Charitable donations for the long term

By Razib Khan | December 30, 2011 1:14 pm

My friend Holden Karnofsky always pings me at this time of the year. Holden is co-founder of GiveWell. If you’re curious, you can look up more on the outfit yourself, I’ve talked about it enough over the years for you to get why I’m interested and a supporter. Holden is a numbers and data driven guy, and it turns out that 25% of the money given through their website last year was on December 31st. Here are their top charities.

In purely selfish news (yes, I’m a heavy user) Wikipedia is also in need of cash. And yes, I give! (though that doesn’t stop the constant stream of begging headshots)

MORE ABOUT: Charity, Wikipedia
  • DK

    So over half of the top charities are for Africa? Two to fight diseases in Africa, two to give money in Africa, and one to fund research into poverty – mostly in Africa. That’s five out of eight listed. Leaves one for India, Nepal and USA each. As GiveWell says, “this requires subjectivity and judgment calls”. Indeed.

  • US

    Just gave to Wikipedia, thanks for reminding me.

    I gave to Khan Academy a few months ago. They could also use the money.

  • Ruth Freese

    Most of my charitable donations go to the International Federation for Sexual Health, because I believe that access to birth control is the most cost effective solution to many third world problems. This charity is not rated on this website.

  • Eugenick

    Wikipedia commonly distorts scientific truth that doesn’t meet liberal standards, it’s basically truth by consensus on more controversial topics. I’m surprised that you would support it, given that some of the things you write about here would be censored on Wikipedia in no time.

  • Alexander Kruel

    Many people over at lesswrong disagree with GiveWell and claim that one should instead donate to existential risk charities like the Singularity Institute. What’s your opinion?

    Especially, what do you think about risks from AI? How much money is currently required to mitigate possible risks from AI (to be instrumental in maximizing your personal long-term goals, e.g. surviving this century), less/no more/little more/much more/vastly more?

  • DK


    So Wikipedia is useless because it’s not perfect? This is a little childish, don’t you think? Of course there are problems with Wikipedia. Still, the truth is that as a first/one stop for just about everything, Wikipedia beats all other encyclopedias in both breadth and depth. Smart people know not to trust one source and smart people realize Wikipedia’s inherent biases. What remains is still immensely valuable.

  • Mustapha Mond

    “(though that doesn’t stop the constant stream of begging headshots)”

    But AdBlock does! :-)

  • Carlos B

    Everyone could use a little here and there. I’m a wikipedia supporter, use it all the time. Great info!


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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