The Center for Election Science Year End EA Appeal


This is the 2019 case for sup­port­ing The Cen­ter for Elec­tion Science. (Here’s our in­tro page.) We need your fi­nan­cial sup­port to suc­ceed in our mis­sion. This out­line de­tails what you can look for­ward to in this post. Also, you can hear in (very) long form about our work from an epi­sode of 80,000 Hours. And there’s our EA Global Pre­sen­ta­tion.

  1. Who we are

  2. Why we do what we do

    1. Importance

    2. Tractability

    3. Neglectedness

  3. What we will do with suffi­cient funding

  4. Why we’re ask­ing for fund­ing from you

  5. Why there is urgency

  6. My ask to you

  7. FAQ

Who we are

The Cen­ter for Elec­tion Science (CES) is a 501(c)3 non­profit that stud­ies and ad­vo­cates bet­ter vot­ing meth­ods. Vot­ing meth­ods are the way you put in­for­ma­tion on your bal­lot and how that in­for­ma­tion is calcu­lated to pro­duce a re­sult. For ex­am­ple, choos­ing one can­di­date and se­lect­ing whomever has the most votes is a vot­ing method—albeit a ter­rible one.

It’s hard to over­state how im­por­tant our work is. We fo­cus pri­mar­ily in the US—ar­guably the most in­fluen­tial coun­try in the world given its GDP and heavy reach over for­eign policy. You don’t want a coun­try with this stature to have a bro­ken vot­ing method. Bad poli­cies and ir­re­spon­si­ble spend­ing are in­evitable, and they af­fect the rest of the globe. You may have no­ticed.

Why we do what we do

Firstly, what we do is im­por­tant.

We cur­rently use the worst vot­ing method there is—a choose-one method called plu­ral­ity vot­ing—to de­cide who makes enor­mous policy and spend­ing de­ci­sions at the lo­cal and na­tional lev­els through­out the US.

The cur­rent vot­ing method does a num­ber of things wrong. Here are three of the big ones:

  1. Our cur­rent vot­ing method chooses bad win­ners. Vote split­ting oc­curs ev­ery­where be­cause vot­ers can only choose one can­di­date. This re­sults in con­sen­sus-style can­di­dates get­ting squeezed out when there are many can­di­dates—par­tic­u­larly in pri­maries. In the gen­eral elec­tion, even minor vote split­ting can cause a bad out­come.

  2. Our cur­rent vot­ing method fails to cap­ture the sup­port of all the can­di­dates. Be­cause you’re limited to giv­ing in­for­ma­tion about just one can­di­date, there’s a lack of in­for­ma­tion about other can­di­dates. Also, vot­ers fear throw­ing away their one and only vote on a los­ing can­di­date, which ex­as­per­ates the is­sue. This mischar­ac­ter­i­za­tion of sup­port means new can­di­dates and ideas—par­tic­u­larly from third par­ties and in­de­pen­dents—are eas­ily marginal­ized and aren’t given the op­por­tu­nity to grow. Can­di­dates may not re­ceive proper me­dia cov­er­age, or they may not be in­vited to de­bates.

  3. Our cur­rent vot­ing method dis­cour­ages good can­di­dates from run­ning. The cur­rent vot­ing method dis­cour­ages can­di­dates who aren’t con­sid­ered “vi­able”. Un­for­tu­nately, vi­able of­ten means hav­ing a war chest of fund­ing and name recog­ni­tion. But those char­ac­ter­is­tics aren’t nec­es­sar­ily good pre­dic­tors for whether a can­di­date does a good job in office.

For­tu­nately, there’s a bet­ter ap­proach to vot­ing, ap­proval vot­ing. Ap­proval vot­ing lets vot­ers pick all the can­di­dates they want (no rank­ing, just se­lect­ing). The can­di­date with the most votes wins. This method is sim­ple and ad­dresses these same three con­cerns:

  1. Ap­proval vot­ing chooses more con­sen­sus win­ners. Un­der ap­proval vot­ing, vot­ers can pick all the can­di­dates they want, which means they can hedge their bets with mod­er­ate can­di­dates to guard against ex­treme can­di­dates win­ning. This re­sults in more con­sen­sus-style can­di­dates that bring higher util­ity to vot­ers. Below is an ex­am­ple of one simu­la­tion that looks at ap­proval vot­ing com­pared to other meth­ods:

2. Ap­proval vot­ing cap­tures the sup­port of all the can­di­dates. Ap­proval vot­ing lets you offer in­for­ma­tion about all the can­di­dates. And, all that in­for­ma­tion is fully used and ex­pressed in the re­sults. This means you can see a clearer re­flec­tion of sup­port from all the can­di­dates. This is ro­bust in ev­ery vot­ing method study I’ve ever seen. With polls typ­i­cally match­ing the vot­ing method, this could also af­fect the growth of can­di­dates through­out the elec­tion. This is even more op­ti­mistic than vot­ing method stud­ies which are only able to take a snap­shot of can­di­date sup­port at one point in time. With clearer sup­port, can­di­dates are less likely to be marginal­ized by me­dia or kept out of de­bates. Here’s an ex­am­ple from the 2020 Demo­cratic Pri­mary:

3. Ap­proval vot­ing en­courages good can­di­dates to run. Here’s one rea­son bet­ter can­di­dates don’t run. They don’t want to waste their money or get called a spoiler. Vi­a­bil­ity is ev­ery­thing for can­di­dates. But with ap­proval vot­ing, vi­a­bil­ity changes. Yes, can­di­dates will still need enough re­sources to get their mes­sage out. But be­cause vot­ers can always sup­port their fa­vorite, hav­ing good ideas is enough. Un­der ap­proval vot­ing, good can­di­dates can run fear­lessly.

This ap­proach to vot­ing method re­form is uniquely im­por­tant. Ap­proval vot­ing sup­ports grow­ing new ideas while fa­vor­ing the elec­torate’s mid­dle. This en­vi­ron­ment can foster the sta­bil­ity nec­es­sary to sup­port con­ti­nu­ity of gov­ern­ment and in­fluence policy over the long term. This not only benefits those al­ive now, but it also benefits fu­ture peo­ple. Our chil­dren and their chil­dren benefit from the im­proved poli­cies of to­day.

Se­condly, what we do is tractable.

We have a way to get things done—work­ing with lo­cal groups and run­ning bal­lot ini­ti­a­tives. It’s ex­pen­sive yet highly cost effec­tive. And it works.

In 2018, CES had its first year of real fund­ing and we were able to hire full-time staff for the first time. We passed a bal­lot ini­ti­a­tive in the 120,000-per­son city of Fargo, ND. It was the first city ever in the US to im­ple­ment ap­proval vot­ing. We helped pass it by 63.5%.

We did this by run­ning a strate­gic cam­paign alongside key stake­hold­ers within the com­mu­nity and copy­ing best prac­tices. Other cam­paigns have ad­vanced al­ter­na­tive vot­ing meth­ods as well. We used their tac­tics. They work.

This is worth re­peat­ing. Within less than a year of our ini­tial fund­ing, we hired our first full-time staff and got ap­proval vot­ing passed in its first US city ever. This is a brag at how effi­cient we are. We’re fine with that brag.

We didn’t even take a breather be­fore tak­ing up our sec­ond city of St. Louis, which our polls already show is above 70% sup­port. That’s be­fore it’s even made the bal­lot. We haven’t even for­mally launched the ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign.

We also now have a Direc­tor of Cam­paigns and Ad­vo­cacy to help us co­or­di­nate with part­ners. Our Direc­tor has also helped us start a chap­ter sys­tem to kick­start cam­paigns in new cities and states.

With funds, we have the means to run cam­paigns in mul­ti­ple large cities. And we can do this with states. As we’ve shown, we are effi­cient, and we are fast. While we are not the first to the scene of ad­vanc­ing al­ter­na­tive vot­ing meth­ods, we take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to lev­er­age our sec­ond-mover ad­van­tage.

Thirdly, what we do is ne­glected.

While there are other or­ga­ni­za­tions that ad­vance al­ter­na­tive vot­ing meth­ods, we are the only ones who are suc­cess­fully ad­vanc­ing ap­proval vot­ing. And if the com­par­i­son be­tween other or­ga­ni­za­tions’ bud­gets is of any in­di­ca­tor, we are ex­tremely un­der­funded.

Be­fore 2017, we op­er­ated on a bud­get of $50K or less (we have a stand­out trans­parency page if you’d like to look). We ba­si­cally used that to build a web­site, set up a struc­ture, and pro­vi­sion­ally get the word out. In 2017, our in­come in­cluded our Open Philan­thropy Pro­ject grant at the very end of the year plus our reg­u­lar fundrais­ing. This put us at about $650K for 2017.

In 2018, we raised over $250K with $30K com­ing from Open Phil. We also had fundrais­ing staff for the first time in 2018. We re­ceived a sec­ond grant at the be­gin­ning of this 2019 year from Open Phil, which is ex­pected to last for three years. That gives us a floor of $600K for 2019 if we break that up through 2021.

It’s im­por­tant to look at all this in con­text to oth­ers in this space.

In 2017 alone, all or­ga­ni­za­tions that had ranked choice vot­ing (RCV, a com­pet­ing effort), as their pri­mary mis­sion had a col­lec­tive an­nual in­come of nearly $10M. (This ex­cludes other large or­ga­ni­za­tions who still in­clude RCV among their ac­tivi­ties.) The largest or­ga­ni­za­tion (with their sister 501c4 non­profit) had an an­nual in­come of over $5M (over 7.5x ours for the same year) and 36 em­ploy­ees cur­rently on their staff page. The sec­ond largest (and their 501c4 sister) had an an­nual in­come of over $3M (over 4.5x our 2017 in­come) and listed 31 em­ploy­ees on their IRS filings for 2018.

In con­trast, we hired our fourth staff mem­ber in 2019.

Even more, these or­ga­ni­za­tions have had time to grow and get es­tab­lished. When look­ing back five years from 2017, the now largest or­ga­ni­za­tion brought in well over $10M cu­mu­la­tively (their older 990 filings have been tough to track down for a clearer num­ber); and the now sec­ond largest also brought in over $10M cu­mu­la­tively. And they’re grow­ing. For CES, our ag­gre­gate in­come has been $762K look­ing past five years since 2017.

For refer­ence, it’s taken RCV nearly three decades and tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to get where it is now. The first or­ga­ni­za­tion to push RCV took a decade for its first win de­spite RCV already hav­ing been im­ple­mented in the US and in­ter­na­tion­ally. As it stands, RCV is used in 22 US cities and one state. It’s failed to pass in three cities and one state when it made the bal­lot (not count­ing cases when it took mul­ti­ple at­tempts to pass). It’s also been re­pealed in six cities with lo­cal op­po­nents pri­mar­ily point­ing to voter con­fu­sion.

Fund­ing for ap­proval vot­ing has caused its progress to pale in com­par­i­son. But I as­sure you, with $5M in an­nual fund­ing, we won’t take three decades to progress with ap­proval vot­ing where RCV is now.

What we will do with suffi­cient funding

We will run effec­tive cam­paigns. Ear­lier, be­cause of re­sources, we were pas­sive about how we tar­geted cities. Cities came to us. Now we have the so­phis­ti­ca­tion to iden­tify ge­o­graphic con­cen­tra­tions of sup­port to de­velop chap­ters that can grow into cam­paigns. We will use this tac­tic to en­ter into ma­jor cities across the US. This re­quires ex­ist­ing sup­port for in­fras­truc­ture and staffing. It also re­quires fund­ing for a sep­a­rate 501(c)4 non­profit to sidestep our ex­ist­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion’s spend­ing limits for lob­by­ing.

It’s also worth not­ing that per­ceived ca­pac­ity to fund a cam­paign heav­ily in­fluences which or­ga­ni­za­tions will col­lab­o­rate with you. Without the right bud­get, or­ga­ni­za­tions will not in­vite you to join in col­lab­o­ra­tive statewide cam­paigns and will in­stead go with the lead­ing al­ter­na­tive. They’re open about this.

We will lobby leg­is­la­tors. Be­cause of ap­proval vot­ing’s sim­plic­ity, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for lob­by­ing elected offi­cials. Nor­mally, this isn’t an op­tion be­cause of the con­flict of in­ter­est with those elected. But the op­por­tu­nity pre­sents it­self when the party in power suffers be­cause of vote split­ting yet wants to avoid im­ple­ment­ing a com­plex method. There are places where RCV is stalled out where we have op­por­tu­ni­ties. Th­ese are typ­i­cally higher risk but very high re­ward since they don’t re­quire the same re­sources as a cam­paign. Our es­ti­mate is that they can be one sixth the ex­pected cost per cit­i­zen com­pared to bal­lot mea­sures when fac­tor­ing in their rel­a­tive prob­a­bil­ity of suc­cess. This also re­quires fund­ing for a 501(c)4 to do this effec­tively at scale.

We will do re­search. We’ve leaned heav­ily on vol­un­teers and aca­demic part­ners, but hav­ing only staff mem­ber (my­self) with a tech­ni­cal and re­search back­ground limits us. As ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, I have other re­spon­si­bil­ities to pri­ori­tize. We need a Direc­tor of Re­search, sup­port staff, and funds to carry out the re­search. Imag­ine be­ing able to have real anal­y­sis of all the elec­tions that use an al­ter­na­tive vot­ing method. Imag­ine get­ting the type of data you want to see af­ter ap­proval vot­ing is im­ple­mented. It takes la­bor and funds to de­sign that method­ol­ogy, part­ner with the right col­lab­o­ra­tors and con­trac­tors, col­lect the data, an­a­lyze it, and them dis­sem­i­nate it in a way peo­ple can un­der­stand.

Do­ing re­search helps us to see the im­pact of ap­proval vot­ing and also helps us look at other meth­ods. We have to com­pare meth­ods to eval­u­ate the case for ap­proval vot­ing or else the de­fault will be for RCV. Re­search achieves mul­ti­ple other goals as well. It makes lob­by­ing eas­ier, at­tracts me­dia, eval­u­ates whether we’re ad­vanc­ing the right re­form, and has us more fully achieve our mis­sion as an or­ga­ni­za­tion that fur­thers vot­ing method re­search.

We will in­crease our out­reach and broaden our fund­ing and sup­port base. It’s im­por­tant that we have a far reach so that we can be iden­ti­fied by part­ners and so that ap­proval vot­ing is a less for­eign con­cept in cities. Ideally, we’d like to push so hard and quickly that we’re able to reach a tip­ping point. Ap­proval vot­ing’s sim­plic­ity lends it­self well to that. In­creas­ing our fund­ing and sup­port base also sig­nals di­verse buy-in, which is im­por­tant even in sce­nar­ios with con­tinued con­cen­trated fund­ing.

Why we’re ask­ing for fund­ing from you

Firstly, we want to achieve ev­ery­thing from the pre­vi­ous sec­tion. We are ca­pa­ble of perform­ing at an even higher level if we are given the funds to do so.

Tra­di­tional fun­ders are not keen to try new ideas. That’s true even when there is strong early ev­i­dence. And it’s es­pe­cially true when a fun­der has sup­ported com­pet­ing ideas.

Our cur­rent small size cre­ates an ad­di­tional prob­lem. Fun­ders around this area—even when they find our work com­pel­ling—show pause when they look at our in­come. Be­ing a smaller or­ga­ni­za­tion can cause lead­ing na­tional fun­ders to pass us up, par­tic­u­larly when they see other larger or­ga­ni­za­tions with ex­ist­ing ca­pac­ity.

Ad­di­tion­ally, fun­ders re­quire many years of re­la­tion­ship build­ing be­fore any sig­nifi­cant fund­ing is pro­vided. While we are mak­ing those con­nec­tions now, they will take awhile be­fore we can suc­cess­fully lev­er­age them. And it will be even longer be­fore we can lev­er­age them for larger amounts of fund­ing.

If there’s a par­tic­u­lar com­mu­nity that’s vet­ted us, it’s the EA com­mu­nity.

Why there is urgency

We’re strug­gling for air­time with mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions who all out­fund us. We have the ad­van­tage of a sim­ple solu­tion that also works bet­ter. But with­out sig­nifi­cant fund­ing, we will get left be­hind.

My ask to you

My ask to you is for your in­vest­ment in a fairer, more rep­re­sen­ta­tive US democ­racy. It’s rare we come across a cause area so ne­glected with so much room for im­prove­ment—par­tic­u­larly when it’s this im­por­tant. This is a good in­vest­ment whether you give $500 a year or $500K a year.

Some of you may be in a differ­ent seat where you can lev­er­age even more fund­ing. It’s worth not­ing here that lead­ers in the non­profit field have made the case for a more ag­gres­sive fund­ing model. A more ag­gres­sive fund­ing model pro­vides much longer sup­port to en­able richer plan­ning, nim­bler de­ci­sion mak­ing, and more risk tak­ing. Part of this case in­volves throw­ing the caveat of con­cen­trated fund­ing to the wind, but it also means things get done effi­ciently.

(Another in­ter­est­ing note is that even with the long time ramp, one of the two lead­ing vot­ing method or­ga­ni­za­tions still gets half its fund­ing from just two sources. We don’t have the data to to see what the case is for the other.)

Our demon­strated proof of con­cept, vi­sion, and effi­ciency makes us a great tar­get for con­tinued large-scale fund­ing. Thank you ahead of time for your sup­port.

FAQ

Q: If peo­ple had more vot­ing power, how do we know they’d ad­vance bet­ter poli­cies?

A: Con­sider the coun­ter­fac­tual. Who de­cides when it’s not the vot­ers? If it’s not the vot­ers, do those peo­ple have our best in­ter­ests in mind? And if some policy ar­eas are failing in rhetoric, per­haps that de­serves to be an EA cause. Bet­ter democ­racy will not lead to perfect policy. But bad democ­racy will lead to bad policy and bad peo­ple in gov­ern­ment who aren’t look­ing out for the col­lec­tive util­ity of all of us.

Q: I heard there was this thing about ap­proval vot­ing that wasn’t so good or that an­other vot­ing method was bet­ter. Also, don’t for­get about Ar­row’s The­o­rem.

A: All vot­ing meth­ods have quirks, but we main­tain that the quirks of ap­proval vot­ing are com­par­a­tively mild com­pared to the al­ter­na­tives. You can see this ar­ti­cle where we go into all the de­tails about ap­proval vot­ing crit­i­cisms. Also, I talked with Ken­neth Ar­row per­son­ally for an hour and he said that our choose-one vot­ing method was bad. Really.

Q: How does RCV match up to ap­proval vot­ing?

A: Not very well. From en­coun­ter­ing avoid­able anoma­lies to be­ing need­lessly com­plex, RCV falls well short of what ap­proval vot­ing can offer. Here’s an ar­ti­cle on that topic. And here’s a crit­i­cal look at RCV. In short, RCV can tend to­wards a more po­lariz­ing win­ner in challeng­ing elec­tions. It also does a much poorer job at mea­sur­ing the sup­port for all the can­di­dates. Between the two, ap­proval vot­ing is also much more vi­able long term for US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. This is due to tech­ni­cal fea­tures like precinct summa­bil­ity, the type of data used, and over­all com­plex­ity.

Q: Why do you bring up or crit­i­cize RCV?

A: Those who are aware of the vot­ing meth­ods space tend to only be aware of RCV. We’re in a pe­riod where there are false claims on RCV that you can rank your fa­vorite first ev­ery time and that it gives a ma­jor­ity win­ner. Th­ese mis­per­cep­tions cre­ate an un­level play­ing field when vot­ers and gov­ern­ments are eval­u­at­ing their op­tions.

Be­cause of the com­plex­ity, re­porters and other out­lets don’t have the so­phis­ti­ca­tion to ques­tion it. It’s also part of our mis­sion to effec­tively eval­u­ate differ­ent vot­ing meth­ods and ed­u­cate the pub­lic on their mer­its. It’s worth not­ing that we went into this sec­tor ag­nos­tic about which method we would ad­vo­cate for. Only af­ter that eval­u­a­tion did we ar­rive on ap­proval vot­ing.

Q: How do you de­cide what makes a vot­ing method good?

A: We look at the type of win­ner it tends to elect as well as prac­ti­cal is­sues from sim­plic­ity to im­ple­men­ta­tion. Here’s an ar­ti­cle on that topic.

Q: Will ap­proval vot­ing in­crease the num­ber of par­ties?

A: Prob­a­bly, but not by much. Those par­ties can, how­ever, get their voice heard (and ig­nored if they have bad ideas). Here’s an ar­ti­cle on Du­verger’s Law. (Fun video here). Also, third par­ties and in­de­pen­dents clearly benefit from ap­proval vot­ing. Note that the multi-win­ner pro­por­tional ver­sion of ap­proval vot­ing would en­courage more par­ties. But it’s more com­pli­cated on the calcu­la­tion end. It’s still a strong ap­proach among pro­por­tional meth­ods.

Q: Why don’t you go af­ter or­ga­ni­za­tions that do achieve­ment awards?

A: We do, though we limit our re­sources to high-im­pact op­por­tu­ni­ties. Here’s an ar­ti­cle about how we worked with The Webby Awards. We’ve also done an ar­ti­cle on giv­ing games. I’ve per­son­ally en­coun­tered some re­sis­tance when talk­ing with some large awards or­ga­ni­za­tions. They don’t col­lect the data to know whether their cur­rent vot­ing method is bad. Plus they likely per­ceive that chang­ing their vot­ing method may re­veal that their pre­vi­ously given awards have less value.

Q: The Elec­toral Col­lege is awful. Why aren’t you work­ing to get rid of it?

A: The cur­rent ac­tions to make the elec­toral col­lege moot would still leave us with that awful choose-one vot­ing method. Ap­proval vot­ing would work with this cur­rent ap­proach though (RCV wouldn’t). We wrote a whole ar­ti­cle about it.

Q: Why don’t you go af­ter pri­maries? You should be go­ing af­ter pri­maries.

A: In ar­eas where we run ini­ti­a­tives and there are pri­maries, we will be hav­ing them use ap­proval vot­ing. We’ve writ­ten lots about pri­maries. Here’s an ar­ti­cle. Here’s one, too. Here’s one more. We’ll likely write an­other one be­fore too long as well.

Q: Why don’t you tar­get third par­ties to get their sup­port?

A: We tar­get third par­ties to get their sup­port. Green and Liber­tar­ian chap­ters in mul­ti­ple states sup­port and use ap­proval vot­ing. The Liber­tar­ian Party even uses it for na­tional in­ter­nal po­si­tions. Other third par­ties use it, too. Many of those folks have already bought that IRV will help them, so we have to ex­plain how ap­proval vot­ing would be bet­ter.

Q: I listened to the 80,000 Hours Epi­sode, but I felt that you didn’t go into enough de­tail in cer­tain ar­eas.

A: It seems like you always think of things af­ter the fact. Here are some quick fol­low-up de­tails into ar­eas like voter turnout where I could have given a more com­plete an­swer.

Q: Don’t you have money already?

A: Our grant from Open Phil lets us op­er­ate. At $1.8M over three years, how­ever, that means a $400K short­fall each year if we want to tar­get a $1M an­nual bud­get. That’s the av­er­age bud­get we’ll need to take on cities larger than Fargo, ND. In 2018 when we re­ceived our first $600K grant, which worked great for that year, but we took on a smaller city of 120,000 peo­ple. We’ve made sub­stan­tial gains since then, but it’s un­re­al­is­tic for us to hit $400K im­me­di­ately. This grant was game chang­ing for us, but still leaves us sub­stan­tially short of what we need to op­ti­mize our effec­tive­ness and grow or im­pact. As laid out above, we have enor­mous room to op­er­ate effec­tively with more funds.

Even just aiming at a $1M bud­get (we can effec­tively use much more), we have a lot of ground to cover. It can also take a long time to get a donor base, staffing, in­fras­truc­ture, and some big wins. For ex­am­ple, we effec­tively have $600K per year available start­ing from 2018. And we have a bud­get mov­ing to­wards $1M in 2019. The first year of hav­ing fund­ing in 2018, we raised an ad­di­tional $200K out­side any grants (4x our nor­mal rev­enue from pre­vi­ous years). To cover the bud­get gap for the re­main­ing years, we need to in­crease our dona­tions by 50% each and ev­ery year af­ter that. So that’s $300K in 2019, $450K in year 2020, and $675K in 2021.

This is an ex­tremely am­bi­tious growth rate, which is why we need your sup­port.

Q: How can I help again?

A: Let other peo­ple know about our work and in­vest in a bet­ter democ­racy. If you’re par­tic­u­larly well con­nected, con­sider join­ing our board.

Q: Some­one told me Aaron has a bunch of tech­ni­cal re­sources on effi­cient giv­ing and min­i­miz­ing tax bur­den in the US. Is this true?

A: You’re right! You can find those re­sources here. In par­tic­u­lar, you should check out the ar­ti­cles on philan­thropic giv­ing, planned giv­ing, and donor-ad­vised funds.