GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund donations made to GiveDirectly

This is an online portal with information on donations that were announced publicly (or have been shared with permission) that were of interest to Vipul Naik. The git repository with the code for this portal, as well as all the underlying data, is available on GitHub. All payment amounts are in current United States dollars (USD). The repository of donations is being seeded with an initial collation by Issa Rice as well as continued contributions from him (see his commits and the contract work page listing all financially compensated contributions to the site) but all responsibility for errors and inaccuracies belongs to Vipul Naik. Current data is preliminary and has not been completely vetted and normalized; if sharing a link to this site or any page on this site, please include the caveat that the data is preliminary (if you want to share without including caveats, please check with Vipul Naik). We expect to have completed the first round of development by the end of March 2023. See the about page for more details. Also of interest: pageview data on analytics.vipulnaik.com, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donor information

ItemValue
Country United States
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)GiveWell
Best overview URLhttps://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/19/discretionary-grant-making-and-implications-for-donor-agency/
Websitehttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund
Donations URLhttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund
Page on philosophy informing donationshttps://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/19/discretionary-grant-making-and-implications-for-donor-agency/
Regularity with which donor updates donations datacontinuous updates
Regularity with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)continuous updates
Lag with which donor updates donations datamonths
Lag with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)months
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)

Brief history: GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund began as a "discretionary regranting" option where donors could give money to GiveWell to allocate to its top charities. This differed from simply giving to GiveWell top charities using the recommended allocation, because GiveWell would determine the best use of marginal funds at the time of each regrant decision. GiveWell began highlighting discretionary regranting with https://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/19/discretionary-grant-making-and-implications-for-donor-agency/ in late 2016, and announced some major discretionary regrants in 2017. Starting with the 2017 giving season, GiveWell's recommendation to donors has been to give it the money for discretionary regranting. Per https://www.givewell.org/sources/blog-post/q1-q2-2020-discretionary-funding-allocation discretionary regranting was renamed to "Maximum Impact Fund" in the first half of 2020.

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: The fund makes grants to GiveWell top charities, that are within the broad domain of global health and development. Top areas in recent years have included malaria, deworming, vitamin A supplementation, cash transfers, and seasonal intracountry migration.

Notes on grant decision logistics: For each discretionary regrant, which may be done about once a quarter, GiveWell looks at the most pressing of the needs of its top charities, and regrants funds based on those. Grant decisions have to be approved by the board. The grants using funds obtained by the end of a quarter are usually made within the next quarter.

Notes on grant publication logistics: Shortly after making the grant for a quarter, GiveWell publishes a blog post announcing and explaining the grant(s), and also updates https://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund to include the grant and link to the blog post. In addition to public announcement, individual donors are also notified where "their" money ended up getting allocated.

Notes on grant financing: Money for the grants mostly comes from funds that are either donated directly to the Maximum Impact Fund (by earmarking the donation to GiveWell as being for top charities) or, in some cases, from unrestricted donations to GiveWell that are in excess of what GiveWell needs for operations. In some cases, grants made via donors explicitly for specific charities but done through the fund may also be included. As a general rule, all available money in the Maximum Impact Fund at the end of a quarter is granted out by the end of the next quarter, so no reserve or buffer is built up in the Maximum Impact Fund. In the case of regrant to the Against Malaria Foundation, the original donors show up in the Against Malaria Foundation donor list.

This entity is also a donee.

Full donor page for donor GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund

Basic donee information

ItemValue
Country United States
Facebook page givedirectly
Websitehttps://www.givedirectly.org/
Donate pagehttps://www.givedirectly.org/give-now#
Donation case pagehttps://www.givedirectly.org/research-at-give-directly
Twitter usernameGive_Directly
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GiveDirectly
GiveWell reviewhttps://www.givewell.org/charities/give-directly
Instagram usernamegivedirectly
Key peoplePaul Niehaus|Rohit Wanchoo|Michael Faye|Jeremy Shapiro
Launch date2009

Full donee page for donee GiveDirectly

Donor–donee relationship

Item Value

Donor–donee donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 5 110,000 121,780 13,300 13,300 13,300 60,000 60,000 110,000 110,000 133,000 133,000 292,600 292,600
Cash transfers 5 110,000 121,780 13,300 13,300 13,300 60,000 60,000 110,000 110,000 133,000 133,000 292,600 292,600

Donation amounts by cause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given cause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

Note: Cause area classification used here may not match that used by donor for all cases.

Cause area Number of donations Total 2015 2014
Cash transfers (filter this donor) 5 608,900.00 438,900.00 170,000.00
Total 5 608,900.00 438,900.00 170,000.00

Graph of spending by cause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by cause area and year (cumulative)

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Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (4 documents)

Title (URL linked) Publication date Author Publisher Affected donors Affected donees Document scope Cause area Notes
Announcing our 2019 top charities 2019-11-26 Catherine Hollander GiveWell GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Malaria Consortium Against Malaria Foundation Helen Keller International Deworm the World Initiative Sightsavers END Fund GiveDirectly Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Evaluator consolidated recommendation list Global health and development GiveWell annual top charrities list. As in previous years, GiveWell recomemnds that donors donate to GiveWell to regrant to top charities at its discretion, but also provides its current ranked list of top charities to help donors make an informed decision. Its ranked list (from best to worst) is: Malaria Consortium (seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) program), Against Malaria Foundation, Helen Keller International (vitamin A suppplementation), charities that treat parasitic worm infections (Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative, Sightsavers, END Fund), and GiveDirectly. From the perspective of cause areas, the rank is: malaria > vitamin A supplementation > deworming > cash transfers. This is consistent with, and highly influenced by, the cost-effectiveness estimates that GiveWell uses. The post highlights Malaria Consortium as the charity to select for donors who want to give directly to a charity. The post links to a number of more in-depth write-ups explaining the charity ranking, as well as to https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/2019/open-philanthropy-recommendation which describes the recommendation to Open Philanthropy Project (and indirectly, to Good Ventures) on how to allocate funding to the top charities in 2019
Response to concerns about GiveWell’s spillovers analysis 2018-12-06 Josh Rosenberg GiveWell GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveDirectly Reasoning supplement Cash transfers The blog post explains in more detail how GiveWell came to its conclusions in its recent analysis of spillover effects from GiveDirectly's cash transfer program. In particular, it responds to a series of tweets from economist Berk Özler expressing concern over GiveWell for (1) using an unpublished paper as a key study, (2) placing little weight on some papers in its analysis of spillover effects, (3) focusing solely on consumption. While replying to the concerns, the GiveWell blog post also explains some of the broader principles used by GiveWell to determine when to use private information, and what evidence to review and what outcomes to consider
Our updated top charities for giving season 2018 2018-11-26 Catherine Hollander GiveWell GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Malaria Consortium Helen Keller International Against Malaria Foundation Deworm the World Initiative Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Sightsavers END Fund GiveDirectly Evaluator consolidated recommendation list Global health and development GiveWell annual top charities list. GiveWell recommends that donors donate to GiveWell to regrant to top charities at its discretion, but also provides details on the individual top charities so that people can make an informed decision. In addition, the amounts determined for GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund and for donation by Good Ventures are also included, though details of the amount recommended to Good Ventures are in a separate blog post https://blog.givewell.org/2018/11/26/our-recommendation-to-good-ventures/
Our top charities for giving season 2017 2017-11-27 Natalie Crispin GiveWell GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Malaria Consortium Deworm the World Initiative Helen Keller International Sightsavers END Fund No Lean Season GiveDirectly Development Media International Dispensers for Safe Water Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Evaluator consolidated recommendation list Global health and development GiveWell annual top charity refresh, also announced amounts recommended for Good Ventures to donate to top charities. Added two new top charities

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (5 donations)

Graph of all donations, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 5)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
133,000.0022015-07Cash transfershttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Grant uses money donated between January and May 2015. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 13.30%.
292,600.0012015-03Cash transfershttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Grant uses money donated between November and December 2014. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 13.30%.
13,300.0052015-01Cash transfershttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Grant uses money donated between July and October 2014. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 13.30%.
60,000.0042014-08Cash transfershttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Grant uses money donated between April and June 2014. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 60.00%.
110,000.0032014-05Cash transfershttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Grant uses money donated between January and March 2014. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 55.00%.