The GiveWell Blog

September 2023 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.


  • Lamar Freed on September 6, 2023 at 5:18 pm said:

    I was impressed that all donations go to charities, however your staff have to be paid. I would be interested to know how you are funded. It is not on your website and ought to be listed next to the statement about all donations going to charity. I would think that the money used to do the work of this organization ought to count as a donation to the organization, which would make your original assertion inaccurate. I am eager to get a reply.

  • Raphael Falco on September 8, 2023 at 6:29 am said:

    Can you explain what you mean by Conditional cash transfers in northern Nigeria. What makes them ‘conditional’? what are the conditions?

    • Roman Guglielmo on September 12, 2023 at 4:49 pm said:

      Hi Raphael,

      Thanks for your question!

      The program run by our top charity, New Incentives provides small cash transfers to caregivers when they bring their babies to clinics for routine vaccinations (which are provided by the government free of charge). The cash transfers are meant to both cover the costs of caregivers’ transportation to and from the clinics, and provide additional encouragement to ensure that children get their full schedule of shots.

      You can read more about New Incentives’ program here and here.

      I hope that’s helpful!


  • Ira Sohn on September 9, 2023 at 1:23 am said:

    I appreciate all the work you put into analyzing the impact that each $1 goes to a specific charity. Do you have an updated analysis on how far our dollars go by donating to charities like Heifier International, WaterAid,, and New Story?

    If you have not done a report on New Story, can you let us know when you will investigate the impacts of donating to that charity? Their innovative approach to solving the global safe housing shortage is unique and something that I’m wondering if it’s worth supporting.

    • Roman Guglielmo on September 27, 2023 at 4:14 pm said:

      Hi Ira,

      We last reviewed Heifer Project International in 2010, and determined that it was unlikely to meet our criteria based on our previous research, so we did not prioritize further research on the organization.

      While we haven’t investigated WaterAid or specifically, we have researched and directed funding to some water quality programs, such as Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water and in-line chlorination programs. You read more about our research on water quality interventions here.

      We haven’t prioritized research on organizations working on housing or homelessness. Rather than trying to investigate as many charities or cause areas as possible, we focus on finding outstanding funding opportunities that are evidence-backed, cost-effective, transparent, and underfunded.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.


  • I’m curious on your take on feeding children in poor countries, and specifically the charity Akshaya Patra: . It is highly rated by Charity Navigator and funding a child’s lunch for $20/year is plausibly a cost-effective way to improve nutrition and educational outcomes. I would appreciate your more in-depth and quantitative analysis. I only see one mention of Akshaya Patra on your blog, from a 2011 decision to consider and deprioritize nutrition.,Akshaya%20Patra,-as%20unlikely%20to

    • Roman Guglielmo on October 4, 2023 at 5:09 pm said:

      Hi Tim,

      We deprioritized further research on Akshaya Patra because we felt it was unlikely to ultimately meet our top charity criteria. However, in recent years we have prioritized research on nutrition interventions in general, and have directed funds to multiple programs in this area. For example, in 2021, we directed grants to the Alliance for International Medical Action for its malnutrition program in Niger, and to Fortify Health to expand its wheat flour fortification program in India. We plan to continue our research on nutrition interventions and consider future funding opportunities in this area.

      I hope that’s helpful! Please let me know if you have any other questions.


      • Thank you for the response. It is interesting to hear that nutrition programs do meet your criteria. Given that some nutrition programs now meet your criteria, I’m interested in any reasons you can provide that Akshaya Patra does not meet your criteria.

        • Roman Guglielmo on October 26, 2023 at 1:35 pm said:

          Hi Tim,

          In 2022, we decided to deprioritize further research on school feeding programs because we estimated their cost-effectiveness to be below the range of programs we would consider directing funding to. That said, we are open to considering other programs that increase consumption among children, including Akshaya Patra’s program and others like it, in the future,



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