Giving What We Can is the brainchild of Toby Ord, a philosopher at Balliol College, Oxford. Inspired by the ideas of ethicists such as Peter Singer, Toby decided in 2009 to commit a large proportion of his income to effective charities.
Discovering that many of his friends and colleagues were interested in making a similar pledge, Toby worked with fellow Oxford philosopher Will MacAskill to create an international organisation of people who would donate a significant proportion of their incomes to cost-effective charities.
Giving What We Can launched in November 2009, attracting significant media attention. Within a year, 64 people had joined the society, their pledged donations amounting to $21 million. Initially run on a volunteer basis, Giving What We Can took on full-time staff in the summer of 2012.
We now have 5,096 members, who have pledged to donate over over the course of their careers. So far, our members have donated more than $197,596,214 to charity.
In July 2016, Giving What We Can was incorporated more fully into its parent organisation, the Centre for Effective Altruism. It is now run by the Centre for Effective Altruism's staff.
Giving What We Can was one of the first in a growing network of like-minded organisations focused on effective altruism, the art of thinking critically about how to do the most good. You can learn more about the ideas behind effective altruism here.
Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours are incorporated under the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales and in the United States. Other organisations associated with the effective altruism movement include Animal Charity Evaluators, GiveWell, and the Life You Can Save.
Giving What We Can is extremely grateful for the support provided by the following organisations over the years:
- The Future of Humanity Institute — The leading research center looking at big-picture questions for human civilisation.
- Balliol College, Oxford — One of the oldest Oxford colleges, with a strong philosophical tradition.
- The Oxford Uehiro Centre — An institue that encourages and supports debate and deeper reflection on practical ethics.