Global Research Initiatives
New Partners and MEmbers
Case study

Grow Further


There are approximately 800 million people today who don’t have enough to eat. Many are children.

This is one of the world’s greatest challenges. Farmers must innovate to feed a growing population and respond to rapidly evolving pests and diseases and a changing climate.

Most private-sector agricultural research focuses on the needs of farmers in developed countries. But the millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries can’t afford their patented technologies, and they also operate in very different economic and cultural contexts. Research focusing on their unique needs is almost exclusively funded by government agencies and a handful of major foundations. But these well-meaning efforts aren’t designed to keep up with fast-moving technology developments, and they also often overlook local and indigenous knowledge.

As a result, the world is dramatically underinvesting in agricultural innovation in developing countries. Funding is a fraction of what is necessary to identify and develop the most promising solutions.

We have a massive opportunity. There’s overwhelming evidence that agricultural research delivers more benefit per dollar than most any other form of investment or development strategy. It’s one of the most effective ways to fight poverty, improve nutrition, help adapt to a changing environment, and in some countries even maintain national security. Sorry for the pun, but for what we get, it’s dirt cheap.

So how do we get more funding and agility into this space? Dr. Peter Kelly, a professor of economics and social impact visionary, had a promising idea. To create an organization to address this massive opportunity in a highly complex landscape filled with technical and organizational challenges, he hired Altruist.


Starting in 2018, Altruist worked side by side with Dr. Kelly and a small group of global advisors and experts to build the organization from the ground up. Several years of intensive research, design, iteration and incremental building led to program launch, and further follow-on support to staff and refine programs and operations has resulted today in a organization that is already funding cutting-edge agricultural research in developing countries and has attracted the attention of national media, the US State Department, and the participation of companies, institutions, individuals and scientific researchers around the world.

Grow Further’s first call for proposals attracted over 700 applications, many of which presented highly scalable food security innovations, proving the tremendous importance and further potential of this visionary new model. Two are already funded and many more are in the pipeline. 

Now, individual members from all walks of life — not just foundation leaders or international development professionals — can join Grow Further to learn, support, contribute and choose specific projects in partnership with experts and farmers.

Agricultural scientists in developing countries, the experts closest to local conditions and opportunities, can now access new sources of funding to work on problems local farmers face in producing food.

Farmers can now develop new innovations to produce more nutritious, profitable, and climate-change ready crops and livestock. They are also the source of many of the ideas that scientists test or develop and remain engaged through a project life cycle.

Grow Further then delivers the resulting innovations to private companies and governments to take successful ideas to scale. 

Today, this model is fully operational and funding what appear to be major innovations in food security. While the work is still in its early stages, we are already starting to capture the massive potential for what promises to be among the world’s most effective and scalable social impact efforts.


Altruist provided us deep expertise designing and building our ambitious vision for social impact. Highly recommended. 

Dr. Peter Kelly

Founder, Grow Further

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