How do we decide what to fund?

The mission of Good Ventures is to help humanity thrive. The goal of our giving is to improve the lives of as many people as possible as much as possible. Read more about the core principles that guide our work.

Focus Areas

As a new foundation, we’ve decided not to commit to focus areas just yet. Instead, we’re taking time to learn about causes across the major categories of philanthropy — direct aid, research and development, and policy advocacy — in search of areas where we could have a particularly large impact long-term.

When we’ve found clearly effective or especially promising efforts, we’ve given right away. We’re also making “learning grants” to help us gain experience and access to organizations working on causes we find promising. Visit Our Portfolio or our Grants Database to learn more about the grants we've made so far.


Two of our current strategies for learning involve collaboration with other funders:

  1. We’re partnering with GiveWell to research giving opportunities in international aid and other areas of mutual interest. Read about the details of our working relationship with GiveWell.
  2. We’re co-funding projects with other foundations to learn how experienced funders identify, monitor and evaluate projects.


One of our core goals and values is transparency. To that end, we seek to publish notes from our conversations with charities, issue-area experts and other funders. We also seek to publish the documents we receive from grantees, grant seekers and partners. We never publish conversation notes or documents without the explicit permission of the organizations involved. But we do take charities’ and partners’ willingness to be transparent into account when making funding decisions.

There can be good reasons for keeping information confidential, and we reserve the right to do so at our discretion. But we’re aiming for transparency to be our default choice, and to raise the bar among foundations for sharing information.

A Note to Grant Seekers

Good Ventures does not accept or respond to unsolicited requests for funding, letters of inquiry or other materials. This approach allows our small staff to focus on deliberate, proactive research and grantmaking. Thank you for understanding.