Update On Six New Charities Incubated By Charity Entrepreneurship

This ar­ti­cle is cross-posted from Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship blog

In 2019, the Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship team grad­u­ated 13 alumni, who went on to launch six new char­i­ties, five of which im­ple­ment in­ter­ven­tions se­lected by our re­search pro­gram. How was this out­come ac­com­plished, and how did these char­i­ties come into ex­is­tence?

In 2016, Joey and Kather­ine Savoie started Char­ity Science Health, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that sends SMS text mes­sage vac­cine re­minders to peo­ple in In­dia. Shortly af­ter­wards, they were ap­proached by Bren­den Eap­pan, a pre-med stu­dent who wanted ad­vice on how to make an im­pact. Joey ad­vised him to found a char­ity. He placed an ad for a co-founder, and was joined by Nik­ita Pa­tel. The two of them started For­tify Health—an or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cused on get­ting ma­jor In­dian wheat mills to sup­ple­ment their product with iron and folic acid. Both Char­ity Science Health and For­tify Health went on to re­ceive GiveWell In­cu­ba­tion grants. At time of writ­ing, For­tify Health in par­tic­u­lar is es­ti­mated to have a 25% chanceto be­come a GiveWell Top Char­ity, and has been awarded a $1,005,716 grant in or­der to scale up it’s op­er­a­tions. This was ev­i­dence that it could be high-im­pact to es­tab­lish a full-time or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cused on iden­ti­fy­ing promis­ing in­ter­ven­tions and men­tor­ing skil­led in­di­vi­d­u­als to ex­e­cute them. As a re­sult, Joey, and Karolina Sarek de­cided to found Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship, a re­search and train­ing pro­gram that in­cu­bates mul­ti­ple high-im­pact char­i­ties ev­ery year.

The most im­por­tant part of start­ing a suc­cess­ful char­ity is choos­ing a promis­ing in­ter­ven­tion in the first place. Some in­ter­ven­tions are much more cost-effec­tive than oth­ers, and even a very well-quan­tified, beau­tifully im­ple­mented pro­gram will not be the most cost-effec­tive if the in­ter­ven­tion it­self is not cost-effec­tive. It is com­mon for re­searchers to have an in-depth knowl­edge of the par­tic­u­lar in­ter­ven­tion they are in­ter­ested in. This makes a lot of sense if you are eval­u­at­ing a sin­gle, pre-ex­ist­ing in­ter­ven­tion or char­ity. For Char­ity Science Health and For­tify Health, how­ever, the aim was to im­ple­ment one of the most promis­ing of all pos­si­ble in­ter­ven­tions. There­fore, the ideas for Char­ity Science Health’s “text mes­sage vac­cine re­minders” and For­tify Health’s “iron and folic acid sup­ple­men­ta­tion of wheat” were cho­sen by spend­ing thou­sands of re­search hours do­ing shal­low re­views of ap­prox­i­mately 45 po­ten­tial in­ter­ven­tion ideas, with a fo­cus on do­ing just enough re­search to elimi­nate non-vi­able can­di­dates and iden­tify promis­ing ones.

At Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship, this same method­ol­ogy was used to launch the char­i­ties in the first for­mal In­cu­ba­tion Pro­gram. Us­ing the above re­search pro­cesses, we gen­er­ated promis­ing can­di­dates for good in­ter­ven­tions, de­signed a cur­ricu­lum, opened ap­pli­ca­tions and se­lected promis­ing po­ten­tial founders, as well as set up in­fras­truc­ture to provide them with stipends, seed fund­ing, and le­gal sup­port. At the end of our pro­gram, six new char­i­ties were launched.


From the left: Joel Burke, Caleb Par­ikh (Good Poli­cies), Michał Trzęsimiech (PEN)

Our re­view found that bring­ing to­bacco tax­a­tion policy in Low and Mid­dle In­come Coun­tries in line with World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion recom­men­da­tions would save tens of mil­lions of lives. The Cen­ter for Global Devel­op­ment calls to­bacco tax­a­tion the sin­gle best health policy in the world, and GiveWell is in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­fluence gov­ern­ment policy in this area. To fur­ther this and similar policy-shap­ing efforts, we have helped Caleb Par­ikh and Joel Burke launch Good Poli­cies, which is be­gin­ning work in both Mon­go­lia and Ar­me­nia and is cur­rently fundrais­ing. Read their Jan 2020 up­date on the EA fo­rum.

We’ve also helped Michael Trzes­imiech (of LEAN and EA Hub) launch the Policy En­trepreneur­ship Net­work, aiming to iden­tify unique op­por­tu­ni­ties in the space of health policy in low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries, as well as scal­able ways of eval­u­at­ing on­line cam­paigns.


From the left: Var­sha Venu­gopal, Fiona Con­lon (Su­vita)

A ran­dom­ized con­trol­led trial (RCT) by No­bel lau­re­ates Du­flo and Ban­er­jee sug­gests that word-of-mouth cam­paigns cost-effec­tively in­crease vac­ci­na­tion rates in In­dia. To har­ness the power of nudges to com­bat vac­cine-pre­ventable dis­eases, we have helped Var­sha Venu­gopal and Fiona Con­lon launch Su­vita. They are cur­rently prepar­ing to launch a pi­lot pro­gram to achieve op­er­a­tional proof-of-con­cept and to bet­ter un­der­stand con­tex­tual fac­tors that will guide iter­a­tive im­prove­ments.


From the left: Clare Don­ald­son, Michael Plant (HLI)

We have pro­vided in­cu­ba­tion sup­port to help Michael Plant and Clare Don­ald­son launch the Hap­pier Lives In­sti­tute (HLI). HLI con­ducts the­o­ret­i­cal re­search into the na­ture and mea­sure­ment of sub­jec­tive well-be­ing (SWB), as well as ap­plied re­search ask­ing how re­sources can be best used to in­crease global well-be­ing. They have re­cently hired economist Joel McGuire as a full-time re­search an­a­lyst, and are seek­ing re­search in­terns who can con­tribute to their re­search agenda.


From the left: Haven King-Nobles, Thomas Billing­ton (FWI)

Our re­port finds that in­suffi­ciently oxy­genated wa­ter is one of the main causes of suffer­ing among farmed fish, which are nu­mer­ous and his­tor­i­cally have been ne­glected by the an­i­mal move­ment. We helped Haven King-Nobles and Thomas Billing­ton launch the Fish Welfare Ini­ti­a­tive, which aims to re­duce the need­less suffer­ing of billions of fish by re­search­ing and ex­e­cut­ing tar­geted, highly scal­able welfare in­ter­ven­tions. After a pre­limi­nary sur­vey of six differ­ent fish farms and pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ities in four differ­ent coun­tries, the Fish Welfare Ini­ti­a­tive is con­duct­ing scop­ing re­search in South and South­east Asia to iden­tify the most promis­ing re­gions in which to be­gin its pi­lot pro­gram.


Lau­ren Mee (AAC)

Many in the farm an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy move­ment re­port that it is challeng­ing to find the right staff to ex­pand their or­ga­ni­za­tion. Staffing de­ci­sions are par­tic­u­larly difficult when an or­ga­ni­za­tion aims to ex­pand into a new coun­try or is hiring rel­a­tively se­nior staff. We’ve helped Lau­ren Mee and Jamie Har­ris launch An­i­malAd­vo­cacy Ca­reers, where they have be­gun sys­tem­atic in­ves­ti­ga­tions of what works in hiring and train­ing in the an­i­mal move­ment. Their ini­tial fo­cus will be on ad­dress­ing skills gaps in the move­ment, and Lau­ren has re­cently moved to Ber­lin to un­der­stand more about the challenges fac­ing Euro­pean or­ga­ni­za­tions. ​A Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship Demo Day gave each newly launched or­ga­ni­za­tion an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with men­tors and fun­ders late last year. All char­i­ties de­liv­ered light­ning talks at Effec­tive Altru­ism Global 2019 in Lon­don. Each or­ga­ni­za­tion also had a stand at the Effec­tive Altru­ism Global Ca­reer fair, many look­ing to con­nect with po­ten­tial hires within the effec­tive al­tru­ism com­mu­nity.

We are awed and im­pressed by the hard work of each of these founders and wish them the best as they scale effec­tive, im­pact­ful or­ga­ni­za­tions. There is plenty left to do, and our or­ga­ni­za­tion will con­tinue to in­cu­bate new char­i­ties ev­ery year. Not all the char­ity ideas we came up with last year were founded. There are still two promis­ing in­ter­ven­tions from the pre­vi­ous year that have not yet been im­ple­mented: Re­search into in­sti­tu­tional “asks” for cor­po­rate cam­paigns tar­get­ing farm an­i­mals, and feed for­tifi­ca­tion for egg lay­ing hens. In ad­di­tion, we have ex­panded our re­search team, and we will con­tinue to iden­tify more promis­ing in­ter­ven­tions in prepa­ra­tion for next year’s in­cu­ba­tion pro­gram.

We en­courage ev­ery­one who is in­ter­ested in our ac­tivi­ties to sign up for our newslet­ter to be no­tified when ap­pli­ca­tions open again for this year’s in­cu­ba­tion pro­gram. We will also keep you up to date on the lat­est job post­ings and no­tify you of our re­cent ac­tivi­ties.