Thanks for flagging your concerns here. The scope of EA Community Building Grants (CBG) doesn’t encompass all funding decisions regarding community building, but is limited to providing funding for people to do part-time or full-time community building with a specific EA group (i.e. at a university, city and national level). We’ve made some grants outside this category, though they account for less than 10% of the total funding we’ve granted out. Within this category of location specific EA community building, the CBG programme likely accounts for the vast majority of funding.
In terms of our process for making decisions on Community Building Grants at CEA, I am the project lead, but other staff and external stakeholders are involved in the process (both in terms of object-level work and by providing oversight). For example, in our last evaluation round:
I conducted the majority of the interviews for grant applicants and the rest of the interviews were conducted by other members of the groups team.
I reviewed the applications, solicited input from others internal and external to CEA, and wrote up decision recommendations and my reasoning for the recommendations.
The decision recommendations were formally reviewed by 2 people at CEA, sent to two external advisers for additional review, and finalised in consultation with CEA’s executive director.
My (quick) best guess is that of the total time allocated to community building grants decision making to date, 70% has come from me, 25% from others in CEA and 5% from people external to CEA.
As Community Building Grants is still a relatively new programme, we’re still experimenting with the evaluation process, and there’s a chance it’ll change going forward, though I expect the amount of consultation of other CEA staff and external advisers to remain relatively similar. I’d be happy to hear any ideas you have on how to to ensure that we take into account a variety of viewpoints—feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact email@example.com (the head of the groups team).
Great to hear that several people are involved with making the grant decisions. I also want to stress that my post is not at all intended as a critique of the CBG programme.