Predicting Open Phil Grants

Open Philanthropy (OP) is a the single largest donor in the EA space (with the possible exception of the Gates Foundation’s global health interventions, though these are not generally considered part of EA) and so how much money they grant, and to what causes, have major implications for what the EA and longtermist landscape looks like. It has a bearing on many issues, including:

  • Whether an individual should pursue direct work, or earn to give

  • If one is earning to give, whether to give now vs later

  • Whether there will be sufficient funding in a specific area for individuals to aim to have a career in that area

  • Influencing the Overton window of what is considered an EA cause

In recent years, OP has been granting about $280m per year ($298m in 2019, and $271m in 2020). This is just over 1% of the net worth of it’s main funders Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna, according to Forbes (note that this number has gone up significantly in the last year, and it was likely closer to 2% in 2019 when those grants happened). OP note on their “who we are” page that Moskovitz and Tuna incubated them with the intention of giving away their fortunes during their lifetimes, so having an estimate of when this spending will ramp up and where the donations will be focused seems valuable to me.

I have created a series of questions on Metaculus attempting to forecast various facets of this topic. The questions are:

  1. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant in 2025?

  2. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant in 2030?

  3. When will Good Ventures first donate 5% of Dustin Moskovitz’s wealth in one year?

  4. Will there be another donor on the scale of 2020 Good Ventures in the Effective Altruist space in 2026?

  5. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Scientific Research in 2025?

  6. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Scientific Research in 2030?

  7. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards AI risk reduction in 2025?

  8. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards AI risk reduction in 2030?

  9. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Animal Welfare in 2025?

  10. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Animal Welfare in 2030?

  11. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Global Health and Development in 2025?

  12. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Global Health and Development in 2030?

  13. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness in 2025?

  14. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness in 2030?

  15. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Criminal Justice Reform in 2025?

  16. How much money will Open Philanthropy grant towards Criminal Justice Reform in 2030?

They currently have relatively low numbers of predictions, so part of my motivation for posting them is to solicit more predictions and sources of information to make better estimates so that these predictions can be as good (and therefore useful) as possible.

This question series is a project of Rethink Priorities.

It was written by Charles Dillon, a volunteer for Rethink Priorities. Thanks to Peter Wildeford for feedback on this post, and Peter, Michael Aird and Linch Zhang for discussions which led to this project. If you like our work, please consider subscribing to our newsletter. You can see all our work to date here.