The Founders Pledge Perspective
Despite substantial progress in recent decades on development goals, nearly half the world lives on less than $2.50 per day. This poverty leads to a huge amount of hardship and unnecessary loss of life. In 2019, more than five million children under five years old died, mostly from preventable causes like diarrhea, malaria, and respiratory infections.Poverty is also associated with hunger, exposure to conflict, and limited access to education and other opportunities. We believe that all individuals, regardless of where they were born, deserve the chance to live happy, healthy, and prosperous lives.
Global inequality in mortality, health, poverty and more is a tragic, but not unsolvable, problem. Researchers, advocates, and organizations around the world are working to scale up solutions to these problems. By taking a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to philanthropy that accelerates the best of these solutions, we can do immense good.
Managed by two members of the Founders Pledge Research team, the Global Health and Development Fund identifies and supports highly-impactful and neglected development initiatives. By pooling donations and collaborating with other funding and research organizations, the Fund allows individuals to make contributions when and where they will have the largest impact.
Our Approach to Grantmaking
When evaluating potential grants, we consider several key points:
- Counterfactual impact. Our grants are designed to create a meaningful outcome that would not otherwise have happened. In particular, we aim to make grants that otherwise wouldn’t have been made, rather than those which just take the place of other philanthropists’ donations. This means that you can rely on the Funds to create meaningful, real change, rather than just maintaining the status quo.
- The grant’s potential outcomes. We focus on outcomes (e.g. how many lives were saved), rather than outputs (e.g. how many products were delivered). We review all the available evidence and take into account cost-effectiveness to assess whether the grant money could produce more good if donated elsewhere.
- The organization’s funding gap. Not all organizations are set up to scale up their programming and many can’t productively absorb large amounts of unsolicited funding. We evaluate all potential grantees’ capacity for growth and consider how much money they could put to good use.
- Organizational strength. Particularly with unrestricted funding, it’s important to have trust in the leadership and capacity of the organizations we support. We look at their track record of success and their transparency about failures as well as successes, and we only support those organizations which are exceptionally well run. We also look for organizations that demonstrate a strong commitment to measuring outcomes and evaluating the impact of their programs.
- Time-sensitive opportunities. In many cases, highly competent organizations identify time-critical opportunities for impact that require funding on a shorter timeline than traditional funders can support. In addition to considering these quick-turnaround opportunities in a timely manner, we plan to provide unrestricted funding streams to enable organizations to make new hires, start new campaigns and programs, and act on opportunities that come their way.
Can charities apply for money from the Fund?
The Funds do not generally accept applications from charities. If the Fund Managers choose to open up an application round, this will be publicized. Charities are requested not to send unsolicited applications for funding.
How frequently will you make grants from the Fund?
Fund Managers will review grant-making decisions on a quarterly basis. Decisions will be made based on the value of Funds and the available options for high-impact grant-making. We may sometimes delay grant-making if we believe that waiting for more promising opportunities will be more impactful. Conversely, we may disburse funds outside of our quarterly review dates if we become aware of a particularly promising and time-sensitive funding opportunity.
How will my contribution be used?
All funds are granted out. The Fund is not an investment vehicle. The Fund does not use any percentage of contributions to cover staff time or other overhead costs. Every dollar contributed to the Fund will be used to make grants directly to end-user organizations creating a real difference.