Notes from Key Conversations

One of our goals as a foundation is to share as much as possible about what we’re learning and funding for the benefit of other donors. This goal stems from our hypothesis that more information transparency in the social sector — i.e. increasing the availability of honest, detailed information about other donors’ giving and charities’ activities and results — would lead many donors to make better giving decisions and philanthropy on the whole to add more value to society.

To that end, for the past several months we’ve been experimenting with taking notes during key conversations and — with the permission of those with whom we’ve spoken — posting summaries or conceptual transcripts of the conversations publicly.

Everyone with whom we speak reviews and approves the conversation notes before we publish them. We invite each person to edit the notes, and if he or she prefers to keep some or all of the notes confidential, we oblige, because we don’t want to create a disincentive for others to speak frankly with us.

So far, we’ve collected summaries of over 20 notable conversations in which Good Ventures has participated, with charities, academics and major foundations. Going forward, we hope to share notes from many more conversations, and we welcome your feedback on which are most interesting and useful to you.

Our transparency efforts are a work in progress, and we recognize that we have yet to put these conversations in context of our broader strategy. So please consider this a small step toward sharing more of what we’re learning and funding as we build out our organizational capacity and online presence.

In the meantime, we invite you to browse our notes from key conversations (earliest conversations available here, others here).

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our transparency efforts, and thanks to GiveWell in particular for demonstrating that this level of transparency is possible to achieve and sustain. To see GiveWell’s conversation notes, visit