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Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative


The Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative (NMI) was an initiative of the Effective Philanthropy Group of the Hewlett Foundation launched in 2006. Its closure was announced in the Chronicle of Philanthropy in April 2014.

The NMI was started by the Effective Philanthropy Group at the Hewlett Foundation in 2006 with the goal that "by 2015, ten percent of individual philanthropic donations in the US (or $20 billion), would be influenced by meaningful, high-quality information about nonprofit organizations’ performance." Jacob Harold was the program officer responsible, and the Hewlett Foundation at the time was headed by Paul Brest.

The NMI funded a number of charity evaluators including:

Holden Karnofsky, co-founder and co-executive director of GiveWell, expressed gratitude to the NMI, saying that NMI's support of the organization was crucial in its first few years, when it was relatively unknown and the subject of unfavorable controversies. He also praised the NMI for their support despite differences in strategy and approach, and said that while the NMI often encouraged them to spread a wider net and collaborate more with other NMI grantees, they were never inappropriately pressured.

Ken Berger, President of Charity Navigator, wrote a letter upon the closure of the NMI thanking the Hewlett Foundation for their generous support of Charity Navigator through their transition to version 3.0 of their product. Berger identified the Hewlett Foundation as the single biggest overall supporter of Charity Navigator.

In April 2014, an article the Chronicle of Philanthropy announced that the Hewlett Foundation was ending the Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative. The Hewlett Foundation's decision was based on an internal re-evaluation of the project, motivated by two external pieces of information:

The Hewlett Foundation also had some significant personnel changes over the time period: Jacob Harold left the Hewlett Foundation for GuideStar and was replaced by Lindsay Louise, while Paul Brest was replaced by Larry Kramer as President of the Hewlett Foundation. They said that these changes made it more logical for them to re-evaluate the strategy, but was not the reason for ending the program, since the external studies and evaluations that would lead to the program's cosure had been initiated under the previous staff.



  • GiveWell, that was focused on finding the very best charities to donate to
  • Charity Navigator and Guidestar, that were focused more on rating large numbers of charities using clearly defined metrics
  • Philanthropedia, a platform for experts to rate charities
  • GreatNonprofits, a platform for people to share information about great charities
  • The Money For Good study conducted by Hope Consulting (paid for by the Hewlett Foundation) whose headline result was "few donors do research before they give, and those that do look to the nonprofit itself to provide simple information about efficiency and effectiveness."
  • An external evaluation from Arabella Advisors whose results further convinced the Hewlett Foundation that their strategy was not working anywhere near as well as they hoped.
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Wikipedia

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