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.

Michael Dickens

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 Groff

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 Henry

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.

Sig­nifi­cant dona­tions to the Ma­chine In­tel­li­gence Re­search In­sti­tute and the Global Catas­trophic Risks In­sti­tute. A much smaller one to AI Im­pacts.

Peter Hurford

Peter used three main crite­ria:

  1. Have a clear “room for more fund­ing”

  2. Have a clear risk of not meet­ing their fund­ing goal

  3. 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 Ketola

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.)

Jeff Kauf­man and Ju­lia Wise

Ben Kuhn

  • 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.

An­i­mal Char­ity Eval­u­a­tors staff members

John Bock­man:

Alli­son Smith split her dona­tion evenly be­tween Direct Ac­tion Every­where (DxE) and ACE’s Recom­mended Char­ity Fund.

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

  • Hu­mane insecticides

  • 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:

Eric Her­boso donated to:

He made some ad­di­tional dona­tions for fuzzies, not utilons, in­clud­ing gifts in­tended to en­com­pass the virtue of gen­eros­ity.

Gina Stuessy donated pri­mar­ily to ACE’s Recom­mended Char­ity Fund. She also donated to the Cen­tre for Effec­tive Altru­ism, Sen­tience In­sti­tute, and Wild-An­i­mal Suffer­ing Re­search.

GiveWell staff members

Josh Rosen­berg:

So­phie Mon­a­han is donat­ing to No Lean Sea­son, a GiveWell top-rated char­ity.

Cather­ine Hol­lan­der:

  • 90% to Against Malaria Foundation

  • 10% to No Lean Season

Is­abel Ar­j­mand:

James Snow­den (re­search con­sul­tant):

The fol­low­ing staff mem­bers are donat­ing to GiveWell for re­grant­ing to GiveWell’s top char­i­ties:

  • Ellie Hassenfeld

  • Natalie Crispin

  • An­drew Martin

  • Chel­sea Talbart

  • Chris­tian Smith

Open Philan­thropy Pro­ject staff members

Note: Two of the peo­ple listed said that they were not donat­ing any­thing this year, so I have ex­cluded them.

Alexan­der Berger:

  • 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.

He­len Toner:

  • 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

Mike Lev­ine: