Published: March 2022
In December 2021, GiveWell recommended that Open Philanthropy make a $500,000 "incentive grant" to each of three top charities, for a total of $1.5 million. The three top charities were SCI Foundation, the END Fund, and GiveDirectly.
Each year since 2016, GiveWell has recommended that Open Philanthropy make a minimum grant to each of our top charities. These incentive grants are designed to compensate charities for the time they spend engaging with our process and for the risk they take by allowing us to write publicly about their strengths and weaknesses. From 2016-2019, the size of the incentive grants for top charities was $2.5 million. In 2020, we reset our standard top charity incentive grant amount to $500,000.
In December 2021, SCI Foundation, the END Fund, and GiveDirectly were the three top charities to which we had not or did not confidently expect to direct grants totaling $500,000 or more by the end of our metrics year, which runs from February-January. (Note that this total includes only grants that GiveWell specifically makes or recommends; it does not include donations made to GiveWell that are restricted to specific top charities.) We therefore decided to recommend the $500,000 incentive grant to each.
(Note that in January 2022, the last month in our 2021 metrics year, we recommended that Open Philanthropy make an additional grant of $20.1 million to SCI Foundation. At the time of recommending this incentive grant, we were uncertain whether we would do so. The January 2022 grant was designed to support activities totaling a $20.6 million funding need; from that amount we subtracted the $500,000 we had already directed to SCI Foundation through this incentive grant.)