GiveWell, a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of its analysis to help donors decide where to give, has named Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation (VAS) program a top charity. This designation is determined by an organization’s evidence of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness (in terms of lives saved or improved per dollar donated), transparency, and ability to use additional donations effectively. GiveWell describes its top charities as “offer[ing] donors an outstanding opportunity to accomplish good with their donations.” HKI is one of only nine top charities on GiveWell's list.
GiveWell invests thousands of hours of research into finding top-rated, evidence-backed, underfunded charities. To achieve its endorsement, HKI engaged in an extensive evaluation process that included staff interviews, program documentation, and an in-country visit to see the program in action. This culminated in an analysis that includes 137 footnotes.
In addition to an initial $100,000 in unrestricted funding received this fall when HKI's vitamin A supplementation program passed the first phase of its review and became a standout charity, the organization expects significant additional funding to be generated for its work in vitamin A supplementation in countries with shortfalls (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger) as a result of GiveWell's recommendation. As GiveWell has stated: “We had considered vitamin A supplementation (VAS) a priority program for a number of years but had not found an organization that was able to answer our key questions. While we have some remaining questions, we can now make a strong case for supporting HKI’s work on VAS.”
"HKI is delighted to receive this strong vote of confidence after such a rigorous review process, not only because of the heightened visibility and increased credibility it brings for our organization, but also because of the further recognition of HKI’s landmark work in vitamin A supplementation — pioneered in the 1970s — as a cost-effective solution to reducing child mortality," says President and CEO Kathy Spahn.
For more than 40 years, Helen Keller International has been a leader in designing, implementing, and monitoring programs that ensure annual delivery of vitamin A to vulnerable populations worldwide. Ultimately, VAS is just one vital component of HKI’s holistic range of programs that address micronutrient deficiencies — a critical issue in the developing world that its also tackles through efforts including the home-based production of micronutrient-rich foods and large-scale food fortification. Collectively, these actions are making a critical difference in the lives of millions of people, and HKI continues to look toward engaging more supporters in this transformational work.