Our Grants to GiveWell’s 2014 Recommended Charities

I’m excited to announce a series of grants to GiveWell’s recommended charities for the 2014 giving season.

I hope you’ll join us in supporting these outstanding organizations working to alleviate poverty around the world — and doing so with an unusual degree of transparency and cost-effectiveness.

Good Ventures awarded the following grants to the organizations that earned GiveWell’s “top charity” rating:

We also awarded $250,000 grants to each of the charities that earned a “standout” rating from GiveWell:

How did GiveWell choose these charities to recommend?

GiveWell’s process begins by identifying programs with especially strong evidence of effectiveness that are inexpensive to deliver, such as distributing bed nets to protect against malaria, deworming to kill parasitic infections, iodizing salt to improve children’s cognitive development, and more.

GiveWell then looks for charities carrying out these programs that have a strong track record and are willing to discuss the details of their work publicly, including both successes and shortcomings. GiveWell thoroughly vets the most promising candidates, including traveling to visit the organizations in the field, and shares the details of its analysis publicly.

GiveWell has expanded its staff considerably over the past year, meaning it now has more capacity than ever to research promising programs and charities. Its growth is reflected in the number and variety of charities on its list of recommendations for the 2014 giving season. We’re grateful to the team at GiveWell for spending thousands of hours vetting these charities in 2014, and for continuously inspiring us to give as thoughtfully as we can.

Why does Good Ventures support Givewell’s recommended charities?

We’re in the midst of a multiyear project to identify focus areas for Good Ventures, where we’re likely to support work with high risks and high potential rewards, as well as work that could take a long time to pay off.

But we also want to do good quickly. We want to help empower people today, so that they’re in a better position to help themselves tomorrow and the next day. Each of GiveWell’s recommended charities represents one of the best opportunities we’ve found to help improve other people’s lives in the short term.

We hope that publicizing our grants to these charities will raise awareness about their work — and GiveWell’s recommendations — and encourage other donors to support them, too.

How did Good Ventures decide how much to contribute each organization?

Top charities

GiveWell worked with the charities it recommends most highly— AMF, GiveDirectly, SCI and DtWI — to understand how much additional, unrestricted funding each organization could use effectively over the next year or so. (For details on each charity’s funding needs, see GiveWell’s reviews.)

Good Ventures’ grants are meant to substantially increase the likelihood that these four charities meet their fundraising goals. But we haven’t attempted to close their funding gaps by ourselves, because it’s important for them to build a wide and sustainable base of donor support.

The grants we’re announcing today represent the full amount we intend to contribute to these charities over the next several months.

Standout charities

GiveWell also identified four charities — DMI, GAIN-USI, ICCIDD and Living Goods — that stand out for working on promising programs and sharing a substantial amount of information about their activities and track record.

In particular, GAIN and ICCIDD work on an exceptionally cost-effective and evidence-backed program: salt iodization. Meanwhile, DMI and Living Goods recently released data from randomized evaluations of their own programs, which is very rare among charities. In the case of ICCIDD, GAIN-USI and DMI, GiveWell hopes to learn even more about these charities in the coming years and believes they could receive its “top” rating in the future.

We decided to make smaller but still substantial grants to these organizations, to support their outstanding work and recognize them for participating in GiveWell’s intensive evaluation process.

More questions?

For more information about GiveWell’s 2014 recommendations, check out its blog announcement and recently updated charity reviews. If you have questions about Good Ventures’ grants, comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer.