On Tuesday the first grants were made. Today, the founders of the organization are all over the press - in the Times, the WSJ and on CNBC. You can also find the audio of the first Board meeting online, and the record from Monday's meeting will be up soon. We did not get everything done that we had set for ourselves; we've made adjustments in our budgets, our timeline and the criteria we use for the work, and we've set real deadlines for getting done what was left hanging on Monday night.
We're still working on how to measure ourselves - what metrics matter for this new entity - quality of the research? dollars leveraged? users of the research? change in other funders? change in public discussion? And how we will track and report on these indicators?
Giving away money well is not easy. But The Clear Fund and GiveWell show that a lot of what stands for "business as usual" need not be - the work can be done quickly, informed decisions made and acted on, and information shared publicly. We need to hold ourselves to the same standards for cost effectiveness, impact, and transparency that we deign to ask for from those we fund. These are important elements of grant making, and many established funders are making real efforts to move in these directions.
Some of this is much easier to do when you've started fresh and have no institutional weight to carry. Some some of the problems and challenges that this a startup needs to deal with won't burden more established organizations. Listening and informing and debating across the bounds of "old" and "new" may be the best conversation we can all have.