How do we decide what to fund?

The mission of Good Ventures is to help humanity thrive, and we want to take the fullest possible advantage of the opportunity we have to serve others. That’s why the goal of our giving is to do as much good as we can — in other words, to improve as many lives as possible as much as possible. We are committed to learning from our successes and shortcomings, to sharing what we’re learning with others, and to being an outstanding partner to the organizations we support.

Our Partners

Currently, Good Ventures does not employ full-time staff. Instead, we largely rely on the research and recommendations of two organizations with which we partner closely: the Open Philanthropy Project and GiveWell.

The Open Philanthropy Project advises major donors on how to maximize the impact of their giving. It identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings.

GiveWell finds outstanding giving opportunities and publishes the full details of its analysis to help donors decide where to give. It recommends a small number of “top charities” that deliver evidence-backed, cost-effective and scalable programs.

Our Focus Areas

Our grantmaking in partnership with the Open Philanthropy Project focuses on causes that stand out on three criteria: importance, neglectedness and tractability. Current major focus areas include:

In choosing focus areas, the Open Philanthropy Project casts a wide net, considering a wide variety of causes and incorporating lessons from the history of philanthropy as well as the work of other major foundations today. Learn more about how the Open Philanthropy Project chooses focus areas here.

Our grantmaking in partnership with GiveWell focuses on global health and development, specifically on GiveWell’s top charities and “incubation grants,” which are aimed at identifying future top charities.

Our Grantmaking

In 2016, Good Ventures funded $123 million in grants recommended by the Open Philanthropy Project, including $63 million to GiveWell’s top charities. (These grants are listed in both the Good Ventures and Open Philanthropy Project grants databases.)

Good Ventures makes a small number of grants in additional areas of interest to the foundation. Such grants totaled around $5 million in 2016. Check out Our Portfolio and Grants Database to learn more about the grants we've made so far.


We believe philanthropy could have a greater impact by becoming more transparent. Very often, key discussions and decisions happen behind closed doors, and it’s difficult for outsiders to learn from and critique philanthropists’ work. We envision a world in which philanthropists increasingly document and share their research, reasoning, results and mistakes to help each other learn more quickly and serve others more effectively.

Learn more about our values here. Read about how the Open Philanthropy Project puts the principle of openness into practice here, and read about GiveWell’s approach to transparency here.

A Note to Grantseekers

Good Ventures does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. Read about the types of giving opportunities the Open Philanthropy Project and GiveWell are seeking here and here.