2018 Allocation to GiveWell Top Charities

In this post, “we” refers to Good Ventures and the Open Philanthropy Project, 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. Currently, the best giving opportunities we’ve found in the Global Health and Development focus area are recommended by GiveWell. (Read more about our relationship to GiveWell here.)

Throughout the course of this year, we have recommended GiveWell Incubation Grants to support the development of potential future top charities, as well as general support funding for GiveWell’s operations (capped at 20% of operating expenses for reasons described here). 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 coordinated with GiveWell on how to recommend grants from Good Ventures — 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 $64 million for top charities in 2018.

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 set a target of spending down the flexible bucket within the next 15 years, and recommended that Good Ventures grant $64 million this year. GiveWell recommended that the $64 million be allocated to its top charities as follows:

  • Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention program — $26.6 million
  • Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative — $10.4 million
  • Sightsavers' deworming program — $9.7 million
  • Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation program — $6.5 million
  • Against Malaria Foundation — $2.5 million
  • Schistosomiasis Control Initiative — $2.5 million
  • The END Fund's deworming program — $2.5 million
  • GiveDirectly — $2.5 million
  • Standout charities (combined) — $800,000

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

Three of these top charities whose work primarily focuses on reducing deaths, while five 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.