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, and we make grants in many areas.
For the Regranting Challenge, we chose to focus on programs working on human health, economic development, and/or climate change. We were open to both “low-risk” opportunities (e.g. direct provision of proven health services) and “high-risk” opportunities (e.g. exploratory scientific research that might or might not bear results). For the latter, even a low chance of success for any given opportunity can be offset by the very high impact of any success that occurs. We call this “hits-based giving”.
However, no matter the risk level, we were looking for programs with:
- Clearly defined goals.
- A track record of at least initial progress towards those goals.
- A set of cost-effective opportunities they would support if they had more funding.
While we shared examples of focus areas we thought might be a good fit, we didn’t make an exhaustive list; we launched the Challenge in part because we hoped that some of the candidates would be organizations we weren’t familiar with, working in areas where we had little experience.