Where Some People Donated in 2017
Edited 2018-02-14 to include myself.
Edited soon after publication to include ACE staff members’ donations. Thanks to the Facebook commenter who pointed me to them.
This is a collection of writings on where people are donating. It only includes writings that I am aware exist (obviously) and that are written by effectiveness-minded people.
My descriptions are paraphrased from the linked writings as much as possible. The writing in this post includes combinations of my own and the linked writers’ words. My summaries often do not do the original writers justice, so I recommend reading all of the linked articles if you are interested.
In 2017 I donated to the Good Food Institute because I believed it presented a particularly good opportunity for reducing animal suffering and antispeciesism in expectation. (Original writeup says I donated in 2016 but I actually donated in early 2017.)
Zach is donating to Wild-Animal Suffering Research (WASR) because he believes that: (1) animals in the wild suffer terror and pain on a massive scale, and virtually nobody even considers trying to address this problem; (2) he has been thoroughly impressed with his personal interactions with WASR staff as well as their output to date.
Ben reviewed the research produced by a bunch of AI safety organizations. He rot13’d his donation decision to allow readers to come to their own conclusions; below is his own rot13’d description.
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Peter used three main criteria:
Have a clear “room for more funding”
Have a clear risk of not meeting their funding goal
Clear a bar of being “impactful enough” for the EA community to be worth funding
He selected four organizations that he believed met these criteria: (1) Charity Science Health, (2) Rethink Charity, (3) Wild-Animal Suffering Research, and (4) Sentience Institute.
Jason donated primarily to New Harvest because he believes he believes their efforts will support the development of animal product alternatives and thus reduce animal suffering. He also considered donations to Good Food Institute, Plant Based Foods Association, Wild Animal Suffering Research, and Animal Ethics. He believes that New Harvest has a strong track record and substantial room for more funding – “New Harvest seems especially well poised to [improve animal product alternatives] with marginal donations”.
(Note: Jason frequently refers to “we” in his article, but I don’t know who the other person is.)
50-50 split between things that directly do good and more speculative options
For more speculative things, they want to put part of the money towards a project that a friend is starting, and the rest to the EA Community Fund
80% to a donor-advised fund, to be allocated later
18% to GiveWell top charities (to be allocated at GiveWell’s discretion)
2% to GiveWell’s operations
Ben saved 80% to donate later because he believes most top candidate organizations are not particularly cash constrained right now, but he wanted to make a large donation in 2017 due to the recent tax bill.
Zvi donated to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. He believes AI safety is “the most important, urgent and under-funded cause.” His private information and personal experience point to MIRI being a capable organization. Zvi was particularly impressed by MIRI’s paper on Functional Decision Theory.
His post explains (i) why he believes AI safety matters, (ii) his analysis of MIRI’s organizational quality, (iii) his analysis of MIRI’s research, and (iv) general comments on donation.
24% to Animal Charity Evaluators
24% to Good Food Institute (GFI)
20% to Vegan Outreach
8% to A Well-Fed World
16% to Encompass
Toni Adleberg donated or directed donations to GFI, Against Malaria Foundation, and Encompass, plus some small donations elsewhere.
Sofia Davis-Fogel donated to:
Kieran Greig planned on donating to ACE because he believes donations to ACE have a higher expected value than donations to ACE top charities. He was interested in funding some other projects but was unaware of any highly promising donation targets for them:
Corporate campaigns aimed at improving farmed fish welfare
Feature length documentaries advocating for farmed animals
Genetic interventions to improve animal welfare
Establishing wild animal suffering as an academic field
Funding talented researchers to do effective animal advocacy research
Jamie Spurgeon cycled through supporting various causes throughout the year, including ACE and GiveWell top charities. Later in the year he became increasingly confident that animal advocacy was particularly neglected; at the end of the year he gave all his donations to the ACE Recommended Charity Fund.
Erika Alonso donated to:
Animal Charity Evaluators
Good Food Institute
Mercy for Animals
Eric Herboso donated to:
GiveDirectly (for their Universal Basic Income initiative)
Effective Altruism Funds (specifically the animal welfare and far future funds)
Machine Intelligence Research Institute
He made some additional donations for fuzzies, not utilons, including gifts intended to encompass the virtue of generosity.
80% to GiveWell for re-granting to GiveWell’s top charities
10% to the Long-Term Future Fund
10% to farm animal welfare, probably based on Animal Charity Evaluators’ recommendations
Sophie Monahan is donating to No Lean Season, a GiveWell top-rated charity.
90% to Against Malaria Foundation
10% to No Lean Season
75% to GiveWell for re-granting
5% to GiveDirectly
James Snowden (research consultant):
10% to Animal Welfare Fund
10% to Long-Term Future Fund
The following staff members are donating to GiveWell for regranting to GiveWell’s top charities:
Note: Two of the people listed said that they were not donating anything this year, so I have excluded them.
80% to GiveWell for regranting
5% to GiveWell for operations
5% to GiveDirectly
10% to farm animal welfare groups recommended by Lewis Bollard
Nick Beckstead is giving money to his personal donor-advised fund, which he will re-grant in broadly similar ways to how he makes grants with the EA Community Fund and EA Long-Term Future Fund.
Most of her money to a non-public organization started by a couple of friends
Has not decided what to do with the remaining money, but will probably give it to GiveWell for regranting
Lewis Bollard is donating his personal money to further support the animal welfare organizations that he has made grants to through Open Philanthropy.
Ajeya Cotra is participating in a donor lottery. If she wins, she will probably donate the money toward the same early stage organization mentioned by Helen Toner.
Morgan Davis is giving to the Effective Altruism Funds:
5% to Animal Welfare
5% to Global Development
15% to EA Community
75% to Long-Term Future
70% to Against Malaria Foundation
30% to GiveDirectly
Small donations to some of the organizations mentioned in the blog post Giving Suggestions Pertaining to Recent Executive Actions