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Track Every Penny: GiveWell
GiveWell was founded in 2006 by Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld, two friends who worked at a hedge fund together and who wanted a better way to scrutinize the charities they and their peers donated to. With $300,000 in start-up funds from former co-workers and friends, the two launched GiveWell, a non-profit that studies the effects of charities on the people they serve. With GiveWell, philanthropists can pick and choose whom they give money to, based on the charity's effectiveness.
Lesson: Know where your money goes—and how it is spent.