The GiveWell Blog

Key questions about philanthropy, part 3: Making and evaluating grants

This post is third in a series on fundamental (and under-discussed) questions about philanthropy that we’ve grappled with in starting a grantmaking organization (see previous link for the series intro, and this link for the second installment). This post covers the following questions: When making a grant, should we focus most on evaluating the strategy/intervention,… Read More

Key questions about philanthropy, part 2: Choosing focus areas and hiring program staff

This post is second in a series on fundamental questions about philanthropy that we’ve grappled with in starting a grantmaking organization (see link for the series intro). In this post, we discuss the following questions: Should a funder set explicit focus areas, and if so, how should they choose the focus areas? We believe it… Read More

Has violence declined, when large-scale atrocities are systematically included?

Note: I wrote the following on my personal time, then cleaned it up slightly for public consumption. This post is not directly related to GiveWell’s work, but we thought readers might find it interesting anyway. It provides a simple supplementary analysis to the argument presented in The Better Angels Of Our Nature that violence has… Read More

Key questions about philanthropy, part 1: What is the role of a funder?

This post was updated on July 6 with language edits but substantially unchanged content. As a new funder, we’ve found it surprisingly difficult to “learn the ropes” of philanthropy. We’ve found relatively little reading material – public or private – on some of the key questions we’re grappling with in starting a grantmaking organization, such… Read More

Incoming Program Officer for criminal justice reform: Chloe Cockburn

We’re excited to announce that Chloe Cockburn has accepted our offer to join the Open Philanthropy Project team as a Program Officer, leading our work on criminal justice reform. She expects to start in August and to work from New York, where she is currently based. She will lead our work on developing our grantmaking… Read More

Funder-initiated startups

We’ve come across many cases where a funder took a leading role in creating a now-major nonprofit. This has been surprising to us: it intuitively seems that the people best suited to initiate new organizations are the people who can work full-time on conceiving an organization, fundraising for it, and doing the legwork to create… Read More