Quarterly Links Fall 2021

Not-entirely-random stuff for doers and funders obsessed with impact at scale.

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The Mackenzie Scott Grants

1. $4.3billion in 375 grants
Bloomberg did a thorough analysis of the more than 700 donations made by the notoriously quiet philanthropist. We're stoked that a bunch of organizations from Mulago's portfolio were included.
Bloomberg (5 minutes)

2. Do they still need your money?
Emphatically yes. More than ever. And it's created a load of next-level bargains for funders who are serious about impact.
Mulago Blog (3 minutes)

3. Is it true that there was no real due diligence?
No. Scott outsourced much of the work, particularly to Bridgespan. The really great thing, though, was that the diligence for these grants relied on high-quality diligence by other current funders. That’s huge, and something we want to see a lot more of. Ruth Levine -  CEO of IdInsight, one of the recipients - has a thoughtful piece on how rigorous diligence focused on impact from within the philanthropic ecosystem can play a major role in getting more money like Scott's to orgs doing good work.
Center for Effective Philanthropy (6 minutes)

What We Learned Doing Fast Grants

There are lots of interesting tidbits in this piece about how Fast Grants got $50M out the door through 260 grants for covid science last year. They had a quick application and review process that didn't rely on consensus. We hope this is a signal that leaner diligence with more focus on big ideas leads to more impact.
Future (16 minutes)

How I Became the Honest Broker

This is a superb reflective essay on the journey from power-brokering to straight dealing, and the importance of working with people who have integrity.

“There’s at least one in every city. But don’t expect their business cards to say ‘Honest Broker’—that’s just what I call them. But that’s exactly what they are. Sometimes they don’t even have an official position. But they are the key to everything.”
Substack (10 minutes)

DAFs: Stay Rich or Die Tryin'

We love that our friends at the Segal Family Foundation are taking a stand on the need for legislation that requires a minimum payouts from Donor Advised Funds.  The reality is that there are billions of dollars gathering dust under the guise of do-gooding — in the U.S one out of every eight dollars dedicated for charity sits in a DAF. "The focus of philanthropy should be on the communities being served, not the benefits allocated to those doing the giving."
Segal Family Foundation (3 minutes)

The “Business of Giving” Podcast Interviews Kevin

Impact investing, cash transfers, unrestricted funding, accountability for impact...phew! This conversation with Kevin packs a lot into half an hour.  Denver Fredericks really did his research.
Business of Giving (30 minutes)

Our 2021 Henry Arnhold Fellows

We’ve uncovered another batch of 10 extraordinary doers that will scale important solutions in conservation and climate. What they need now is the encouragement to go further and the money to do it sooner. Take a look and give them your support. They need it. We all need it.
Mulago's 2021 Henry Fellows

What Happened When India Started Feeding 100 Million Kids?

As you'd hope, school attendance and learning went up, and malnutrition went down. More interestingly, malnutrition among the kids of the kids who first got fed also went down. More ammo that feeding kids is an impact jackpot.
Nature (45 minutes for the full paper; 5 minutes for the abstract)

Our Favorite New Read: Calling Bullshit

We’re a team of generalists. We look at looks of data from various specialists. More than anything else, this book helps you understand how easily graspable elements of study design and data collection can help you know what to pay attention to and what to ignore. We guarantee you’ll be less intimidated by “experts”.

The accompanying website is also chock full of tricks that'll help you avoid becoming the victim of bullshit.

The Book
The Website

And Finally....


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