- Top charities
GiveWell aims to find the best giving opportunities we can and recommend them to donors. We tend to put a lot of investigation into the organizations we find most promising, and de-prioritize others based on limited information. When we decide not to prioritize an organization, we try to create a brief writeup of our thoughts on that charity because we want to be as transparent as possible about our reasoning.
The following write-up should be viewed in this context: it explains why we determined that we wouldn't be prioritizing the organization in question as a potential top charity. This write-up should not be taken as a "negative rating" of the charity. Rather, it is our attempt to be as clear as possible about the process by which we came to our top recommendations.
The last time we examined Acumen Fund was in 2009. In our latest open-ended review of charities, we determined that it was unlikely to meet our criteria based on our past examination of it, so we did not revisit it.
We invite all charities that feel they meet our criteria to apply for consideration.
The content we created in 2009 appears below. This content is likely to be no longer fully accurate, both with respect to what it says about Acumen Fund and with respect to what it implies about our own views and positions. With that said, we do feel that the takeaways from this examination are sufficient not to prioritize re-opening our investigation of this organization at this time.
Published: May 2010
Published: May 2010
In our evaluations of Acumen Fund, we have not been able to answer key questions (see our blog post).
We have considered Acumen Fund at 3 times: Acumen Fund applied to us for a grant in late-2009; we reviewed Acumen Fund's website in mid-2009, and Acumen Fund applied to us for a grant in late-2007. Details on each follow below.
Acumen Fund applied for funding through our grant application process for organizations working on economic empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Acumen Fund did not advance past our Round 1 screen because it did not meet any of the criteria below. For more information about this grant, see our overview page for this grant.
We looked for the following in conducting our Round 1 screen and considered further any organization that met at least one of the criteria below:
For more information about why we chose these, see our reasoning behind these criteria.
Acumen Fund requested that all submitted materials remain confidential.
In mid-2009, we reviewed the Acumen Fund's website as part of a process to identify top international aid organizations. (How did we identify charities for review?) We reviewed Acumen Fund's website to determine whether it met either of the following two criteria, which we believe indicate whether a charity is likely to eventually be able to meet our full criteria for a recommendation: (Why do we rely on information found on a charity's website?)
Acumen Fund did not meet either of these criteria.
Acumen Fund applied for our funding and recommendation for saving lives or reducing poverty in Africa, but did not advance past our Round 1 screen, which aimed at finding charities with strong self-documentation. For more information, see our overview page for this grant.
Specifics of why Acumen Fund did not advance
We used the following principles in conducting our Round 1 screen for this cause:
Acumen Fund was among the charities that did not provide this type of evidence and instead submitted evidence that gave descriptions of their activities relying on one or more of the following: anecdotes, newspaper articles, survey data (types of evidence that we are skeptical about, as we have written on our blog), and evidence of the size of the problems they were attacking - but did not give us information that gave us high confidence that their programs were creating positive life change, or information that we felt could begin to get at their cost-effectiveness in changing lives. It's possible that Acumen Fund has the information we want, and didn't send it due to misinterpretations of our application, time constraints, or other reasons. But due to time constraints of our own, we opted to focus on the applicants who seemed most promising.
Acumen Fund requested that all materials remain confidential.
Acumen Fund, "About Us."