January 10, 2012

Another Facebook Co-Founder Gets Philanthropic

Some advice for nonprofits that want a piece of the Facebook fortune: Get yourself on GiveWell's list of effective charities.

Good Ventures, the new foundation started by the 27-year-old Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, is beginning to give away its money to nonprofits recommended by the charity-evaluation group.

Cari Tuna, Mr. Moskovitz's girlfriend and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, joined GiveWell's board in April.  She wrote in a blog post last month that Good Ventures would donate $500,000 to the Against Malaria Foundation and $250,000 to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, the No. 1 and No. 2 charities as ranked by GiveWell.

Other nonprofits on GiveWell's list of "standout" organizations—GiveDirectly, Innovations for Poverty Action, KIPP Houston, Nyaya Health, Pratham, and the Small Enterprise Foundation—would get money from Good Ventures in the coming months, Ms. Tuna wrote. (Read more about GiveWell.)

Ms. Tuna says she first learned about GiveWell from The Life You Can Save, a book by the philosopher Peter Singer that she read while preparing to transition from journalism to philanthropy. Ms. Tuna, who is 26, says she's keen on using Good Ventures' money to help other donors make smart decisions about their giving. [Editor's note: This sentence corrects Ms. Tuna's age, which was previously given inaccurately.]

"One simple idea—that all donors should be at least as thoughtful about our philanthropic investments as we are about our financial investments—has transformed the way I think about giving," she says.

Her cautious approach to philanthropy is in contrast to that of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's most-famous co-founder. Mr. Zuckerberg's first publicized gift—in 2010, to create a foundation to aid Newark, N.J., public schools—was for $100-million.