The GiveWell Blog

Carnival roundup

Thanks to all who participated in the Giving Carnival. The question was, “What charitable cause are you personally most passionate about?”, and different people read it in different ways.

Some people read it as: what’s your favorite organization?

Network For Good’s Katya names five organizations whose activities vary wildly, explaining that the common thread is a personal connection to the organizations and their work.

The Agitator’s Tom Belford supports the Ashoka social entrepreneurship program, pointing to its “breadth of human concern, its focus on the neediest on the planet, its ‘betting’ on the chemistry of person and idea, its enormous leveraging power, and its proven track record in country after country.”

Gillian, whose blog is called The School of St. Jude, gives the case for guess what organization. (Click to find out!)

Marianne Genetti plugs her organization, INOD.

Some people read it as: whom do you want to help and how?

I explore my passion for inner-city education, and my hatred for the notion that “the world as of 2007 is a reflection of justice.”

Clear Fund Program Officer Elie Hassenfeld prefers our Africa-centered causes. While I’m most motivated by wanting to knock down evil ideas, he’s more enraged by “badness”, the kind of incomptence/coordination problem that leads to children dying for lack of medicine that costs pennies.

Open Hands‘s Mark Petersen finds common threads in the recent projects that have excited him most. His personal experience has made him passionate about Colombia, as well as about projects that “don’t ignore spiritual needs.”

The Nonprofiteer defends reproductive freedom for women, and like me is heavily motivated by the “bad guys” who oppose her: “In supporting this goal I’m swimming against the tide of fundamentalism; so much the better.”

Molly focuses on the question of “what would I least likely wish to be born into,” and concludes that oppressed third-world girls are most in need of our help.

Some people read it as: what is the most fundamental way in which the world needs to change?

Gift Hub‘s Phil Cubeta outlines a rich vision of a world where “Each person is able and willing to interact in adulthood as a citizen among citizens, not just as a consumer or producer or salesperson.” He embraces plurality in giving, and is himself most interested in promoting better dialogue.

White Courtesy Telephone’s Albert Ruesga works his way, conceptually, to the “root cause” standing behind the problems we see: a broken political system. He concludes that campaign finance-reform should be the highest priority.

Some people read it as: why do you do what you do?

Gayle Roberts gives a full breakdown of “how I currently give of my time, talent and treasure.”

Evonne Heyning says that it all comes down to love.

Closing thoughts

As expected and intended, this was a huge mishmash of different perspectives. If one thing surprised me (besides the different ways in which the question was read), it was how little “tribalism” I saw. It’s conventional wisdom that people support the organizations whose people they’ve met and the causes that have affected them and their friends, but this particular group of people seems more interested in “giving in general,” and open to all the many possible ways to fight for better lives for others.