Each charity is quite different, but they have one thing in common: they are chosen so as to do as much good as possible with the money in their respective areas, on the basis of strong evidence collected by Giving What We Can and other independent evaluators. No wishful thinking, corruption or administrative inefficiencies here; only real people and real help.
With my own donation, I will be supporting each of the three causes equally. However, you can choose which to support using the 'Edit Allocation' button after clicking 'Donate' on the fundraising page at Giving What We Can.
Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation program is a stunningly effective intervention preventing visual impairment, blindness and death in children living in developing countries.
The WHO estimates that 250,000-500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind annually with half dying within the year. Givewell, an independent research organisation, estimates - conservatively - that Helen Keller's program prevents one of these deaths for every $4,000 donated by providing supplements to fill nutritional gaps in restricted local diets.
We can reasonably hope to prevent a child's death by raising $4,000 for Helen Keller's vitamin A program.
Under the management of expert Johannes Ackva, the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund works to find and fund neglected but powerful methods of reducing carbon emissions. They issue grants to a range of carefully chosen research and advocacy organisations - but Terra Praxis is an example I particularly like.
Have you ever heard of Coal Repowering? I hadn't either; it's not widely known. It refers to the idea of replacing the carbon-spewing heart of a coal power station with a zero-emissions, safe modern nuclear reactor, while making use of all the existing infrastructure - site, heat and power transmission, workforce, investment - of the original plant.
The potential scale of emissions reduction here is immense: fully 12bn of the global 35bn tons of annual emissions are emitted by coal power stations. Crucially, Terra Praxis has found a way to address this without requiring politicians or investors to risk punishment by shutting down a plant, making it a realist, practical solution to the problem. Terra Praxis got started with a grant from the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund, and are now the key organisation developing and promoting the Coal Repowering process.
Estimating the outcome of donating here is more difficult, but it's possible to make a rough guess. Much of the the fund's support goes to another organisation called Clean Air Task Force (CATF); Founders Pledge made an estimate in 2018 that CATF prevents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted for every $0.10-$1 donated. We can take the upper end of this to be conservative, and assume that the fund's other investments are roughly as effective.
We can reasonably hope to prevent the emission of very roughly 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (perhaps about 10 lifetime's worth for someone in the UK) by raising $4,000 for the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund.
Sadly, it is a myth that mental health disorders such as depression are only a problem in the rich world. In reality, rates in low-income countries are as high or higher; the depression rate in Uganda is twice the typical rate in developed countries.
StrongMinds is responding to this by providing free interpersonal group therapy to women in sub-Saharan Africa, using an approach that has been shown to be effective in randomised controlled trials, the gold standard of evidence. Founders Pledge estimates that they prevent one year of severe major depressive disorder for roughly $250.
Having been affected by depression personally, I know what that year means. Those women in sub-Saharan Africa are just as real as I am, and I want to act on their behalf.
We can reasonably hope to prevent 15 years of severe depression by raising $4,000 for StrongMinds.
I hope it's clear that I believe the charities above will accomplish real and meaningful good with your donation. If you'd like to make a support me it would mean a huge amount, and make me feel that my long journey has been worthwhile!