Global Health and Development Fund

Basic Info

The Global Health and Development Fund aims to improve the health or economic empowerment of people around the world as effectively as possible.

Note: We are temporarily unable to display correct fund balances. Please ignore the balance shown below while we are fixing the issue.

Fund Balance

Fund Payouts

$19,172,176

to date

See all payout reports

Fund Scope

The Global Health and Development Fund recommends grants with the aim of improving people's lives, typically in the poorest regions of the world where the need for healthcare and economic empowerment is greatest. This will be achieved primarily by supporting projects that:

  • Directly provide healthcare, or preventive measures that will improve health, well-being, or life expectancy
  • Directly provide services that raise incomes or otherwise improve economic conditions
  • Provide assistance to governments in the design and implementation of effective policies

In addition, the Global Health and Development Fund has a broad remit, and may fund other activities whose ultimate purpose is to serve people living in the poorest regions of the world, for example by raising additional funds (e.g. One for the World) or by exploring novel financing arrangements (e.g. Instiglio).

The Fund manager recommends grants to GiveWell top charities as a baseline, but will recommend higher-risk grants they believe to be more effective (in expectation) than GiveWell top charities. As such, the fund makes grants with a variety of different risk profiles.

Read more about Fund scope and limitations

About the Global Health and Development Fund

The Fund is currently managed by GiveWell co-founder Elie Hassenfeld. Elie and GiveWell staff have extensive experience analyzing unusually promising opportunities in the global health and development space; GiveWell recommends charities that are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded.

Grantmaking and Impact

The Global Health and Development Fund has recommended several million dollars' worth of grants to a range of organizations, including:

Higher risk opportunities:

J-PAL’s Innovation in Government Initiative

The Innovation in Government Initiative provides technical assistance to governments in low- and middle-income countries, to help them implement and scale evidence-based policies. The program is backed by the renowned Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).

Instiglio

 Instiglio is an organization which assists in the technical design of results-based financing mechanisms. Instiglio is currently working with GiveWell, UBS Optimus, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to design a $50-100m Health Outcomes Fund, focused on primary health care.

Direct delivery:

Malaria prevention

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year (most of them children under 5 years of age), but methods to prevent it are cheap to implement, and have been largely responsible for substantially reducing the death rate over the last 20 years. The Fund has granted to the Against Malaria Foundation, which distributes insecticide-treated bednets, and to Malaria Consortium’s Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention program, which distributes antimalarial drugs at peak times of the year.

For more information, please check the full list of the Global Development Fund’s Payout Reports.

Why donate to this Fund?

Global health and development is a highly tractable area: even small donations can have a huge impact on improving people’s lives and preventing premature deaths.

The problem is also very large in scale. As of 2015, over 700 million people were living under the international poverty line of $1.90/day. The UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation estimates that nearly 15,000 children under the age of 5 die each day from preventable causes associated with extreme poverty.

While many organizations work on helping those in extreme poverty, the scale of the problem means there are still many outstanding giving opportunities with room for more funding.

The Fund makes grants to organizations directly serving people in low- and middle-income countries, as well as promising but higher-risk opportunities to help the global poor. As such, it is suitable for donors who want to take calculated risks, but who support more straightforward giving when the fund manager is unable to identify riskier opportunities they believe to be more effective (in expectation).

Why you might choose not to donate to this Fund

We think it’s important that donors are well informed when they donate to EA Funds. As such, we think it’s useful to think about the reasons that you might choose to donate elsewhere.

You prefer particular types of giving opportunities within global health & development

The Fund has a broad remit, making grants to support both straightforward and higher-risk giving opportunities. It also makes grants to improve people's lives in multiple ways, including preventing early deaths, improving health, and increasing economic empowerment.

Donors who have a strong preference for a particular risk profile or type of benefit may want to focus their giving more narrowly. Donors who prefer their giving to focus on more straightforward opportunities should consider supporting GiveWell, which can reallocate their donation to its top charities based on their funding needs.

You want to focus on causes outside global health and development

You might also choose not to support the Fund if you believe that shaping the trajectory of the long-term future is of overwhelming importance, and that global poverty interventions are not the best mechanism for shaping the future. Specifically, you might not support the fund if you believe some version of the following from Nick Beckstead’s PhD dissertation:

The importance of the far future: From a global perspective, what matters most (in expectation) is that we do what is best (in expectation) for the general trajectory along which our descendants develop over the coming millions of years or longer.

In such a case, you might want to consider donating to interventions focusing on the long-term future.

Alternatively, you might want to focus your donations on improving animal welfare, or effective altruism community-building.

You don’t know much about GiveWell, or trust its research

This fund will be heavily influenced by GiveWell's research. You therefore might choose not to support the fund if you don't have a high level of trust in GiveWell's research and judgment.

You can learn more about GiveWell's research here.

Payout Reports

Global Development Fund FAQ

How do I make a donation using EA Funds?

You can donate to any of the EA Funds by following this link, or clicking the blue button at the top of each Fund’s page.

First, choose the Funds or organizations you would like to make a donation to. You can choose up to 10 Funds/organizations as part of a single allocation.

If you are donating to more than one Fund/organization you'll need to choose how to split your donation between them. By default, all the sliders will be split equally between the Funds/organizations you've chosen. To change this, simply drag the sliders around until you have the allocation you want.


What is the risk profile of the Global Health and Development Fund?

The Global Health and Development Fund makes grants across a number of risk profiles.

It is currently looking for higher-risk, but potentially higher-return opportunities to grant to. These will typically be opportunities that GiveWell researchers have identified as having the potential to be very effective, but that are not established enough to be recommended as GiveWell top charities.

If the Fund cannot find any higher-risk, higher-return projects to grant to, it will periodically publish updates, and may choose to either roll the money forward and put it towards future opportunities, or to grant it to GiveWell top charities.

You can read a recent update about the Fund's grantmaking approach here. For more information on how we think about grantmaking risk, please read our Risk Profiles page.


How often does the Global Health and Development Fund make grants?

The Global Health and Development Fund will make grants as it identifies promising opportunities.

To ensure timely disbursement, it plans to allocate all unallocated funds in a six month period to GiveWell top charities in February and August. However, it may choose to hold funds for longer if it has already granted out a substantial proportion of the funds available during the preceding six months or is close to concluding an investigation into a promising grant.

The Fund has committed to publishing updates at least twice a year, explaining how it has decided to allocate its money.

Previously, the Fund disbursed funds three times a year. You can read the rationale for updating the Fund's grantmaking schedule here.


How is this Fund different from donating to GiveWell's top charities?

The Global Health and Development Fund is managed by Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell's co-founder. GiveWell is an organization that conducts research into the most promising and effective charitable giving opportunities, with a focus on Global Health and Development.

This fund supports charities that the fund manager believes may be better in expectation than those recommended by GiveWell, a charity evaluator focused on outstandingly effective giving opportunities. For example, by pooling the funds of many individual donors, the Fund can support new but promising global health charities in getting off the ground (e.g. Charity Science Health or the Innovation in Government Initiative).

If no such options are available, the Fund will likely donate to GiveWell for regranting. This means we think there is a strong likelihood that donating to the fund will be at least as impactful as donating in accordance with GiveWell’s recommendations, but could be better in expectation.


If the Fund is managed by the head of GiveWell, why doesn't it just recommend that people give to GiveWell or its top charities?

The Global Health and Development Fund is managed by Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell's co-founder. GiveWell is an organization that conducts research into the most promising and effective charitable giving opportunities, with a focus on Global Health and Development.

Elie believes GiveWell's top charities are excellent giving opportunities, which are evidence-based, cost-effective and could productively use additional funding to directly help people living in poverty. Donors who would prefer to exclusively fund this type of opportunity should either give to GiveWell for regranting to top charities at its discretion, or give directly to one of GiveWell's top charities.

More recently, GiveWell has been doing more exploratory research to identify promising giving opportunities outside its traditional criteria, such as organizations working to assist in the creation of effective policy, or early-stage organizations. Donations to this fund are intended to support opportunities identified through that work, which was previously funded by Open Philanthropy through GiveWell Incubation Grants.

Thus, until GiveWell finds opportunities that surpass Open Philanthropy's available funding, donations to this fund are most likely to either:

(a) displace Open Philanthropy funding of Incubation Grant-like opportunities (and cause that funding to instead go to GiveWell's top charities), or

(b) go directly to GiveWell's top charities.

Nonetheless, donating to this fund is valuable because it helps demonstrate to GiveWell that there is donor demand for higher-risk, higher-reward global health and development giving opportunities.


Can I apply for funding to the Global Health and Development Fund?

The Global Health and Development Fund is not currently accepting applications for funding.


For more information about EA Funds in general, see our FAQ page.

Fund Managers

Elie Hassenfeld (Chair), GiveWell

Biography

Elie Hassenfeld is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of GiveWell.

He helps set the strategy and oversee the work of Open Philanthropy, in addition to leading the History of Philanthropy project and serving as co-Executive Director of GiveWell. Elie has a degree in religion from Columbia University and spent several years in the hedge fund industry before co-founding GiveWell in mid-2007.


GiveWell Staff, GiveWell

Biography

GiveWell is a research organization that searches for the most cost-effective ways to help people living in low- and middle-income countries and publishes all its research online to help donors decide where to give.

GiveWell's research team supports fund recommendations in the following ways:

  1. investigating new, high-impact giving opportunities in both direct intervention and policy;
  2. making recommendations for seed or scaling grants to promising charities that may eventually be recommended by GiveWell; and
  3. maintaining an ongoing understanding of the future needs and funding gaps of current recommended charities in order to recommend grants that maximize donor impact.