The idea for Agora for Good came out of a long discussion one evening about our own charitable giving. My husband Alex and I were both living and working in New York, and I had just returned from working in Burma with a nonprofit. We had become increasingly frustrated by the scarcity of information and tools that existed to help us navigate these important decisions.
Individuals in the United States give more than $250 billion every year – six times more than staffed private foundations. And yet there are surprisingly few resources out there to support us in our philanthropic giving.
From our professional experiences we knew there was no good reason for this. I was advising leading foundations and philanthropists at the time, and knew first hand that deep and valuable information regarding the social impact existed. Alex’s background in macroeconomics and data science had shown him that robust data infrastructure could provide great efficacy.
Together we reflected on the fact that our society currently has the technology, the knowledge, and the resources to solve the world’s greatest challenges. But, as a society, we weren’t allocating those resources effectively. Data and information was too hard to find, and not easily searchable. In order to truly change the world, we realized we needed to first transform the sector with data.
Thus began Agora for Good: a marketplace that connects donors to the organizations that are effectively solving the global challenges they care about, and that helps effective organizations raise the funds they need and seamlessly share their impact with their supporters.
Angela, a first generation American, had been interested in women’s global rights since a young age. While pursuing her MBA at Stanford, Angela worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in India, learning from women who had been sex trafficked. She saw first hand how many different factors interacted to create the conditions that gave rise to human trafficking. It was clear that meaningful change couldn’t be achieved simply by funding a single sector or intervention. After Stanford Angela joined Dalberg, a major strategic advisory firm dedicated to global development, where she advised large foundations and multilaterals in moving ~$300 million in high impact giving.
Alex saw first hand growing up the effects of inequality on health and education in America. He grew up living in the projects in Boston, and during his childhood became determined to make an impact in addressing inequality. As a data scientist at heart, Alex decided to dedicate his career to understanding the world in order to change it, and after receiving degrees from Oxford and Stanford Business School, he worked at the world’s largest macroeconomic hedge fund. While there, he grew increasingly interested in the opportunity for data to drive smarter decisions in changing the world. In addition to Agora, he runs Snow Ventures.