givewell.org and village reach

So, obstacle one: the charity to which I have been donating for over a year, Village Reach, has now been graded slightly differently by givewell.org. It still is a “standout organization” and was top-rated for “2009, 2010, and much of 2011,” but now GiveWell says that Village Reach “does not have short-term funding needs.”

What does this mean?  Apparently, GiveWell’s support of Village Reach has led to over 2 million dollars in donations, and thus GiveWell now believes it doesn’t need cash at present.  Instead, GiveWell recommends two other organizations (without going into it right now, GiveWell recommends precious few organizations at all): the Against Malaria Foundation and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative.

This, to me, brings up lots of issues, but here’s the one that I’m facing at present: I’ve developed an attachment to Village Reach.  I feel some sort of connection to their project beyond just dollars and cents.  Giving to another organization seems somehow unfulfilling; I want my money doing what I thought it was doing already, supporting healthcare infrastructure in rural Africa.  Now I have to choose a new charity?  On day one?  Damn it.

Anyway, I still like villagereach.org.

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3 thoughts on “givewell.org and village reach

  1. Tim says:

    I’ve supported Oxfam in the past — it’s more monolithic an organization, so I’m sure it’s got a lot worse overhead costs, but it’s still dedicated to eradicating poverty.

    • beethousand says:

      My concern about givewell.org is that it’s an organization run by former hedge fund managers and finance-y types, so the criteria they use for evaluation are solely monetary. If a donor is simply trying to maximize his charity dollar, that’s fine, but I wish they employed a philosopher or two to deal with some of the more abstract concerns a donor might have about giving to one organization vs. another. I think missions/goals/philosophies should have something to do with the equation, and it’s not entirely clear to me what role they play in GiveWell’s algorithm. Peter Singer, I think, still supports Oxfam, so you’re in fine company.

    • I went ahead and donated to AMF for the first go-round; I can always change organizations later, but I’m toying with the idea of always donating to GiveWell’s #1. Conversely, we’ve talked a bit about splitting donations 50/50 international (where aid is needed most) versus local.

      I’d add more but I’m typing this covertly in a meeting and cannot hear myself think.

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