King essentials

Investment Categories

We target King Essentials grants toward interventions that align with a set of priority investment categories—with fields of activity in which we can achieve substantial impact. To define our priority investment categories, we gather insight by reviewing evidence from program evaluation studies and from the latest academic literature, by soliciting guidance from field experts, by synthesizing feedback from beneficiaries, and by drawing on the experiences and perspectives of other donors.

We also apply a list of criteria that we have developed as part of our strategic planning process.

Our Criteria

1. Strong evidence of impact

We rely on research and data to establish whether an intervention will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Where possible, we review independent evaluation studies and give special attention to randomized control trials—the gold standard of impact evaluation.

2. High cost-effectiveness

We support efforts that achieve maximum reach and impact for every dollar spent. Currently, the average cost per beneficiary of the organizations and activities that we fund is $10.

3. Demonstrated link to alleviating poverty

We focus on interventions that have a proven connection to improving the lives of people who live on less than $1.90 a day.

4. Ability to make a difference

We seek out areas of activity in which new investment has a high potential to drive significant results.

5. Absence of other funders

We aim to fill gaps in investment that, for whatever reason, have drawn relatively little attention from other funders. We hope that over time our colleagues in the donor community will enter such investment areas as well.

6. Significant unmet need

We select interventions that promise to meet an essential need among a large number of people in our geographies of interest.

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