GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund donations made to Helen Keller International

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
Facebook page HelenKellerInternational
Websitehttp://www.hki.org
Twitter usernameHelenKellerIntl
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Keller_International
Instagram usernamehelenkellerintl

Full donee page for donee Helen Keller International

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 3 2,600,000 5,033,333 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 11,000,000 11,000,000 11,000,000 11,000,000
Global health 3 2,600,000 5,033,333 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,500,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 2,600,000 11,000,000 11,000,000 11,000,000 11,000,000

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 2021 2020 2019
Global health (filter this donor) 3 15,100,000.00 11,000,000.00 1,500,000.00 2,600,000.00
Total 3 15,100,000.00 11,000,000.00 1,500,000.00 2,600,000.00

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 (3 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesAffected influencersDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Announcing our 2019 top charities2019-11-26Catherine Hollander GiveWellGiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Malaria Consortium Against Malaria Foundation Helen Keller International Deworm the World Initiative Sightsavers The END Fund GiveDirectly Schistosomiasis Control Initiative GiveWell Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentGiveWell 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, The 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
Our updated top charities for giving season 20182018-11-26Catherine Hollander GiveWellGiveWell Maximum Impact Fund Open Philanthropy GiveWell top charities Malaria Consortium Helen Keller International Against Malaria Foundation Deworm the World Initiative Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Sightsavers The END Fund GiveDirectly GiveWell Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentGiveWell 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 20172017-11-27Natalie Crispin GiveWellGiveWell 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 The 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 GiveWell Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentGiveWell 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 (3 donations)

Graph of all donations, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 3)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
11,000,000.0012021-06Global health/nutrition/vitamin A supplementationhttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Donation process: https://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund/allocation-q1-2021#How_did_we_arrive_at_our_allocation explains the seven principles followed in deciding the allocation: "Principle 1: Put significant weight on our cost-effectiveness estimates. Principle 2: Consider additional information that we have not explicitly modeled about an organization. Principle 3: Consider additional information that we have not explicitly modeled about a funding gap. Principle 4: Assess charities' funding gaps at the margin, i.e., how they would spend additional funding, where possible. Principle 5: Default to not imposing restrictions on charities' spending. Principle 6: Default to funding on a three-year horizon, modifying to preserve our options for the future where doing so is low-cost. Principle 7: Ensure charities are incentivized to engage with our process." There are more details in the document.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "$3.5 million will fund VAS campaigns in Cameroon in the second half of 2021 through the first half of 2024. $7.5 million will fund VAS campaigns in Nigeria in the second half of 2021 through the end of 2024."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page https://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund/allocation-q1-2021#Helen_Keller_International has "Case for the grant" sections for both the Nigeria and Cameroon grants. Estimates for cost-effectiveness were 24x cash for Nigeria (with an uncertainty and a lower estimate of 8x cash) and 28x for Cameroon. There are more details on te grant page.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount matches the intended use of funds: "$3.5 million will fund VAS campaigns in Cameroon in the second half of 2021 through the first half of 2024. $7.5 million will fund VAS campaigns in Nigeria in the second half of 2021 through the end of 2024." It does not use up the entirety of available funds for granting; an additional $2.5 million is granted to other grantees.
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 81.48%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): This discretionary regrant is done for each quarter, usually within 2 to 3 months of the end of the quarter. This particular grant is for Q1 2021 (January to March) and would therefore be expected to be in Q2 2021, which it is.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 42

Other notes: Affected countries: Cameroon|Nigeria; announced: 2021-08-31.
1,500,000.0032020-03Global health/nutrition/vitamin A supplementationhttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Donation process: According to https://blog.givewell.org/2020/03/17/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q4-2019/#allocationprocess "We decide how to allocate discretionary funds by reviewing which of our top charities’ unmet funding needs, or “funding gaps,” are the most cost-effective and time-sensitive. In January 2020, we asked HKI, Malaria Consortium, and SCI Foundation (SCI) for updates on their funding needs. [...] We did not request updated funding information from our other five top charities. [...] We were not informed of any opportunities this quarter outside of the information we received from HKI, Malaria Consortium, and SCI."

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the vitamin A supplementation (VAS) program, which has GiveWell top charity status.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: https://blog.givewell.org/2020/03/17/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q4-2019/#hki says: "In 2019, HKI told us that it did not expect Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to renew its support for VAS programs in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya from 2020 onward. HKI confirmed in January 2020 that GAC had not renewed its funding. We consider HKI’s VAS program in Côte d’Ivoire to be highly cost-effective. Our top priority for fourth-quarter discretionary funds is filling the $1.5 million funding gap left by GAC in Côte d’Ivoire from 2020 to 2022."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The funding gap for Côte d’Ivoire is $1.5 million, and is the highest-priority funding gap identified. Since the total funds available of $13.4 million are in excess of this funding gap, the entire funding gap is filled by the grant.
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 11.19%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): This discretionary regrant is done for each quarter, usually within 2 to 3 months of the end of the quarter. This particular grant is for Q4 2019 (October to December) and would therefore be expected to be in Q1 2020, which it is.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 34

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: Since this grant fills the highest-priority funding gaps, there are no immediate plans for further grants.

Donor retrospective of the donation: The next grants from the Maximum Impact Fund to Helen Keller International would be for Q1 2021; see https://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fund/allocation-q1-2021 for details. This would be for different countriees.

Other notes: https://blog.givewell.org/2020/03/17/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q4-2019/#uncertainties discusses some uncertainties. For HKI: "We don’t know whether, in the absence of a GiveWell grant to HKI, VAS campaigns in the districts formerly funded by GAC would be skipped or if HKI would reallocate other available funding to support these campaigns. Reallocation of HKI’s available funding would make its funding gap in Côte d’Ivoire less time-sensitive but would leave funding gaps for other work in a year or two. These new gaps would be our top priority to fill due to their high cost-effectiveness. We haven’t resolved this question because we believe our discretionary grant to HKI will support the most cost-effective unfunded work we are aware of, regardless of time-sensitivity.". Affected countries: Côte d’Ivoire; announced: 2020-03-17.
2,600,000.0022019-12Global health/nutrition/vitamin A supplementationhttps://www.givewell.org/maximum-impact-fundGiveWell Donation process: GiveWell looked at the funding gap and value of marginal funds for each of its top charities. The decision to allocate these funds happened shortly after the annual top charity refresh and the updated recommendations https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/2019/open-philanthropy-recommendation#Our_recommended_allocation_to_Open_Philanthropy to Good Ventures (via Open Philanthropy) on how much annual support to give to each top charity. It therefore took into account the amounts already recommended to Open Philanthropy, and calculated the best use of funds at the margin after that. The main competing charity for this grant was Sightsavers (deworming).

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the vitamin A supplementation (VAS) program, which has GiveWell top charity status. https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/2019/open-philanthropy-recommendation#Helen_Keller_International-s_VAS_program gives the expected allocation of this money plus $9.7 million from Open Philanthropy: "$5.5 million to continue its work in five countries (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Niger), including supplementing its budgets in 2020 and 2021 and extending its funding runway to 2022. Cost-effectiveness: 31x cash, $4.5 million to start a new program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with funding to cover 2020-2022. Cost-effectiveness: 27x cash, $2.4 million to expand its program to Bauchi State, Nigeria, with funding to cover 2020-2022. Cost-effectiveness: 25x cash."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://blog.givewell.org/2019/12/19/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q3-2019/#OurProcess "The first of these principles is to put significant weight on our cost-effectiveness estimates, which aim to capture total improvement in well-being per dollar spent. These estimates suggested that HKI’s VAS program had a very high priority funding gap (28x cash overall in the seven countries listed above)." The reason to select this instead of Sightsavers' deworming program: "we were considering changes to our deworming cost-effectiveness model and were uncertain whether we would estimate Sightsavers’ cost-effectiveness as higher or lower than HKI’s."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount is the amount donated by donors to GiveWell for discretionary regranting to top charities in Q3 2019; GiveWell allocates the money separately for each quarter.
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): This discretionary regrant is done for each quarter, usually within 2 to 3 months of the end of the quarter. This particular grant is for Q3 2019 (July to September) and would therefore be expected to be in Q4 2019, which it is.

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: https://blog.givewell.org/2019/12/19/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q3-2019/#BottomLine says: "We believe that Malaria Consortium’s program has the highest impact per additional dollar donated today. After the Open Philanthropy grant and the Q3 discretionary funding, additional donations to HKI’s VAS program would support funding gaps that we model as less cost-effective than the funding gaps on Malaria Consortium’s current margin."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The next round https://blog.givewell.org/2020/03/17/allocation-of-discretionary-funds-from-q4-2019/ would grant a furtheer $1.5 million to Helen Keller International's program, and consider the funding gap closed with the grant.

Other notes: Affected countries: Guinea|Mali|Burkina Faso|Côte d'Ivoire|Niger|Democratic Republic of the Congo|Nigeria; announced: 2019-12-19.