EA Funds is more flexible than you might think
I’ve noticed that some people seem to have misconceptions about what kinds of grants EA Funds can make, so I put together a quick list of things we can fund that may be surprising to some of you.
(Reminder: our funding deadline for this round is March 7, though you can apply at any time of the year.)
EA Funds will consider building longer-term funding relationships, not just one-off grants.
Even though we typically make one-off grant decisions and have some turnover among fund managers, we can consider commitments to provide longer-term funding. We are also happy to otherwise help with the predictability of funding, e.g. by sharing our thoughts on how easy or hard we expect it to be to get funding in the future.
EA Funds can provide academic scholarships and teaching buy-outs.
We haven’t received a lot of applications for scholarships in the past, but the Long-Term Future Fund (LTFF) and EA Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) would be very excited about funding more of them.
Few graduate students and postdocs seem to be aware that they can be bought out of teaching duties, but sometimes this can be a great way to make more time for research.
EA Funds will consider funding organizations, including medium-sized ones, not just small projects.
The LTFF and EAIF are still unsure whether they will want to fund larger organizations in the longer term. Until then, they will consider funding organizations as long as they don’t have a comparative disadvantage for doing so. If Open Philanthropy has not seriously considered funding you, we will consider you, at least for now.
EA Funds will consider making large grants.
We have made grants larger than $250,000 in the past and will continue to consider them (potentially referring to other funders along with our evaluation). We think our comparative advantage is evaluating grants that other funders aren’t aware of or don’t have the capacity to evaluate, which typically are small grants, but we are flexible and willing to consider exceptions.
The EAIF and LTFF can make grants at any time of the year and on short notice.
We run funding rounds because it saves us some effort per application. But if your project needs funding within a month and the next decision deadline is three months away, we can still make it happen.
If there were a project that would have a very large impact if funded within three days, and no impact otherwise, there’s a high chance that we would get it funded.
The EAIF and LTFF can make anonymized grants.
As announced here, we can get you funded without disclosing personal information about you in our public payout reports.
EA Funds can pass on applications to other funders.
In cases where we aren’t the right funder (e.g., because we don’t have sufficient funding, or it’s a for-profit start-up, or there is some other issue), we are open to passing along applications when we think it might be a good fit. We are in touch with Open Philanthropy, EA-aligned for-profit investors, and other funders, and they have expressed interest in receiving interesting applications from us.
In general, we will listen to the arguments rather than rigidly following self-imposed rules. We have few constraints and are good at finding workarounds for the ones we have (except for some legal ones). We want to help great projects succeed and will do what it takes to make that happen. If you are unsure whether EA Funds can fund something, the best working hypothesis is that it can.
(Note that the Global Health and Development Fund does not accept funding applications, so this post does not apply to it.)