The GiveWell Blog

The biggest giver: Individuals

This week, Giving USA released their 2007 estimate of U.S. charitable giving. Its data forms one of our favorite figures, and one of the biggest factors behind our decision to start GiveWell. Taken together, individuals account for 75% of total US giving; that’s 6x as much as all foundations combined. (In fact, it makes more… Read More

Busting charities vs. donating

Would you rather hear about a good charity or a bad one? When I’m explaining GiveWell to someone, there often comes a moment where his/her eyes suddenly light up, and s/he says something like, “So you bust the bad guys, eh? Can you tell me about a really bad one you’ve nailed?” (Paraphrased.) This sort… Read More

Understanding the achievement gap

From 2004-2006, I gave all my donations to organizations focused on helping inner-city youth (particularly academically). Equality of opportunity was my favorite cause, and I assumed (without having time to really look into it) that inequality stemmed from the gap in quality between different grade schools. I now believe that this assumption was badly wrong,… Read More

Foundations and individuals

A new study sponsored by several major foundations (Gates, Packard, Hewlett, Irvine, and Robert Wood Johnson) found that among “engaged”* Americans, only: 43% can name a foundation on their first try 15% can cite an example of a foundation’s impact in their community 11% can cite an example of a foundation’s impact on an issue… Read More