Partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts

Throughout the post, “we” refers to GiveWell and Good Ventures, who work as partners on the Open Philanthropy Project.

We have agreed to a major partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of our work on criminal justice reform. Good Ventures will provide $3 million to support and expand the work of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP), which aims "to advance data-driven, fiscally sound policies and practices in the criminal and juvenile justice systems that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs" through technical assistance to states, research and public education, and promotion of nontraditional alliances and collaboration around smart criminal justice policies.

We came into contact with Pew through our investigation on criminal justice reform. Our impression is that PSPP has been intensively involved in the criminal justice reform packages that have passed in over two dozen states since 2007. PSPP now seeks more funding to work in additional states, help states to cement existing reforms, explore the potential for reform at the federal level, and continue pursuing research and public education and engaging with nontraditional allies of reform.

In discussions with Pew, we have been impressed with the knowledge and thoughtfulness both of the PSPP team and of The Pew Charitable Trusts as a whole. It appears to us that Pew has worked in a substantial number of policy areas, often with concrete goals and concrete stated results over several-year time frames, and that Pew has a good deal of general capacity for assessing the opportunities in a policy space and developing a relatively systematic strategy for working within it. (This does not mean that we see eye to eye with Pew on all matters. We believe it sets policy priorities using a different value system from ours; for example, we have stronger interest in foreign aid and other issues related to developing-world poverty reduction.) More information on Pew as a whole will be forthcoming, including notes from a day-long visit in November and a potential historical case study on its work in an another area. Our current writeup includes an assessment of the track record of PSPP specifically.

We see this partnership as an important step on multiple fronts:

Our full writeup has further discussion of PSPP, its track record, our cost-effectiveness estimate, and the case for (and details of) this collaboration.

Read our writeup on our partnership with PSPP.

Note that we believe PSPP has room to productively use more than the $3 million Good Ventures will be providing. Donors interested in contributing to PSPP should contact us.