Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities 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 Good Ventures Open Philanthropy
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)days
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)

Brief history: Starting in 2011, when GiveWell first started working with Good Ventures, Good Ventures has been making grants to GiveWell top and standout charities. Over time, they have worked more closely together on deciding the amounts to be granted, and incorporating these into the room for more funding that is communicated to other donors. The grants are almost always announced along with the year-end recommendation refresh in late November. Starting 2016, the decision of "how much in total to allocate" was moved over to Open Philanthropy, and the grants began being listed in Open Philanthropy database. The decision on how to split the allocation between specific top and standout charities remains with GiveWell

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: The focus areas are the areas that GiveWell top and standout charities operate in, which are usually 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: GiveWell receives a total budget from Open Philanthropy of money that can be granted to top charities. The budget was $50 million in end 2016 and $75 million in end 2017. It grants some minimum amount to all top charities ($2.5 million per charity in 2017) and a smaller minimum amoun to all standout charities ($100,000 in 2017). For the rest of its total allocated amount, it allocates the money to the highest-priority funding gaps, using a greedy algorithm. Some top charities may end up getting no money other than the $2.5 million minimum. According to https://blog.givewell.org/2017/11/27/our-top-charities-for-giving-season-2017/#comment-946042 the willingness of other donors to fund specific charities is not a factor in the decision

Notes on grant publication logistics: The grants are not published separately on the GiveWell website; rather, the amounts and rationale are described in a long blog post along with the description of the refreshed top charity recommendations (see https://blog.givewell.org/2017/11/27/our-top-charities-for-giving-season-2017/ for the 2017 version). The grants later show up in the databases of Open Philanthropy (that signs off on them, despite not being involved in the individual grant decisions) and Good Ventures (that provides the actual financing)

Notes on grant financing: The financing for the grants comes from Good Ventures, which may give the money directly or via the Open Philanthropy Project Fund held by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The total budget is set by Open Philanthropy. The actual grants are usually made between December and February, after the announcement of the grant amounts in November.

Miscellaneous notes: For grants already published in the Good Ventures database, we use the date there as the authoritative grant date. For grants not yet published, we use the date of the donation announcement

Full donor page for donor Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities

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 9 2,500,000 6,094,444 100,000 100,000 500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000 5,000,000 7,000,000 9,750,000 25,000,000 25,000,000
Cash transfers 9 2,500,000 6,094,444 100,000 100,000 500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000 5,000,000 7,000,000 9,750,000 25,000,000 25,000,000

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 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012
Cash transfers (filter this donor) 9 54,850,000.00 2,500,000.00 5,000,000.00 9,750,000.00 25,000,000.00 12,000,000.00 600,000.00
Total 9 54,850,000.00 2,500,000.00 5,000,000.00 9,750,000.00 25,000,000.00 12,000,000.00 600,000.00

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 (12 documents)

Title (URL linked) Publication date Author Publisher Affected donors Affected donees Document scope Cause area Notes
Recommendation to Open Philanthropy for Grants to Top Charities 2019-11-26 GiveWell Open Philanthropy Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Malaria Consortium Helen Keller International Sightsavers Against Malaria Foundation END Fund GiveDirectly Development Media International Dispenses for Safe Water Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Periodic donation list documentation Global health and development The document details GiveWell's recommendation in 2019 for grants by Good Ventures (via the Open Philanthropy Project) to GiveWell top and standout charities. The overall amount of money recommended for allocation is $54.6 million, and the document explains that Open Phil's calculation that it may make sense to spend down more slowly was the reason for reducing the allocation from last year. It discusses the principles used for allocation: (1) Put significant weight on cost-effectiveness estimates, (2) Consider additional information not explicitly modeled about the organization, (3) Consider additional information not explicitly modeled about the funding gap, (4) Assess funding gaps at the margin, (5) Default to not imposing restrictions on charity spending, (6) Default to funding on a 3-year horizon, and (7) Ensure charities are incentivized to engage with the process. The three charities that get significant grants are Malaria Consortium for its SMC program ($33.9 million), Helen Keller International ($9.7 million), and Sightsavers ($2.7 million). Against Malaria Foundation, END Fund, and GiveDirectly receive the minimum "incentive grant" amount of $2.5 million that all top charities should receive. The top charity Deworm the World Initiative is not given an incentive grant because it received a previous grant through GiveWell discretionary grant that more than covers the incentive grant amount. 8 standout charities get $100,000 each
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 recommendation to Good Ventures 2018-11-26 Andrew Martin Catherine Hollander Elie Hassenfeld James Snowden Josh Rosenberg GiveWell Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Malaria Consortium Helen Keller International Against Malaria Foundation Deworm the World Initiative Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Sightsavers END Fund GiveDirectly Periodic donation list documentation Global health and development The document explains, along with a detailed rationale, the amounts that GiveWell is recommending to Good Ventures to grant to each of its top charities for the 2018 end-of-year giving season. The corresponding acknowledgement post from the Open Philanthropy Project was published on 2018-12-12 at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/2018-allocation-givewell-top-charities
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
Good Ventures and Giving Now vs. Later (2016 Update) 2016-12-28 Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveDirectly Malaria Consortium Sightsavers END Fund Development Media International Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Reasoning supplement Global health and development Explanation of reasoning that led to $50 million allocation to GiveWell top charities
Our updated top charities for giving season 2016 2016-11-28 Natalie Crispin GiveWell Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveDirectly Malaria Consortium Sightsavers END Fund Development Media International 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 three new top charities
Our updated top charities for giving season 2015 2015-11-20 Elie Hassenfeld Josh Rosenberg GiveWell Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveDirectly Development Media International Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Iodine Global Network Living Goods Evaluator consolidated recommendation list GLobal health and global poverty No change to charity list; significant funding recommended from Good Ventures. This would be later classified as Open Philanthropy Project spending
Our updated top charities 2014-12-01 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveDirectly Development Media International Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Iodine Global Network Living Goods Evaluator consolidated recommendation list Global health and development Against Malaria Foundation returned to top charities list. Amounts donated by Good Ventures would later be classified as Open Philanthropy Project spending
Our Giving Season Plans 2013-12-03 Cari Tuna Good Ventures Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveDirectly Deworm the World Initiative Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Periodic donation list documentation Global health and development Good Ventures announced $2 million to GiveDirectly, $1.5 million to DtWI, and $750000 to SCI. Also announced up to $5 million in matching funds for GiveDirectly, despite disagreement from GiveWell
GiveWell’s top charities for giving season 2013 2013-12-01 Holden Karnofsky GiveWell Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Against Malaria Foundation GiveDirectly Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative Evaluator consolidated recommendation list Global health and development Against Malaria Foundation not in top charities list (it was in 2013) due to room for more funding issues. Good Ventures allocations not included in this post

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (9 donations)

Graph of all donations, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 9)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
2,500,000.0052018-12Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support-december-2018GiveWell Donation process: The grant is based on GiveWell's recommendation. GiveWell made the recommendations as part of its end-of-year recommendations to Good Ventures, along with allocations to other GiveWell top and standout charities. The total budget is based on guidelines set by the Open Philanthropy Project. GiveWell explains the process in detail at https://blog.givewell.org/2018/11/26/our-recommendation-to-good-ventures/ Charity status updates in 2018 are at https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/updates-in-november-2018#GiveDirectly

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant for general operating support, which has GiveWell top charity status; see http://www.givewell.org/charities/give-directly GiveDirectly transfers cash to households in developing countries via mobile phone-linked payment services. It targets extremely low-income households.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: GiveWell recommends GiveDirectly for the following reasons: (1) Program has strong track record and low burden of proof. (2) Strong monitoring process. (3) Documented success. (4) Standout transparency. (5) Room for more funding. The full GiveWell review is at https://www.givewell.org/charities/give-directly and the top charity selection is at https://blog.givewell.org/2018/11/26/our-updated-top-charities-for-giving-season-2018/

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): GiveWell explains the principles affecting its decision of how much money to allocate to each charity in https://blog.givewell.org/2018/11/26/our-recommendation-to-good-ventures/ (1) Put significant weight on our cost-effectiveness estimates. (2) Consider additional information about an organization that we have not explicitly modeled. (3) Assess charities’ funding gaps at the margin, i.e., where they would spend additional funding, where possible. (4) Default towards not imposing restrictions on charity spending. (5) Fund on a three-year horizon, unless we are particularly uncertain whether we will want to continue recommending a program in the future. (6) Ensure charities are incentivized to engage with our process. Ultimately, GiveWell decides to only allocate to GiveDirectly the minimum amount for top charities, i.e., $2.5 million

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Part of GiveWell's end-of-year recommendations for Good Ventures, so the timing is determined by the timing of end-of-year recommendations (which is usually the week after Thanksgiving in the United States). The grant is made by Good Ventures shortly after the recommendations

Other notes: Even accounting for this grant, GiveWell identifies a remaining funding gap of over $100 million for GiveDirectly; this is the largest identified room for more funding of all GiveWell top charities. The grant page on the Open Philanthropy Project website is at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-health-and-development/miscellaneous/givedirectly-general-support-december-2018.
2,500,000.0052017-12Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support-december-2017GiveWell Grant is the $2.5 million minimum for being a top charity. Grant announced on 2017-11-27 at https://blog.givewell.org/2017/11/27/our-top-charities-for-giving-season-2017/ along with GiveWell top and standout charities list.
2,500,000.0052017-01Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support3GiveWell Grant for general support to a 2016 GiveWell top charity. Grant announced on 2016-11-28 at https://blog.givewell.org/2016/11/28/updated-top-charities-giving-season-2016/#Sec3a along with GiveWell top and standout charities list.
9,750,000.0022016-01Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support2GiveWell Intent to make grant announced on 2015-11-20 at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/11/18/our-updated-top-charities-for-giving-season-2015/#Sec4a along with grants to other GiveWell top charities.
25,000,000.0012015-08-03Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/research-and-ideas/blog/announcing-a-25-million-grant-to-givedirectlyGiveWell One-off grant to top charity over three years also announced at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/08/03/good-ventures-25-million-grant-to-givedirectly/.
5,000,000.0042014-12-01Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-supportGiveWell Grant announced at https://blog.givewell.org/2014/12/01/our-updated-top-charities/ based on GiveWell charity recommendations in the same post; see also https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/November-2014 and the review https://www.givewell.org/charities/give-directly/December-2014-review. Affected countries: Kenya.
7,000,000.0032014-01Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support-december-and-january-2013GiveWell Grant announced at http://www.goodventures.org/research-and-ideas/blog/our-giving-season-plans on 2013-12-03 by Cari Tuna, including 2 million unconditional + 5 million in matches. Full match amount paid out. Match was not approved by GiveWell. Grant based on GiveWell top charities list at https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/November-2013 and https://blog.givewell.org/2013/12/01/givewells-top-charities-for-giving-season-2013/ and the 2013 review: https://www.givewell.org/international/top-charities/give-directly/November-2013-review. Affected countries: Kenya.
500,000.0082012-12-28Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support-december-2012GiveWell Grant made by Good Ventures and announced at http://www.goodventures.org/research-and-ideas/blog/year-end-grants-to-givewells-top-charities based on GiveWell top charity recommendations https://blog.givewell.org/2012/11/26/our-top-charities-for-the-2012-giving-season/ and https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/November-2012 and the 2012 review: https://www.givewell.org/charities/give-directly/November-2012-review.
100,000.0092012-05Cash transfershttp://www.goodventures.org/our-portfolio/grants/givedirectly-general-support-may-2012GiveWell Along with grants to five other standout charities, see http://www.goodventures.org/research-and-ideas/blog/grants-to-standout-charities from 2012-08-06. Amount of 100000 for GiveDirectly was twice the amount of 50000 for each of the other top and standout charities. Affected countries: Kenya.