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New club plans to donate to wide range of charities

By Ryan Spencer

Section: News

October 30, 2015

Five Brandeis first-years founded Giving What We Can, a new club that aims to determine which charities most effectively utilize donations and then donate to those organizations. The founders, Hannah Sussman, Rachel Gifeisman, Danni Tang, Rachel Lederer and Geoffrey Kao, were inspired by a Facebook post about “effective altruism,” a philosophy that recognizes that some charities do more with their resources and money than other charities. Brandeis’ Giving What We Can is a chapter of the global Giving What We Can organization.

The new Brandeis chapter hopes to bring together Brandeis faculty, staff and students to discuss which causes they believe are most important to donate to.

Giving What We Can hopes to answer two questions: “How do charity evaluators and Giving What We Can measure a charity’s effectiveness?” and “Can those methods be improved?” said Tang in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

To answer these questions, the club plans to have Skype calls with staff at Giving What We Can, hold discussions and host film screenings about charity evaluation groups such as GiveWell and Giving Games. GiveWell evaluates charities using the “effective altruism” approach, and participants in Giving Games play out this theory when they are presented with a choice between several charities and must weigh the options and decide which receives a donation.

Furthermore, Giving What We Can aims to donate to a variety of charities rather than focusing on just one or two. The club believes that by being dedicated to “the entire network of effective charities,” they are able to do the “most good worldwide,” Tang said.

Tang differentiates Brandeis’ Giving What We Can from service clubs on campus, explaining that Giving What We Can “is not technically a service club. It is a charity club, focused on helping those who may be out of reach of our immediate community.”

The club wants “to advocate for and donate to charities that have been proven to be most effective with what they’re given” because “many nonprofits that seem to have good intentions are, in actuality, corrupt,” Tang said.

Brandeis’ Giving What We Can is working to become a chartered club.

The students “believe this club adds tremendous value to the Brandeis community and foresee no problem in getting chartered,” said Tang.

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