000 deaths. But certain places in the United States have been hit much harder than others. Most of these are in the Midwest, West, and South: the “Heartland of America.” Many are rural areas.

View List of Top 200 Counties with the Highest COVID-19 Infection Rates.

Not everyone understands the risks of travel in this holiday season. Please stay safe and do what you can to educate others.

Tess Gadwa

Program Director

*Data Source (except where otherwise noted): Johns Hopkins University


Giving Map Awarded $80K Grant for Data-Driven Philanthropy

November 10, 2020

Today, Giving Map received an $80,000 grant from the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund to continue its work on Giving Map, a data-driven grassroots philanthropy web portal currently focused on COVID-19 relief.

“We are excited to begin work on Giving Map 2.0,” says Tess Gadwa, Program Director of Giving Map. “We had tremendous success with the initial release this summer. People really gravitated to the core concept of the map, whether to learn more about areas of the country affected by COVID-19 or to make charitable donations.”

All funds raised go directly to the nonprofits listed through the site. Giving Map is a pass-through organization and does not take any commissions or fees. The next release of Giving Map will include a more refined user interface to select nonprofits, as well as more opportunities for featured organizations to tell their own stories. It is expected to launch in early 2021.

“Looking at the types of online experiences that are available for e-commerce and for-profit crowdfunding, we feel the same tools can give people truly meaningful ways to connect with and learn from organizations doing important work,” says Gadwa. “Nonprofits have lost many of their key revenue sources, even as demand for their services has skyrocketed. Many are in danger of closure. We believe Internet-based grassroots funding is one way to help close the gap.”

The Giving Map web app draws on case data compiled daily by Johns Hopkins University to show the areas hardest hit by Coronavirus. Donors can contribute in any of ten categories, including Mental Health, Food Insecurity, Shelter Insecurity, and Parks and Environment. It is available for all web browsers on tablet, personal computer, and phone. The code base is open source and freely available on GitHub.

Giving Map is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit initiative created in partnership with Portland, OR data visualization startup LLC, Ctrl-H PDXCharity Navigator, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, and a core team of dedicated open source volunteers.

Our mission is to connect caring people with grassroots organizations working for equity, healing, and sustainability across the globe.

Media inquiries please contact:
Tess Gadwa, Program Director, 971.412.2493


Today Is a Day to Heal

November 8, 2020

Voting is over in the United States of America. However you may feel about the outcome, one fact is clear. In the time since the polls first opened on Tuesday, Nov. 3, our country has seen more than 600,000 new cases and lost 6020 lives to COVID-19. covid 19, coronavirus, covid, cell, pandemic, corona virus, still life, organism, painting, plant, art, illustration, still life photographyJust a few hours ago, the US became the first country to pass 10 million cases diagnosed (Reuters). It is clear who the real enemy is, and it isn’t any candidate or political party.

How can we fight this invisible foe?

Wear a mask, stay home if you can, and urge others to do the same. If you have friends and family in the “red zones” of the country, make sure they know the risks.

 I check the comments regularly on our social media pages. We get many posts that are supportive and thank us for the work we are doing. But over the time since we launched, two trends have disturbed me:

#1) People who deny that Coronavirus is real, or claim that it affects only the very old and those with pre-existing conditions. 

Tony Green’s family wasn’t worried about COVID-19, so they held a mini-reunion. A few weeks later, his father-in-law was dead.

Among my own friend circle, I know three people under the age of 45 who have already contracted the virus. One of them, a 29-year-old schoolteacher who loves hiking and snowboarding, sent her picture from the ER today. This illness is serious at whatever age you contract it. And even if you are healthy enough to survive, there is a good chance that someone you love may not be.

Read this poignant and tragic story from Texas if you want to see what I mean.

#2) People who say that if a local government has misguided policies, then people in that area deserve to suffer. This wasn’t the way I raised and to me it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Children are still going hungry. Sick patients still need to get seen. We have no way of knowing who the impacted people voted for, or if they were able to vote at all. Nonprofits need to strictly stay out of politics in order to protect their own legal standing. If you choose to support a charity in one of the areas badly hit by Coronavirus, you are exercising compassion and affirming that we as a nation take care of our own.

Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, lives are in danger. We have an opportunity now to put our differences aside and come together. Many of our communities and our livelihoods have been devastated by Coronavirus. We as individuals have the power to save lives every day. This pandemic may feel isolating, but we will come back stronger than before. We just need to remember that what we are fighting is a virus, and none of us can do that alone.


Tess Gadwa

Program Director 


Thank You!

Thank You!

Thanks everyone for making our Halloween benefit a success. Here is a great set from J. Graves. Listen to the full recorded event.



There’s still time to donate to the charities featured in Saturday night’s event. These five nonprofits address the health and social impacts of COVID-19 across the country, among the populations and places hardest hit. You can also use our interactive Giving Map to find charities by location. All donations go to registered 501(c)3 charities.

  • BSP Free Clinic. Middleton, Wisconsin. BSP Free Clinic provides no-cost specialty care to uninsured, low-income patients.GIVE NOW
  • First Nations Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. Longmont, Colorado. First Nations Development Institute is responding to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian community emergency needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.GIVE NOW
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee. Second Harvest Food Bank serves vulnerable, high-risk populations, such as seniors with chronic medical conditions and families with school-aged children who have lost up to two school meals a day with early school closures. GIVE NOW
  • COVID-19 African American Relief Fund. Chicago, IL. Distributes grants to small Black businesses, fresh produce to seniors and families with children, safety gear to front-line workers in Black communities, and assists with housing. GIVE NOW
  • Feeding South Dakota. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With schools closed until the beginning of May, children and parents are on the brink of devastating hunger. Every $25 donated provides 75 meals to those in need. GIVE NOW

Halloween Virtual Streaming Benefit

Watch the Live Streaming Benefit! 

Did you know Halloween this year is a Saturday and a full moon?

This Halloween, stay home, dress up, and listen to Portland’s best local talent. A free virtual streaming benefit for COVID-19 relief. All proceeds go to registered 501(c)3 charities. Brought to you by QUARNhub and Giving Map.

Tune in at on Halloween night, October 31, 2020, from 6-11 PM PT. Donate if you can. Stay safe and stay spooky!

In order of appearance:

Add to Google Calendar

RSVP on Facebook

Full Moon Rising Halloween Benefit Poster


Read About Us at The Startup

We are pleased to share that an article about the Giving Map, “Actionable Data,” has been published on The Startup–the largest online publication on, with over 700,000 subscribers.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Image for post

“Most of us in 2020 are overwhelmed and inundated by information. We feel powerless and enfeebled by all the bad news. Actionable data emphasizes the power of informed collective action…”

The article and online video presentation go on to discuss Giving Map as a case study, exploring success factors and lessons learned.

Read more at:

Actionable Data:
Where Design and Data Science Converge


Until the Smoke Clears

San Francisco - Fires
Photo credits: Maureen Wilson


September 13, 2020

As I write this letter, smoke blankets the West Coast. Forest fires show no signs of abating any time soon. The air in Portland, Oregon, where we are headquartered is literally off the charts in terms of breathability.

Meanwhile, the United States approaches a grim milestone. We are currently at 194,000 deaths from Coronavirus. The disease is almost certain to claim 200,000 lives before September ends.

Compassion fatigue is a hazard of our time. There so many things to be sad about. But even $25 a week can make a real difference. Giving Map was formed with a simple idea:

Drive less, and give the money you save to charity.

If you are able, please consider a donation to any of the following organizations involved in relief and recovery from the 2020 West Coast Wildfires:

Northwest Response Fund (American Red Cross)

Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides immediate financial and crisis assistance to families of fallen and injured wildland firefighters.

Puente (San Mateo, CA)

Ventana Wildlife Society (Big Sur Condor Sanctuary)

California and Pacific Northwest Wildfires (Charity Navigator)

Thank you for your compassion and awareness. We are one nation. We are one planet. Sustainability begins with healing.

Tess Gadwa

Program Director




Giving Map Featured on CloudBees Podcast

The best part of being featured on The Software Agents podcast from CloudBees? They made a $500 donation to Arkansas Food Bank using our web app! I guided the hosts through the online Giving Map on air, showing them how to find communities that had been severely impacted by COVID-19. Together, we chose the Arkansas Food Bank after visiting their website and checking out their ratings on Charity Navigator.

Software Agents Podcast Logo

Listen to the podcast and read the transcript.

Read the accompanying article.

“If you skip eating out or splurging on delivery a bit, you can probably make it a weekly ritual to give $5, $10, or even $50 to a worthwhile charity wherever things are most dire at the moment.” – Christina Noren

CloudBees Article on Giving Map

Please Note: Our organization has changed its name and logo from to, effective August 27. The interview was recorded prior to the name change and includes references to the old name. and refer to same the interactive giving app, and the same nonprofit portal website.

Tess Gadwa
Program Director

Uncategorized is Now Giving Map

(August 27, 2020) is now Please update your bookmarks accordingly.

“We believe our new name better communicates the nature of our first product and our evolving mission,” says Program Director Tess Gadwa. “We develop data-driven, open source software with the goal of transcending local boundaries and bringing donors and volunteers together with organizations matching their goals and values.” is a not-for-profit initiative funded through the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Trust, in partnership with LLC, Yes Exactly Inc., and PDX Hackerspace. The first Giving Map was developed for COVID-19 relief. It helps donors give directly to registered 501c3s in the areas hardest hit.

The principle behind a Giving Map is actionable data–visitors are presented not only with compelling data visualizations, but with opportunities to immediately take action and make a difference. Future Giving Maps will address such issues as climate change, racial justice, and economic opportunity.



Greenslate USA Launches ‘Donate Your Commute’ Campaign to Help Nonprofits Survive COVID-19 Pandemic 

Greenslate USA Launches ‘Donate Your Commute’ Campaign to Help Nonprofits Survive COVID-19 Pandemic 

Interactive pandemic map connects donors and nonprofits; Donors can instantly find communities in need and donate to registered nonprofits in the community.

(August 17, 2020, PORTLAND, OR) Greenslate USA is launching a new initiative to support America’s nonprofits at a time when many are in danger. According to grantmaking organization CAF (Charities Aid Foundation of America), one-third of all U.S.-based nonprofits believe they might shut down in the next 12 months due to financial hardship. As a first step, Greenslate’s “Donate Your Commute” campaign suggests those who are able to look at the Greenslate map for communities in trouble and donate half the money they saved working from home to nonprofits in those communities.

Greenslate’s data-driven web portal focuses on an interactive map currently displaying the number of new COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents in a county over the past 14 days. This striking data visualization helps prospective donors better understand the current state of affairs county by county. From the map, connects donors directly to lists of local nonprofits in ten categories via Charity Navigator, the world’s largest charity evaluator. The categories include:

  • Hospitals and Primary Care
  • Mental Health
  • Education and Training
  • Food Insecurity
  • Shelter Insecurity
  • Parks and Forests
  • Emergency Response
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Children, Family, Youth and the Elderly
  • Community and Culture

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented level of need in today’s world. It threatens families, communities, and livelihoods,” said Tess Gadwa, program director. “Our interactive map helps demonstrate need and the “how you can help” tab connects the prospective donor to causes in that community. With donations dwindling, events canceled, and normal fundraising efforts postponed or canceled, our nation’s nonprofits need a new path to fundraising.

Gadwa continued, “Some communities, like the tech sector, are able to work remotely. With no commuting costs, and restaurant, entertainment and travel expenses curtailed, this community has more disposable income than ever and is looking for information on where to donate. Greenslate’s data-driven/heart-led approach provides a tactical solution.”

The Greenslate data visualization platform officially launches today, combining reliable and current data with vetted charitable organizations, allowing the generosity of donors to have an immediate and positive impact. The data comes from Johns Hopkins University, a trusted source of information regarding coronavirus cases. Greenslate’s map provides a unique and actionable view of up-to-date information county by county. 

“Nonprofits need support now more than ever. According to our most recent survey of rated nonprofits, 54% have had to cut back on programs while, at the same time, seeing an increase demand in services,” shared Kevin Scally, Chief Relationship Officer at Charity Navigator. “In partnership with Greenslate, we’re proud to provide donors with a resource to make a difference in their local communities.”  

“We’re issuing an immediate call to action: let’s help people in need now,” said Gadwa. “Our first Greenslate USA initiative, #DonateYourCommute, is challenging those who can afford it to donate half their commuting savings to nonprofits in those communities particularly hard hit.”

This campaign is only the first Greenslate USA project. There will be additional actionable data visualizations and other social media driven campaigns. In addition, all aspects of Greenslate’s solution leverage the power of sustainable, carbon-neutral web hosting.

About is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit initiative created in partnership with LLC, PDX Hackerspace, Charity Navigator, the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, and a core team of dedicated open source volunteers. Follow GreenslateUSA on Twitter – @GreenslateUSA.


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