Mulago's Links: April 2024

The best stuff for doers and funders obsessed with impact at scale.

In Numbers We Trust by Kevin Starr

There's a long list of things to admire about the trust-based philanthropy movement. A seeming antipathy to metrics isn't one of them. We're a trust-based funder, and we care a lot about numbers. Let our CEO, Kevin, tell you the story of why numbers are the only way to a shared reality.

The Deaths of Effective Altruism by Leif Wenar

Every once in a while we come across an article that we wish we'd had the chops and opportunity to write. Dripping with envy at this razor-sharp takedown of Effective Altruism — "This is a...story of how some small-time philosophers captured some big-bet billionaires, who in turn captured the philosophers." Oof.

We Dare You to Figure Out What Our Nonprofit Does

We often find ourselves mystified by the verbiage on organizations’ websites, as though we’re in some unproductive guessing game. LOL at this piece in McSweeneys, then when you need some respite take a look at these organizations’ sites that don’t fall into the word-soup trap:

  • Food For Education — "delivering affordable, nutritious meals at scale"
  • Rising Academies — "the best schools and the most powerful teaching and learning tools for the people that need them most"
  • Semilla Nueva — "fights malnutrition and poverty with better corn"
  • — "have more life-changing chats"

Nonprofits and Governments Are Looking for Love

We think this is a first — an SSIR article co-written by two Mulago fellows, Abdulhamid Haidar of Darsel and Vikas Birhma of Gramhal. And it's funny, something all too rare in social sector publications. A must read for any NGO thinking about starting to date...umm we mean work with…government.

Surge Funding: New Scaling Partners

We recently gave four of our portfolio organizations surge grants — a $1M boost over two years designed to dramatically accelerate impact at pivotal moments in an organization’s journey from R&D to Scale. These unrestricted grants provide vital resources for stuff like recruitment, facilitation of other doers, policy advocacy, evidence research, and technology. The stuff that’s really needed to steepen a solution's growth trajectory, at the times when other funding often gets more restricted.

  • Bridges to Prosperity — Last-mile bridges across Africa. They’ve got rigorous evidence that trail bridges increase incomes, and their solution is increasingly paid for by governments.
  • Intelehealth — A smart telemedicine platform in India. Their reach has exploded from 77K consultations to 1.3M and they have great traction with government adoption.
  • Medha — Career coaching for low income students in India. Their solution has been integrated into multiple state education systems and could change how vocational training is delivered across India.
  • Zvandiri — Peer therapy for adolescents living with HIV+ across Africa. They’ve got rigorous evidence that their solution works and have recently informed new WHO guidelines on HIV+ treatment.

And Finally

Our first meme…

If you don’t get it, you need to read The Trouble With Impact Investing.