Published: May 2022 (November 2021 version)
GiveWell directs hundreds of millions of dollars in grants annually to high-impact opportunities.
While much of the funding GiveWell directs is given to specific organizations chosen by donors, we also direct a significant amount of funding each year through our discretionary grantmaking. This grantmaking uses funding that’s intended to go to the highest-impact giving opportunities we identify, some of which may not be represented by organizations on our top charities list. In 2021, most of the funding we directed was through our grantmaking work rather than to charities specified by donors.
Funding for our grantmaking can come from several sources:
- We use donations to our Maximum Impact Fund to fill the highest-impact funding opportunities among our top charities.
- If we raise unrestricted funding beyond what we need to support our operations, we may use our unrestricted funding to grant to the highest-impact opportunities we can find, whether those opportunities are top charities or not.
- We recommend grants to the highest-impact opportunities we can find to third parties such as Open Philanthropy, fundraising organizations in effective altruism, and individual donors.
Some of our grants have the goal of incubating, scaling, or getting more certainty around a potential future top charity. Other grants are made purely on the basis of expected value, regardless of the recipient’s top charity status. For example, when we don’t think an organization is likely to ever meet our top charity criteria, but the grant is cost-effective and consistent with our mission to maximize global well-being, we may still make a grant to support the organization’s work.
We formerly referred to many of these grants as “GiveWell Incubation Grants.” We discontinued this name in May 2022 to better reflect that these grants are not exclusively used to incubate early-stage organizations.
- What types of organizations does GiveWell grant to?
- GiveWell’s top charities
- Organizations implementing potentially cost-effective and scalable programs
- Established organizations implementing cost-effective programs that we don’t expect to scale
- Organizations aiming to influence public health policy
- Organizations producing research to aid our grantmaking process
- Organizations that raise funds for our recommended charities
- What programs have GiveWell grants supported?
- How are GiveWell grants funded?
- How large are GiveWell grants?
- How can organizations apply for GiveWell grants?
- Database of all GiveWell grants
What types of organizations does GiveWell grant to?
We grant to a wide variety of organizations. The list below gives an overview and examples of some of the types of grants we make. This list is not exhaustive as not all of our grants are neatly categorized. You can see a list with most of our past grants at the bottom of this page.
GiveWell’s top charities
We grant to the highest-impact opportunities among our top charities. Funding for these types of grants often comes from the Maximum Impact Fund. An example of grants in this category:
- $79.9 million for Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) program in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Togo (January 2022). This program was extremely cost-effective in the past: we estimate that 2020 grants saved lives for $4,500 on average. This grant allows Malaria Consortium to maintain its current scale in several regions through 2023 or 2024 (depending on region).
Organizations implementing potentially cost-effective and scalable programs
These may be either early-stage organizations or established organizations. If these grants are successful, they may lead us to make much larger future grants. Examples of grants in this category:
- $5.9 million for general support of New Incentives (November 2017). New Incentives was founded in 2011, started exploring cash transfers to incentivize infant vaccination in the fall of 2014, and was ready to begin implementing this program at a larger scale by 2017. This $5.9 million grant was the first of a series intended to support New Incentives' operations through May 2020, for the duration of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the program. New Incentives has since become one of GiveWell’s top charities.
- $3.9 million for Evidence Action's program for syphilis screening and treatment in pregnancy (August 2020). We made this grant because we were optimistic about the cost-effectiveness of syphilis screening and treatment in pregnancy. There was already reasonably strong evidence showing that treating syphilis in pregnancy with benzathine penicillin G is effective in substantially reducing adverse outcomes. We also had confidence in the implementing organization because we had worked extensively with Evidence Action on some of its other programs.
Established organizations implementing cost-effective programs that we don’t expect to scale
We may grant to some high-impact opportunities with established organizations even if we do not expect the organization to scale its program. An example of grants in this category:
- $5 million to PATH to support ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi in the implementation of the RTS,S malaria vaccine (January 2022). The organizations involved had already been undertaking activities very similar to those funded by this grant in different areas within the same countries since 2019. We estimated this opportunity to be similarly cost-effective to some of our top charities.
Organizations aiming to influence public health policy
We believe that advocacy for public health policy could be highly cost-effective, but the mechanism for impact is different from the direct delivery programs that we have often funded in the past. An example of grants in this category:
- $7 million to the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention for general support (January 2021). Regulation banning dangerous pesticides may lead to a reduction in suicides using deadly pesticides.
Organizations producing research to aid our grantmaking process
The production of new research can inform our funding decisions, potentially leading to much more cost-effective grant allocations in the future. An example of grants in this category:
- $203,796 to Tufts University for the expansion of the Kenya Study of Water Treatment and Child Survival (September 2020). This grant is primarily funding evidence gathering. We believe it could potentially lead to high impact in the future by developing the evidence base for a promising program.
Organizations that raise funds for our recommended charities
This type of grant may leverage fundraising efforts and indirectly drive more funding to our recommended charities than we spent to support the grantee. An example of grants in this category:
- $260,798 for general support of One for the World (May 2021). We think that it is possible that this grant will indirectly lead to a larger amount of funding for our top charities.
What programs have GiveWell grants supported?
We’ve supported a variety of programs, typically in the global health and development space. We’re especially interested in supporting programs we’ve highlighted in our Prioritized List of Programs.
Some of the programs we’ve supported to this point include:
- Alcohol policy
- Conditional cash transfers
- Incentives for immunization
- Intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) for malaria
- Lead exposure prevention
- Malnutrition treatment
- Micronutrient fortification
- Pneumonia treatment
- Road traffic safety
- Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC)
- Syphilis prevention, testing, and treatment
- Unconditional cash transfers
- Water chlorination
How are GiveWell grants funded?
We use different sources of funding for different types of grants:
- We use donations to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund exclusively to fund opportunities within our top charities.
- We may use GiveWell’s unrestricted funding to grant to organizations on or outside our top charities list.
- We recommend grants to third parties. This includes Open Philanthropy, fundraising organizations in effective altruism, and individual donors.
How large are GiveWell grants?
How can organizations apply for GiveWell grants?
We aim to fund the most cost-effective opportunities we can find that have the potential to make a big impact for many people. We’re especially interested in organizations that have a large footprint or implement evidence-based programs. If your organization works in global health or research and would like to apply for a grant, you can fill out an application here. You can also view an overview of the full application and grantmaking process here.
If you have questions about applying, please contact email@example.com.
Database of all GiveWell grants
Some grants listed above were awarded by Good Ventures, which partnered with GiveWell to found Open Philanthropy in 2014. Open Philanthropy began operating independently in 2017, at which time we began listing it, not Good Ventures, as the funding source of many of the grants we recommend to top charities. Good Ventures remains a close partner of Open Philanthropy and GiveWell, and is the source of the vast majority of Open Philanthropy's current giving.
How to use this table
Here are a few pointers for how you can engage with the grants table:
- To filter by topic: You can use the "Filter" button to view different subsets of the grants in the table. To see grants related to a specific topic (e.g., malaria, pneumonia, salt iodization), click on "Filter," click "+ Add condition" if no filter conditions have been applied, change the first dropdown menu to "Topics," and select topics of interest from the third dropdown menu.
- To filter by GiveWell's designation for an organization: You can use a similar "Filter" process to see grants to GiveWell Incubation Grant recipients as well as top and standout charities. To do that, click on "Filter," change the first dropdown menu to "GiveWell Designation," and select the category of organization you'd like to see from the third dropdown menu. The categories we list here are:
- Top charity
- Former top charity: Organizations we have recommended in the past, and for which we have since discontinued our recommendation.
- Former standout charity: As of October 2021, we have discontinued our "standout charity" designation. For more detail on this decision, see this blog post.
- GiveWell Incubation Grant recipient
- Small discretionary grant
- To filter by recipient: Click on "Filter," change the first dropdown menu to "Recipient," and type the name of a grantee in the text box.
- To filter by funder: Click on "Filter," change the first dropdown menu to "Funder," and select a funder from the third dropdown menu.
- To apply multiple filters: You can apply multiple filters simultaneously by clicking "+ Add condition" under the "Filter" menu.
- To sort by grant date: To see the most recent grants, click on "Sort," select "Date" from the first dropdown menu, and click on "9 → 1."
- To see a full view of this table: For a full view of this table, see here.
Before 2014, our grants were much smaller than they have been in recent years, and we've chosen not to take the time to track down all of the grant recommendations we made before that time.