2019 Allocation to GiveWell Top Charities

In this post, “we” refers to Good Ventures and Open Philanthropy, who work as partners.

We believe that every life has equal value — and that philanthropic dollars can go particularly far by helping those who are living in poverty by global standards. This year, we explored the high bar set by the best global health and development interventions. Currently, the best giving opportunities we’ve found in the Global Health and Development focus area are recommended by GiveWell, a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing its full analysis to help donors decide where to give.

GiveWell recently announced its updated list of top charities that focus on programs with a strong track record and excellent cost-effectiveness, can use additional funding to expand their core programs, and are exceptionally transparent. As we have in the past, we asked GiveWell to make a recommendation — both in terms of the total amount donated and in terms of the distribution between recipient charities. GiveWell recommended, and we plan to approve, an allocation of $54.6 million for its top charities in 2019.

For setting the total amount, our methodology was the same as last year’s. In brief, we started from the assumption that 10% of total available capital will eventually go to a “straightforward charity” bucket that is reasonably likely to line up fairly well with GiveWell’s work and recommendations. This 10% allocation includes a fixed percentage of total giving each year of 5% and another flexible bucket of 5%, which can be spent down quickly or slowly, based in part on GiveWell’s expectations of when funds can accomplish the most good. (For more detail, please see our blog post on our 2017 allocation.)

Based on these considerations, GiveWell recommended that Open Philanthropy grant $54.6 million this year, allocated to its top charities as follows:

More detail on GiveWell’s reasoning in recommending this allocation (and in providing its input into the total figure) is available here.

Three of these top charities’ work primarily focuses on reducing deaths and three implement programs that aim to increase recipients’ incomes and consumption. Though some of these recommendations are still working their way through our full grantmaking process, we expect the funds will be distributed in coming weeks, and we are excited to support these cost-effective organizations.