May 2014

Potential U.S. Policy Focus Areas

Note: The Open Philanthropy Project was formerly known as GiveWell Labs. Before the launch of the Open Philanthropy Project Blog, this post appeared on the GiveWell Blog. Uses of “we” and “our” in the below post may refer to the Open Philanthropy Project or to GiveWell as an organization. Additional comments may be available at the original post.

Previously, we laid out our basic framework and reasoning for selecting U.S. policy causes to focus on for GiveWell Labs. This post goes through the specific causes that we’re most likely to commit to (and are accordingly performing in-depth investigations of, with some preliminary grantmaking, at the moment).

A few preliminary notes:

Narrowing down U.S. Policy Areas

Note: The Open Philanthropy Project was formerly known as GiveWell Labs. Before the launch of the Open Philanthropy Project Blog, this post appeared on the GiveWell Blog. Uses of “we” and “our” in the below post may refer to the Open Philanthropy Project or to GiveWell as an organization. Additional comments may be available at the original post.

As part of our work on GiveWell Labs, we’ve been exploring the possibility of getting involved in policy-oriented philanthropy (see our previous posts on this subject). At this point, we feel that:

The Importance of Committing to Causes

Note: Before the launch of the Open Philanthropy Project Blog, this post appeared on the GiveWell Blog. Uses of “we” and “our” in the below post may refer to the Open Philanthropy Project or to GiveWell as an organization. Additional comments may be available at the original post.

In our work on the Open Philanthropy Project, we’ve consistently found that the level of interest we show in a cause - including our perceived willingness to provide funding within it - is a major driver of what sorts of giving opportunities we’re able to find.

Our Writeup on Criminal Justice Reform

Note: The Open Philanthropy Project was formerly known as GiveWell Labs. Before the launch of the Open Philanthropy Project Blog, this post appeared on the GiveWell Blog. Uses of “we” and “our” in the below post may refer to the Open Philanthropy Project or to GiveWell as an organization. Additional comments may be available at the original post.

We’ve just published an extensive writeup on the cause of U.S. criminal justice reform, which was one of the causes we previously listed as a priority for investigation under GiveWell Labs.