GiveWell is a nonprofit charity evaluator based in San Francisco. They conduct and publish research into the most cost-effective giving opportunities in global health and development.[1]

History

GiveWell was started by Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld in 2007.[2] GiveWell also helped incubate Open Philanthropy, which was spun off as a separate entity in 2017.[2]

Top charities

GiveWell publishes a list of "top charities" based on cost-effectiveness and quality of evidence.[3] The list is updated annually. As of August 2022, the top GiveWell charities are:

  1. Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention program;
  2. Against Malaria Foundation, which provides long-lasting insecticide-treated nets
  3. Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation program; and
  4. New Incentives, which provides conditional cash transfers for routine childhood vaccinations.

Standout charities

GiveWell used to also recognize a number of "standout charities" which, despite not meeting all of the criteria to be a top charity, were rated above nearly every other organization considered for evaluation.

The "standout charity" designation was discontinued in October 2021. GiveWell found that it caused confusion among some donors and was inconsistent with the goal of directing funds to the most cost-effective organizations.[4]

Impact

GiveWell estimates that it has directed over $1.1 billion to its recommended charities since 2012.[5] According to their latest report, the money directed to them in 2021 was nearly $330 million, a 50% increase from the roughly $220 million directed over the previous year.[6][7]

In November 2021, Open Philanthropy announced a substantial increase in the funds it plans to allocate to GiveWell's recommended charities: $300 million for 2021, with tentative plans to give an additional $500 million per year over the following two years. The decision was based on the perceived growth in GiveWell's ability to identify cost-effective opportunities, the significant growth in the assets Open Philanthropy expects itself and other related organizations to eventually distribute, and an increase in how much Open Philanthropy values saving lives relative to boosting income.[8]

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