Error message

Warning: Use of undefined constant openphil_social - assumed 'openphil_social' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in openphil_social_block_block_view() (line 90 of /var/www/html/openphil/live/sites/all/modules/custom/openphil_social_block/openphil_social_block.module).

Open Philanthropy Regranting Challenge

Open Philanthropy is running a $150 million Regranting Challenge, aiming to add funding to the grantmaking budgets of one to five outstanding programs at other foundations. We believe there are some excellent individual programs and whole foundations out there and we want to experiment with giving them more money to allocate rather than trying to copy their approaches.

We are looking to support high-impact programs that improve human health, facilitate economic development, and/or address climate change. By default we will aim to roughly double a selected program’s annual grantmaking budget for three years, subject to the overall size of the Regranting Challenge and allocating funding as effectively as we can across one to five total recipients. We may allocate all $150 million to a single outstanding funder.

We realize this is unconventional, and many foundations aren’t already set up to take funding from an outside source. We will be administratively flexible in order to make this work for the best candidates. Please see below for more details.

The deadline for submissions has now closed. Please contact [email protected] if you have questions or suggestions.

Please see below for further details on why we’re running the Regranting Challenge, what kinds of work we’re looking to support, requirements for participation, the selection process, and FAQs.

Table of Contents
  1. Why we’re running the Regranting Challenge
  2. What kinds of work we’re looking to support
  3. Requirements for participation
  4. Selection process
  5. FAQs
    1. About the Regranting Challenge
      1. Where can I learn more about Open Philanthropy?
      2. Where does the funding for the Regranting Challenge come from?
      3. Why fund other grantmakers instead of direct recipients?
      4. Why is there an expression of interest form and then two application rounds?
      5. Is this a one-off? Will you repeat this in the future?
    2. About eligibility for the Regranting Challenge
      1. I don’t think my foundation has ever received money from another donor. How do I know if we are able to?
      2. Is my organization eligible for the full 0 million? Do I need to request a specific funding amount?
      3. I am not a 501c(3) public charity. Am I still eligible?
      4. Why are you setting a minimum annual grantmaking budget of million per year for the past three years?
      5. What if my organization makes grants in more than one area listed?
      6. Will you consider applications related to farm animal welfare?
      7. Are current or previous Open Philanthropy grantees eligible to apply?
      8. What do you mean by a program or program area?
      9. Is work on lobbying or advocacy eligible?
    3. About selection criteria for the Regranting Challenge
      1. How will you compare across opportunities in human health, economic development, and climate change?
      2. What are you looking for in terms of track record?
      3. How do you think about potential future impact? What do you mean by that?
      4. How much weight will you put on track record versus future prospects for impact?
      5. What should I prioritize in the expression of interest and application?
    4. About the grantmaking process
      1. What will rounds 1 and 2 of the application process look like (the stages after the expression of interest)?
      2. How will Open Philanthropy handle disclosure?
      3. When will funding be made available?
      4. Will you provide feedback on my expression of interest or application?
      5. How will Open Philanthropy be involved after funding has been agreed?
      6. Change does not happen in three years. What happens after the grant period ends?
      7. Will the funding be restricted?
  6. Expression of interest questions
    1. Examples

Why we’re running the Regranting Challenge

Since our founding, we have been interested in learning as much as we can from other philanthropists and in picking causes to maximize our impact. This Regranting Challenge is an opportunity for us to continue that endeavor by:

  • Gathering insights from a wide range of grantmakers, with different approaches, focused on different problems. By creating an open call, we hope to identify highly effective foundations and program areas to support that we would not have known about otherwise.
  • Adding funding to high-impact work that is already underway, rather than reinventing the wheel ourselves. We are confident there are some highly effective grantmakers out there doing better work than we could in their respective spaces. Our goal is to help others as much as we can, so we want to try allocating funding to the best funders we can find rather than just trying to copy their approaches.
  • Piloting a mechanism that enables the most impactful programs to grow. We see the lack of feedback mechanisms that ensure effective grantmakers get more money to allocate as a major shortcoming in the existing philanthropic ecosystem. We’re excited about the Regranting Challenge as a chance to experiment with changing that.

What kinds of work we’re looking to support

Open Philanthropy’s mission is to help others as much as we can with the resources available to us. We think about our funding in terms of expected impact per dollar, meaning the impact per dollar we expect to have when adjusting for the chance of success.

We are open to different ways of defining positive impact within human health, economic development, and/or climate change. We do not have a fundamental preference for low-risk or high-risk philanthropic opportunities. This means that we will consider both “low-risk” opportunities such as evidence-backed direct services provision as well as “high-risk” opportunities such as advocacy or scientific research, where the low chance of success for any individual funding opportunity can be offset by the very high impact of success where it occurs. We call this hits-based giving.

For the Regranting Challenge, we are looking for programs with clearly defined goals, a track record of at least initial progress towards those goals, and a set of cost-effective opportunities they would support if they had more funding. Given our emphasis on cost-effectiveness, we anticipate that the strongest proposals will come from programs that primarily benefit people in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), but that is not a requirement to apply.

Here are a few example focus areas that we believe would be a particularly good fit for the Regranting Challenge:

  • Supporting key public health improvements in LMICs through research, service access and quality, or changes in law, policy, and/or regulation. We’d be looking for evidence that a program in this area is on track to cost-effectively extend human lives. That could mean funding the development of a new treatment that, in expectation, should save many lives in the future; taking the lead in funding advocacy for a series of new laws that non-experimental evidence suggests should reduce disease incidence in the future; financing a large-scale delivery campaign of a new health approach that an RCT found to be cost-effective; or something else.
  • Improving learning productivity in LMICs to increase the economic and social returns to time in school. We’d be looking for evidence that a program in this area is on track to cost-effectively improve learning outcomes. That could mean (non-exclusively) providing services directly (like teacher training), or taking the lead in funding advocacy for changes to curricula or education practices that experimental and non-experimental evidence suggests will improve learning outcomes (like increased use of local languages).
  • Supporting reductions in global carbon emissions and/or mitigating the harms of climate change in LMICs through technology research or changes in law, policy, and/or regulation. We’d be looking for evidence that a program in this area is on track to cost-effectively reduce total global emissions. That could mean directly funding key R&D for clean energy or carbon removal breakthroughs or taking the lead in funding successful advocacy for important policy changes, amongst other things.
  • Incubating, rigorously testing, and catalyzing support for new ideas (e.g., products, services, policy reforms) aimed at helping the world’s poorest people. We’d be looking for evidence of funding one or more important breakthroughs in the past and a repeatable process for identifying these hits in the future.

This list is very much not exhaustive: we’re launching the Regranting Challenge in part because we hope to find excellent candidates that are very different from what we imagined at the outset.

We encourage candidates on the fence about whether they are a possible fit to reach out to [email protected] or to submit the short expression of interest form directly.

Requirements for participation

There are three strict requirements for participation.

If you have any questions about whether you qualify, please reach out to [email protected] with the details of your case.

  1. Organizations must be charitable grantmakers.
    Historically, nearly all of our giving has been to direct recipients rather than to other foundations. Our three main goals for the Regranting Challenge are to learn from a wide range of grantmakers, to add to excellent work that is already underway rather than reinventing the wheel, and to pilot a mechanism that enables high-impact grantmaking programs to grow. For these reasons, we require candidates for the Regranting Challenge to be charitable grantmakers.

  2. Foundations or programs must have granted $10 million per year or more for at least the past three years.1
    While terminology will vary from organization to organization, we use “program” to refer to a segment of an organization with a designated leader, a coherent and distinct set of goals, a separate budget, and relative autonomy in setting a grantmaking strategy.

    We recommend – but do not require – grantmaking organizations with multiple constituent program areas that individually meet the budget requirement above and are individually interested in participating in the challenge to apply as individual program areas. To give an example, if a foundation with a total budget of $60 million per year has three different program areas, each with budgets of $20 million per year and two of which are interested in participating, we recommend that the two program areas that are interested in participating – rather than the overarching foundation – apply individually.

  3. Candidates must be able to comply with applicable cross-border giving laws.
    For non-U.S. organizations, this means that if laws would prevent you from either receiving or regranting funds from U.S. organizations, then you are not eligible and should not participate. Please consult your legal counsel if you are uncertain if any such constraints are applicable.

    In addition to these three requirements, we ask candidates to make a commitment:

  4. Candidates that are ultimately selected as recipients of Open Philanthropy’s funding must commit to budget maintenance.
    In the first-round application, we will ask candidates for their anticipated grantmaking budgets over the three calendar years beginning in 2023. We ask that candidates report their best estimates. For candidates that are ultimately selected, we ask that their baseline funding (without Open Philanthropy’s contribution) does not decrease from the plans reported in their applications, so that our support can be genuinely additive to the program in question.

    For example, if a program says it plans to donate $60 million from 2023 to 2025 (inclusive), and we grant $60 million over those three years, we will ask that program to spend at least $120 million over those three years.

Selection process

We do not want to waste your time. We have structured our selection process to minimize the effort involved, particularly in the first stage (expression of interest). We estimate this can be finished within two hours, using almost exclusively materials that candidates will have produced before.

  • Step 1 - Expression of interest: The first step is a short set of questions to ensure that your program/organization is a possible fit for the Regranting Challenge before taking up your time with an application. We estimate that you can complete these questions within two hours, using almost exclusively materials that your program/organization has already produced.

    The deadline is 23:00 (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. We will review submissions on a rolling basis and respond to you as soon as possible with a decision and – if applicable – instructions for the first-round application.

    You can view the survey questions here. There are eight required questions, including three written responses of up to 300 words. All other required questions are brief. There are also three optional questions.

    We also created three sample responses to show what we’re looking for in terms of depth and style (human health example, economic development example, climate change example). We strongly encourage candidates to read the questions and examples before completing the form.

    Please submit your responses here.

  • Step 2 - First-round application: The first full application round is a written application focused on candidates’ grantmaking track record. We will provide a short series of written prompts. This round will have a limit of 5,000 words (approximately 10 single-spaced pages). The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

    We anticipate choosing up to ten finalists to move forward from this round to the second round application, and will notify all candidates of our decisions no later than Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

  • Step 3 - Second-round application: The second round is a written application focused on intended use of additional funding. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

    The second round will also likely involve conversations with candidates’ leadership teams and may include reference checks with grantees. We will schedule these conversations in August and September 2022 at times that are mutually convenient.

  • Step 4 - Decisions: We plan to announce the recipients no later than Tuesday, December 13, 2022.

FAQs

About the Regranting Challenge

Where can I learn more about Open Philanthropy?

Open Philanthropy’s mission is to help others as much as we can with the resources available to us. Our site provides details about who we are, our vision and values, and how we think about cause selection. You can also see information about our historical giving in our grants database.

Where does the funding for the Regranting Challenge come from?

In addition to funding from Open Philanthropy’s core donors – Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz – the Regranting Challenge is generously supported by Lucinda Southworth.

Funding distributed via the Regranting Challenge will come from an organization associated with Open Philanthropy or one of the individuals above. The specific structure of the grants will depend on the recipients selected and their specific tax and legal considerations. If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected].

Why fund other grantmakers instead of direct recipients?

Historically, nearly all of our giving has been to direct recipients rather than to other foundations.

Our three main goals for the Regranting Challenge are to learn from a wide range of grantmakers, to add funding to excellent work that is already underway, and to pilot a mechanism that enables the most impactful grantmaking programs to grow.

We want to identify and support existing funders who are good at identifying cost-effective opportunities for impact. We could simply choose to support the same recipients they’ve chosen — but in doing so, we might miss out on other recipients they could have identified with additional funding. By supporting funders rather than grantees, we hope to realize the potential gains from finding and creating new grantmaking opportunities.

We are also using the Regranting Challenge as a way to expand the work of the most impactful grantmaking programs we can find. At present, we think many programs aren’t rewarded for their impact with more funding. Through the Regranting Challenge, we are hoping to pilot a mechanism whereby the expected impact of a program’s funding gives them access to more funding (a feedback loop that we think is rare in the existing philanthropic ecosystem).

Finally, the Regranting Challenge also helps us meet our objective to substantially grow our overall giving in global health and well-being, piloting an opportunity to give effectively at scale.

Why is there an expression of interest form and then two application rounds?

We think your time is valuable. Our application process reflects that.

Our goal is to give candidates the opportunity to quickly check whether they are a possible fit for the Regranting Challenge via a short form before beginning the application process. In addition, we are aiming to limit – as much as possible – the amount of time required to complete the first application round when there are potentially many candidates remaining. We expect the most time-intensive part of the process will be the second round when we have narrowed the pool down to a maximum of ten finalists.

Is this a one-off? Will you repeat this in the future?

We don’t know. We will review the success of the Regranting Challenge and will consider running similar processes in the future.

About eligibility for the Regranting Challenge

I don’t think my foundation has ever received money from another donor. How do I know if we are able to?

As a legal matter, we are able to contribute to any US foundation (and many organizations beyond that), though as a practical matter whether your foundation is willing to take our funding will ultimately be their decision.

However, we want to be flexible and to be able to fund effective programs at any organization. For example, if for whatever reason your program or foundation was not open to a contribution from an outside donor, we would consider funding a donor-advised fund that your program would be able to recommend grants to. If you aren’t sure about whether your foundation would be willing to take outside funding but are interested in applying if they are, we encourage you to go ahead and submit an expression of interest.

Is my organization eligible for the full $150 million? Do I need to request a specific funding amount?

Candidates do not need to request specific funding amounts. If selected, we will roughly aim to double a selected program’s annual grantmaking budget for three years, subject to the overall size of the Regranting Challenge and allocating funding as effectively as we can across one to five total recipients. We may allocate all $150 million to a single outstanding funder.

I am not a 501c(3) public charity. Am I still eligible?

Yes. We will generally be able to find a way to fund your organization if we can verify that the work we will fund is charitable. For example, if you can meet the requirements of Expenditure Responsibility, then you are eligible. Alternatively, if you are a non-U.S. organization but can get an Equivalency Determination certificate, you are eligible. Expenditure Responsibility is a process that legally allows us to make a charitable grant to you even though you are not recognized as a public charity under U.S. law. The process is designed to ensure that the money we are giving you is used for charitable purposes in accordance with U.S. tax regulations.

We want to be flexible and able to fund effective programs. For example, if for whatever reason your program or foundation could not accept a contribution from an outside donor, we would consider funding a donor-advised fund that your program would be able to recommend grants to.

Why are you setting a minimum annual grantmaking budget of $10 million per year for the past three years?

We are aiming to substantially grow our overall giving in global health and well-being, and we are interested in seeing whether this sort of approach can lead to opportunities to give effectively at a large scale. We recognize that the budget minimum will exclude many effective, smaller programs, as well as individuals and teams who could start effective programs. Depending on how this experiment goes, we may run other iterations in the future with wider eligibility criteria.

What if my organization makes grants in more than one area listed?

An organization can meet the minimum budget through grants in any combination of the areas we’ve specified (human health, economic development, and/or climate change). For example, if an organization has made $6 million in human health-related grants and $4 million in economic development-related grants in each of the last three years, it will be eligible.

Will you consider applications related to farm animal welfare?

No. While Open Philanthropy does its own grantmaking to support farm animal welfare, and is interested in collaborating with other funders who share similar goals, this Regranting Challenge is focused on human health, economic development, and climate change.

Are current or previous Open Philanthropy grantees eligible to apply?

We are seeking applications from grantmaking organizations, which we expect will exclude most of our past grantees. However, in principle we are not excluding previous grantees and welcome any questions sent to [email protected].

What do you mean by a program or program area?

While terminology will vary from organization to organization, we use “program” to refer to a segment of an organization with a designated leader, a coherent and distinct set of goals, a separate budget, and relative autonomy in setting a grantmaking strategy.

If you have any questions about the appropriate applying unit, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].

Is work on lobbying or advocacy eligible?

Yes. We welcome applications from organizations or programs focused on lobbying and/or advocacy work.

About selection criteria for the Regranting Challenge

How will you compare across opportunities in human health, economic development, and climate change?

We have written about our approach to valuing improvements in human health versus economic development. We are also in the process of developing a method for valuing climate change interventions in comparable units.

However, the technical details shouldn’t obscure that we are interested in excellent opportunities across all three areas (human health, economic development, climate change). We could end up selecting grantmakers focused on any one or combination of those areas.

What are you looking for in terms of track record?

When evaluating candidates’ track records, we are looking for evidence that at least some of their past grantmaking meets our bar for impact, described in detail here. (Please note we do not expect candidates to explicitly compare their grantmaking to our bar in their applications — we will do this in our evaluation.) This does not necessarily mean a candidate’s impact needs to have been realized in the world. For example, in one of our example submissions, a vaccine has been developed and is undergoing Phase II trials. We would evaluate the future impact of this opportunity considering the impact that a successful vaccine would have if widely adopted and the chance of that vaccine successfully progressing to widespread adoption.

Depending on how this first challenge goes, we may run other challenges in the future, potentially with wider eligibility criteria and greater emphasis on track record or potential future impact.

How do you think about potential future impact? What do you mean by that?

Open Philanthropy’s mission is to help others as much as we can with the resources available to us. We think about our funding in terms of its expected value, meaning the amount of positive impact that our funding can be expected to have when adjusting for the chance of success.

We do not have a fundamental preference for low-risk or high-risk philanthropic opportunities. This means that we will consider both “low-risk” opportunities such as direct services provision as well as “high-risk” opportunities such as advocacy or scientific research, where the low chance of success for any individual funding opportunity can be offset by the very high impact of success where it occurs. We call this hits-based giving.

This approach means that we can think about impact before it has been realized in the world. For example, in one of our example submissions, a vaccine has been developed and is undergoing Phase II trials. We would evaluate the future impact of this opportunity considering the impact that a successful vaccine would have if widely adopted, considering the chance of that vaccine successfully progressing to widespread adoption.

How much weight will you put on track record versus future prospects for impact?

In this Regranting Challenge, we expect to weigh our assessments of candidates’ track records and future prospects for impact about evenly. The first round application will focus on candidates’ track records and the second round will focus on future prospects for impact.

What should I prioritize in the expression of interest and application?

We are looking for clarity. We expect candidates to communicate the substance of their program and its impact, without having to worry about the presentation. You should feel free to use bullet points and non-technical language in your responses.

About the grantmaking process

What will rounds 1 and 2 of the application process look like (the stages after the expression of interest)?

The first round is focused on the candidate’s grantmaking track record. Candidates will respond to a series of written prompts, with a limit of 5,000 words (approximately 10 single-spaced pages). These prompts will be provided only to those candidates who are identified as a possible fit for the Regranting Challenge through the expression of interest form.

The second round is focused on the candidate’s intended use of incremental funding. This round will also involve conversations with candidates’ leadership teams and may include reference checks with grantees. We will schedule these conversations in August and September 2022 at times that are mutually convenient.

How will Open Philanthropy handle disclosure?

We will treat all application materials – including the decision to express interest or to apply – as sensitive and non-public. We may share the application materials outside of Open Philanthropy with contractors, co-funders, or external peer reviewers in the challenge process, all of whom will be required to treat the application materials as sensitive and non-public.

Recipients will be announced publicly, along with a short description of how they intend to use our funding. We will seek approval for this language from recipient organizations before publishing. We expect to work collaboratively with recipients on media announcements.

Finalists (candidates who reach the second round) will have the option to be announced as well, if they are interested in greater exposure for their work. Finalists who do not receive funding are also welcome to remain private, and there is no penalty for requesting privacy.

When will funding be made available?

We aim to distribute funds as quickly as reasonably possible after the announcement of the winners (on or before December 13, 2022). The exact timing of funding will depend on the exact legal nature of the entity being funded. We will work closely with all finalists to understand their legal situation and agree how and when funds would be distributed.

Will you provide feedback on my expression of interest or application?

We aren’t planning to provide any feedback to candidates for the expression of interest form or first-round applications. We will provide feedback to all finalists (whether or not they receive funding).

How will Open Philanthropy be involved after funding has been agreed?

Open Philanthropy will reach out at 6-month intervals to request status updates on the work with a check-in phone call. These check-ins will focus on project progress, challenges encountered, and addressing any open questions that were raised during the Regranting Challenge process. Occasionally, Open Philanthropy will ask recipients to answer analytical questions about their estimated impact; we will work with them to ensure that this doesn’t take up too much of their time.

For most recipients, these check-ins and questions will take the place of a formal reporting process.

Change does not happen in three years. What happens after the grant period ends?

We hope that by providing the recipients of the Regranting Challenge with additional funding, we help to lay the foundation for further expansion. That said, in all candor, we do not know what will come after the Regranting Challenge. We expect to learn a lot through this process and to decide on next steps based on those lessons.

Will the funding be restricted?

We will restrict the funding to the applying program area, but unrestricted within the program area (including for overhead expenses related to expanding regranting capacity).

If you are selected as a finalist (i.e., moved to the second-round application), Open Philanthropy’s legal team will reach out to their counterparts at the applying program to begin discussions on grant terms.

Expression of interest questions

Click here for a PDF version. We also created three sample responses to show what we’re looking for in terms of depth and style (health example, economic development example, climate change example). We strongly encourage candidates to read the questions and at least one example before opening the form.

  1. Please provide an email address for the primary point of contact for the Regranting Challenge.
    • We will send confirmation that your expression of interest has been received to this address. We will also contact this email address with a decision and – if applicable – instructions for the first-round application.
  2. What name should we use for the primary point of contact for the Regranting Challenge?
  3. What is the applying program/organization?
    • Please err on the side of including more details if there is scope for ambiguity. From now on, we will refer to this identified group as the “applying program” or “you”.
    • We recommend grantmaking organizations with constituent program areas that separately meet the budget requirement ($10 million in grantmaking per year for at least three years) to apply as individual program areas, provided their host organization commits to budget maintenance. Please see our FAQs for further details. If you have further questions, please contact [email protected].

  4. In what country (or countries) is your organization legally incorporated?
    • Please note that we will generally be able to find a way to fund your organization if we can verify that the work we will fund is charitable. See the FAQs for more details.
  5. Please describe your goal(s) in no more than 300 words.
    • We want to understand what you are trying to achieve as an organization.
  6. Please describe your strategy to achieve these goal(s) in no more than 300 words.
  7. Please describe the biggest accomplishments which your grants have enabled in the last five years in no more than 300 words.
    • Please focus on one or more accomplishments that help us understand your past impact in one or more of our focus areas for the Regranting Challenge (human health, economic development, and/or climate change).
  8. What was your annual grantmaking budget between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2021?
    • Please provide the total amount of your grantmaking budget by calendar year. If your grantmaking was atypical for that period (e.g., as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic), please also describe your annual grantmaking budget in a typical, three-year period. Please only include grantmaking related to human health, economic development, and climate change.
  9. (Optional) Please provide links to any public materials that summarize your program’s work and efforts to measure impact (e.g. a grants database, an annual report, a white paper).
    • Please do not share more than 5 links.
  10. (Optional) Is there any other brief context we should have?
    • It is absolutely fine to leave this space blank. Please do not write more than 300 words.
  11. (Optional) Are there any other grantmaking organizations and/or program areas you think especially highly of and would recommend we contact to encourage to apply for the Regranting Challenge?

Examples

We have provided three example expression of interest forms linked below. We omitted a few questions from the examples where we think made-up answers would obscure rather than illuminate.

These are imaginary examples with made-up “facts”; they represent three ideas of many that we would be excited about. Our goal is to give candidates a sense of the level of detail and formality we hope to receive.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].

  • 1. We welcome applications from organizations that fulfill this requirement in a typical three-year period but have experienced recent disruption due to Covid-19.