team

GiveDirectly began in Cambridge, MA in 2008 when its founders were completing advanced degrees in economic development at Harvard and MIT. Through their work the founders learned of the explosion of mobile banking in developing countries and realized that this would make it possible to send donations securely and very cheaply to the poor. Because existing non-profits were not taking advantage of the opportunity, they created GiveDirectly as a vehicle for transfering their own money.

As a non-profit created by donors, GiveDirectly is focused exclusively on giving to the poorest possible households at the lowest possible cost.

Michael Faye, Director


Michael completed a Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University, specializing in Development and Finance. He has worked with one of India's largest banks in designing consumer finance products and has extensive experience conducting field research in India. Prior to returning to school, Michael worked as a Research Analyst for the United Nations Millennium Project (UNMP), a group headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, tasked with preparing a plan for low-income countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He currently works as a management consultant.

Raphael Gitau, Director


Raphael is an Agricultural Economist. He holds an M.Sc. in International Development from the National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies Tokyo, Japan and is widely experienced in socio-economic surveys and data analysis. He has over eight years experience working in the East Africa Region in agricultural policy research, analysis, and advocacy.

Chris Hughes, Director


Chris is currently publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic. He previously co-founded and served as spokesperson for the social networking site Facebook, and served as Director of Online Organizing for the Obama 2008 campaign where he oversaw the development of My.BarackObama.com along with the campaign's overall online presence. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard University.

Paul Niehaus, Director and President


Paul is a director and President of GiveDirectly. He is also Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego; a Junior Affiliate at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); an Affiliate of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); and an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). His research examines the design of welfare programs in developing countries, and in particular how to control corruption. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.

Rohit Wanchoo, Director


Rohit is a Principal at a private equity firm in New York. He previously worked as a Research Analyst for the United Nations Millennium Project (UNMP), a group headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, tasked with preparing a plan for low-income countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Prior to his work at the UN, Rohit worked in finance as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers in New York. Rohit holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and an MPA in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Caroline Aela, Office Manager


Caroline holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Kampala University with a specialization in human resources management. She has a working experience in administration (human resources, procurement, and financial management), field surveys, and records management. Caroline previously worked with Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS) as Human Resources Assistant, KEMRI/CDC as administrative officer and Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) as program assistant.

Andrew Agumba, Senior Field Officer


Andrew holds a B.Sc in range management (land resource management and agricultural technology) and is currently pursuing an M.A in project planning and management, both from the University of Nairobi. Andrew has had an experience working with UN-World Food Program previously in a UCT program as a field monitor assistant.

Melissa Harpool, Outreach Coordinator


Melissa holds a Bachelor's degree in organizational communication from the University of Central Florida. She has experience in managing account relations for companies ranging from small private businesses to global industry leaders. She previously worked at McKinsey & Company as an Executive Assistant to top level management.

Joe Huston, Kenya Field Director


Joe holds an A.B. in economics from Dartmouth College with a specialization in economic development and international trade and has experience studying and working in China. He joined GiveDirectly from Bridgewater Associates, where he worked as an Investment Associate in its research and trading departments.

Lawrence Juma, Project Associate


Lawrence holds a diploma in information technology from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and has extensive field experience working with vulnerable communities in both northern and western Kenya. He joined GiveDirectly from Innovations for Poverty Action, where he was the assistant project manager for a behavioral research project studying the impact of increasing savings for vulnerable women. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's at KCA University.

Piali Mukhopadhyay, Chief Operating Officer (international)


Piali holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor's degree from MIT. She has extensive field experience working with non-governmental organizations in India, Nepal, Thailand, Zambia, and South Africa. Most recently, she worked for the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) managing a large-scale randomized control trial on anti-corruption measures in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Erick Ndong'a, Senior Field Officer


Erick is a social worker with experience researching and implementing programs for youth groups, women's groups and children's homes. He holds a diploma in social work and community development from the Technical University of Kenya, as well as a certificate in counseling psychology. He is currently completing a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Nairobi.

Michael Otieno, Senior Field Officer


Michael holds a diploma in community health and development from the Institute of Tropical Medicine. He has experience in community services and has done field work with several organizations related to children's issues, safe water and gender-based violence. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Public Health and Sanitation from Bondo University.

Stuart Skeates, Uganda Field Director


Stuart holds a B.Sc. in economics from the University of Nottingham. Previously, he worked for McKinsey & Company for three years, based in the London office. During this time, Stuart helped establish the firm's Addis Ababa office and worked on topics including global public health and climate change.

Joy Sun, Chief Operating Officer (domestic)


Joy joined GiveDirectly from McKinsey & Company where she was an engagement manager in the Silicon Valley office. She previously served as Director of Operations at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (formerly Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative), where she launched several field operations across Africa and helped lead the organization's growth from a start-up into a global institution with 500 staff and volunteers. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.

Lydia Tala, Senior Field Officer


Lydia holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Egerton University. Lydia is GiveDirectly's longest-standing staff member in Kenya and has made important contributions to the growth of its field operations since 2011. She previously worked with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as Voter Registration Assistant and Support Elections Trainer. She has also done field work for ChildFund International and CARE Kenya.

Carolina Toth, Manager, People and Partnerships


Carolina holds an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University, with a focus on African Development. Her multiple-award-winning thesis focused on children's homes in Nairobi and UNICEF's cash transfer program for orphans and vulnerable children. She worked as a business analyst for McKinsey & Company prior to joining GiveDirectly as the first Kenya Field Director.

Paul Brest, Advisor


Paul Brest is Professor Emeritus (active) at Stanford Law School, where he joined the faculty in 1969 and served as Dean from 1987 to 1999. He is also a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business and a faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. He served as president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation from 2000 to 2012. A leading scholar and teacher of constitutional law, Paul now focuses his teaching and writing on public policy, judgment and decision making, and philanthropy. He is co-author of Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment (2010) and Money Well Spent: A Strategic Guide to Smart Philanthropy (2008).

Hemant Taneja, Advisor


Hemant is a managing director at General Catalyst, where he invests in early stage technology companies. Hemant has spent the last decade partnering with great entrepreneurs to build technology companies that can transform industries. Before joining General Catalyst in 2002, he was the founder and CEO of Isovia. Hemant is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning an M.S. in operations research, an M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, a B.S. in mathematics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a B.S. in biology & biomedical engineering.