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 rely on the research and recommendations of two organizations with which we partner closely: Open Philanthropy and GiveWell.

Open Philanthropy 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 Open Philanthropy focuses on causes that stand out on three criteria: importance, neglectedness and tractability. Current major focus areas include:

In choosing focus areas, Open Philanthropy 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 Open Philanthropy 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 2020, Good Ventures funded $266 million in grants recommended by Open Philanthropy, including $100 million to GiveWell’s top charities, standout charities, and incubation grants.[1] (These grants generally appear in both the Good Ventures and Open Philanthropy grants databases.)

Good Ventures makes a small number of grants in additional areas of interest to the foundation. Such grants totaled around $4.3 million in 2020. Check out Our Portfolio and Grants Database to learn more about the grants we've made so far.

A Note to Grantseekers

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

Footnotes
  1. [1]

    Because of delays between grant approvals and payments, these figures include grants paid between January 2020 and March 2021.