Author: Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

We’ve decided to rename the Maximum Impact Fund to better describe what opportunities this fund supports. The Maximum Impact Fund will now be called the Top Charities Fund.

We recently announced changes to our top charity criteria that include a new requirement for our top charities: that we have a high degree of confidence in our expectations about the impact of their programs. Alongside this update, we also introduced a new giving option, the All Grants Fund. The All Grants Fund supports the full range of GiveWell’s grantmaking and can be allocated to any grant that meets our cost-effectiveness bar—including opportunities outside of our top charities and riskier grants with high expected value.[1]

The new All Grants Fund is a complement to what we have called our Maximum Impact Fund, which is granted to cost-effective opportunities among our top charities. However, we’ve received feedback that describing the fund that supports grantmaking only to our top charities as having “Maximum Impact” is confusing in light of the opportunity to support a wider range of opportunities (with potentially higher expected value) through the All Grants Fund.

Based on this feedback, we’ve decided to change the name of the Maximum Impact Fund to the Top Charities Fund.

Only the name is changing—we aren’t making any further changes to the underlying fund beyond those discussed in our previous post, so any incoming donations designated for the Maximum Impact Fund will automatically be allocated to the Top Charities Fund. We will continue to use donations to this fund to support the highest-priority funding needs among our top charities each quarter. As before, we will apply the same cost-effectiveness bar across our grantmaking, regardless of whether the funding comes from the All Grants Fund or Top Charities Fund.

We appreciate everyone who provided feedback and hope that the new name provides more clarity about how donations to our funds will be used.

More details about our funds and their impact are here.


  1. The expected value of a grant is the value of the grant’s outcomes multiplied by the probability that those outcomes will be realized. ↩︎

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3 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:30 PM

I am curious whether funds which were previously allocated to the Maximum Impact Fund, before you added the "high confidence" modifier, will now be allocated to your this other set, rather than to the grants you expect to have the highest expected impact.

Hi, Nuno,

To clarify, "Maximum Impact Fund" was our previous name for the fund that we allocated toward the highest-priority gaps within our top charities. The name of that fund is now "Top Charities Fund," and it'll continue to be used to fill top-charity funding gaps. The function hasn't changed, only the name (and now, given our recent update to our criteria for top charities, it will be distributed among a smaller set of programs).

We think the All Grants Fund and Top Charities Fund will likely be of similar cost-effectiveness, since we are using the same cost-effectiveness bar (currently 10x cash) for grants from both funds. But because the All Grants Fund may be used for higher-expected-value opportunities that don't necessarily meet the "confidence" criterion, it's possible that All Grants Fund will be higher-expected-value overall.

I'm not 100% sure I'm interpreting your query correctly, so please let me know if I can clarify anything further!

Best,
Miranda

Received, cheers