Lightcone Infrastructure donations received

This is an online portal with information on donations that were announced publicly (or have been shared with permission) that were of interest to Vipul Naik. The git repository with the code for this portal, as well as all the underlying data, is available on GitHub. All payment amounts are in current United States dollars (USD). The repository of donations is being seeded with an initial collation by Issa Rice as well as continued contributions from him (see his commits and the contract work page listing all financially compensated contributions to the site) but all responsibility for errors and inaccuracies belongs to Vipul Naik. Current data is preliminary and has not been completely vetted and normalized; if sharing a link to this site or any page on this site, please include the caveat that the data is preliminary (if you want to share without including caveats, please check with Vipul Naik). We expect to have completed the first round of development by the end of March 2023. See the about page for more details. Also of interest: pageview data on analytics.vipulnaik.com, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donee information

ItemValue
Country United States
Facebook page lesswrong2
Websitehttps://www.lesswrong.com/
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LessWrong
Key peopleOliver Habryka|Ben Pace|Raymond Arnold
Launch date2017-06-18

Donee donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 12 110,000 247,559 6,900 10,000 30,000 78,814 100,000 110,000 260,000 290,000 380,000 500,000 1,055,000
Rationality improvement 11 110,000 256,429 6,900 10,000 30,000 78,814 100,000 110,000 260,000 290,000 380,000 500,000 1,055,000
AI safety 1 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 150,000

Donation amounts by donor and year for donee Lightcone Infrastructure

Donor Total 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Jaan Tallinn (filter this donee) 1,545,000.00 1,435,000.00 110,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Survival and Flourishing Fund (filter this donee) 550,000.00 0.00 290,000.00 260,000.00 0.00 0.00
The Casey and Family Foundation (filter this donee) 500,000.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (filter this donee) 250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 250,000.00 0.00
Effective Altruism Grants (filter this donee) 85,713.71 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 85,713.71
Jed McCaleb (filter this donee) 30,000.00 0.00 30,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Eric Rogstad (filter this donee) 10,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 10,000.00
Total 2,970,713.71 1,935,000.00 430,000.00 260,000.00 250,000.00 95,713.71

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (8 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesAffected influencersDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Zvi’s Thoughts on the Survival and Flourishing Fund (SFF) (GW, IR)2021-12-14Zvi Mowshowitz LessWrongSurvival and Flourishing Fund Jaan Tallinn Jed McCaleb The Casey and Family Foundation Effective Altruism Funds:Long-Term Future Fund Center on Long-Term Risk Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters The Centre for Long-Term Resilience Lightcone Infrastructure Effective Altruism Funds: Infrastructure Fund Centre for the Governance of AI Ought New Science Research Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative AI Objectives Institute Topos Institute Emergent Ventures India European Biostasis Foundation Laboratory for Social Minds PrivateARPA Charter Cities Institute Survival and Flourishing Fund Beth Barnes Oliver Habryka Zvi Mowshowitz Miscellaneous commentaryLongtermism|AI safety|Global catastrophic risksIn this lengthy post, Zvi Mowshowitz, who was one of the recommenders for the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2021 H2 grant round based on the S-process, describes his experience with the process, his impressions of several of the grantees, and implications for what kinds of grant applications are most likely to succeed. Zvi says that the grant round suffered from the problem of Too Much Money (TMM); there was way more money than any individual recommender felt comfortable granting, and just about enough money for the combined preferences of all recommenders, which meant that any recommender could unilaterally push a particular grantee through. The post has several other observations and attracts several comments.
The LessWrong Team is now Lightcone Infrastructure, come work with us! (GW, IR)2021-09-30Oliver Habryka LessWrong Lightcone Infrastructure Status changeRationality improvementThe LessWrong team announces a name change to Lightcone Infrastructure; the LessWrong website will continue to be called LessWrong. The renaming of the team reflects a wider scope than just work related to the LessWrong website, "Lightcone" refers to the light cone of humanity which essentially reflects the portion of spacetime that we can influence.
EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement (GW, IR)2018-07-19Marek Duda Effective Altruism Forum Lightcone Infrastructure LaunchEffective altruism/movement growthPost describes plans to move the Effective Altruism Forum to the same codebase and infrastructure as the new LessWrong (LessWrong 2.0, lesswrong.com). It describes the alternatives considered and the reasons for the decision
Announcing AlignmentForum.org Beta (GW, IR)2018-07-10Raymond Arnold LessWrong Lightcone Infrastructure LaunchAI safetyPost describes the beta launch of alignmentforum.org, a forum devoted to questions of AI alignment, built on top of the same codebase and infrastructure as the new LessWrong. It is a natural successor to agentfoundations.org
LessWrong is hiring (GW, IR)2018-06-18Raymond Arnold LessWrong Lightcone Infrastructure Job advertisementRationality improvementAnnouncement that LessWrong 2.0 is looking for somebody to fill a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role. Criteria are experience as a programmer and excitement about the long-term vision. The salary range is $70,000 to $120,000, though higher salaries are possible. The post and comments also reveal that the current employees are Oliver Habryka, Raymond Arnold, and Ben Pace, and they all make $60,000 a year. Comments also reiterate previously documented funding sources: Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative, EA Grants, and individual donors such as Eric Rogstad
LW Migration Announcement (GW, IR)2018-03-21Matthew Graves LessWrong Lightcone Infrastructure Donee periodic updateRationality improvementAnnouncement that LessWrong 2.0 is coming out of beta and transitioning from lesserwrong.com to lesswrong.com, becoming the official LessWrong.
LW 2.0 Strategic Overview (GW, IR)2017-09-14Oliver Habryka LessWrongCentre for Effective Altruism Effective Altruism Grants Eric Rogstad Lightcone Infrastructure Miscellaneous commentaryRationality improvementHabryka describes his plans for LessWrong 2.0 as its primary developer.
Welcome to Lesswrong 2.0 (GW, IR)2017-06-18Oliver Habryka LessWrong Lightcone Infrastructure LaunchRationality improvementPost outlines thinking for LessWrong 2.0, covering in part changes to the codebase, moderation, discourse norms.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (12 donations)

Graph of top 10 donors by amount, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
DonorAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 12)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Jaan Tallinn380,000.0032021-10Rationality improvementhttps://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2021-h2-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Beth Barnes Oliver Habryka Zvi Mowshowitz Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2021 H2 grants based on the S-process (simulation process) that "involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a table of marginal utility functions. Recommenders specified marginal utility functions for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different utility functions for deferring to each Recommender. In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts. [...] [The] system is designed to generally favor funding things that at least one recommender is excited to fund, rather than things that every recommender is excited to fund." https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff (GW, IR) explains the process from a recommender's perspective.

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Zvi Mowshowitz, one of the recommenders in the grant round, writes in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff#Lightcone_Infrastructure (GW, IR) "We decided I had a conflict of interest here, so I didn’t have the option to fund them, but if I’d had that option I would have happily done that." He then describes more of this thinking around how Lightcone Infrastructure, through its work on LessWrong and other projects, helps remove trivial inconveniences to people doing the right thing.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this is SFF's sixth grant round and the fourth one with a grant to this grantee.

Other notes: The grant round also includes a $500,000 grant to the grantee from the Casey and Family Foundation, that is participating as a funder in the SFF process for the first time. Although Jed McCaleb also participates as a funder in this round, and has previously granted money to Lightcone Infrastructure, he does not make any grants to Lightcone Infrastructure in this round. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 4.29%; announced: 2021-11-20.
The Casey and Family Foundation500,000.0022021-10Rationality improvementhttps://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2021-h2-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Beth Barnes Oliver Habryka Zvi Mowshowitz Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2021 H2 grants based on the S-process (simulation process) that "involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a table of marginal utility functions. Recommenders specified marginal utility functions for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different utility functions for deferring to each Recommender. In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts. [...] [The] system is designed to generally favor funding things that at least one recommender is excited to fund, rather than things that every recommender is excited to fund." https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff (GW, IR) explains the process from a recommender's perspective.

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Zvi Mowshowitz, one of the recommenders in the grant round, writes in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff#Lightcone_Infrastructure (GW, IR) "We decided I had a conflict of interest here, so I didn’t have the option to fund them, but if I’d had that option I would have happily done that." He then describes more of this thinking around how Lightcone Infrastructure, through its work on LessWrong and other projects, helps remove trivial inconveniences to people doing the right thing.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this is SFF's sixth grant round and the fourth one with a grant to this grantee. The Casey and Family Foundation is participating in SFF's process for the first time, and this is its only grant in this round.

Other notes: The grant round also includes a $380,000 grant to the grantee from Jaan Tallinn, who has participated in earlier grant rounds and funded Lightcone Infrastructure in several of them. Although Jed McCaleb also participates as a funder in this round, and has previously granted money to Lightcone Infrastructure, he does not make any grants to Lightcone Infrastructure in this round. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%; announced: 2021-11-20.
Jaan Tallinn1,055,000.0012021-04Rationality improvementhttps://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2021-h1-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Ben Hoskin Katja Grace Oliver Habryka Adam Marblestone Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2021 H1 grants based on the S-process (simulation process) that "involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a spreadsheet of marginal utility functions. Recommenders specified marginal utility functions for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different utility functions for deferring to each Recommender. In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this is SFF's fifth grant round and the third one with a grant to this grantee.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Followup grants in the next grant round https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2021-h2-recommendations from both Jaan Tallinn and the Casey and Family Foundation, suggest continued satisfaction with the grantee, though the grant amounts ($380,000 and $500,000 respectively) total to less than this grant.

Other notes: At the time, the grantee is known as LessWrong, and listed as such in the grants database. Although Jed McCaleb also participates in this grant round as a funder, he does not make any grants to this grantee. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 11.09%.
Jaan Tallinn110,000.0072020-06-12Rationality improvementhttps://jaan.online/philanthropy/donations.htmlSurvival and Flourishing Fund Alex Zhu Andrew Critch Jed McCaleb Oliver Habryka Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2020 H1 grants https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h1-recommendations based on the S-process (simulation process). A request for grants was made at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wQk3nrGTJZHfsPHb6/survival-and-flourishing-grant-applications-open-until-march (GW, IR) and open till 2020-03-07. The S-process "involves allowing the recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a spreadsheet of marginal utility functions. Funders were free to assign different weights to different recommenders in the process; the weights were determined by marginal utility functions specified by the funders (Jaan Tallinn, Jed McCaleb, and SFF). In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this 2020 H1 round of grants is SFF's third round; the grantee had also received a grant in the first round.

Donor retrospective of the donation: A further grant of a much larger amount ($1,055,000) as part of a later grant round https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2021-h1-recommendations (2021 H1) suggests continued satisfaction with the grantee.

Other notes: At the time, the grantee is known as LessWrong, and listed as such in the grants database. The grant round also includes grants from the Survival and Flourishing Fund ($290,000) and Jed McCaleb ($30,000) to the grantee. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 11.96%.
Survival and Flourishing Fund290,000.0042020-06-09Rationality improvementhttps://jaan.online/philanthropy/donations.htmlSurvival and Flourishing Fund Alex Zhu Andrew Critch Jed McCaleb Oliver Habryka Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2020 H1 grants https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h1-recommendations based on the S-process (simulation process). A request for grants was made at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wQk3nrGTJZHfsPHb6/survival-and-flourishing-grant-applications-open-until-march (GW, IR) and open till 2020-03-07. The S-process "involves allowing the Recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a table of marginal utility functions. Recommenders specified marginal utility functions for funding each application, and adjusted those functions through discussions with each other as the round progressed. Similarly, funders specified and adjusted different utility functions for deferring to each Recommender. In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this 2020 H1 round of grants is SFF's third round; the grantee had also received a grant in the first round.

Other notes: At the time, the grantee is known as LessWrong, and listed as such in the grants database. The grant round also includes grants from Jaan Tallinn ($110,000) and Jed McCaleb ($30,000) to the grantee. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 44.61%.
Jed McCaleb30,000.00102020-04Rationality improvementhttps://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h1-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Alex Zhu Andrew Critch Jed McCaleb Oliver Habryka Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2020 H1 grants based on the S-process (simulation process). A request for grants was made at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wQk3nrGTJZHfsPHb6/survival-and-flourishing-grant-applications-open-until-march (GW, IR) and open till 2020-03-07. The S-process "involves allowing the recommenders and funders to simulate a large number of counterfactual delegation scenarios using a spreadsheet of marginal utility functions. Funders were free to assign different weights to different recommenders in the process; the weights were determined by marginal utility functions specified by the funders (Jaan Tallinn, Jed McCaleb, and SFF). In this round, the process also allowed the funders to make some final adjustments to decide on their final intended grant amounts."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; this 2020 H1 round of grants is SFF's third round; the grantee had also received a grant in the first round.

Other notes: At the time, the grantee is known as LessWrong, and listed as such in the grants database. The grant round also includes grants from the Survival and Flourishing Fund ($290,000) and Jaan Tallinn ($110,000) to the grantee. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 12.00%.
Survival and Flourishing Fund260,000.0052019-09-30Rationality improvementhttps://jaan.online/philanthropy/donations.htmlAlex Flint Andrew Critch Eric Rogstad Donation process: Part of the founding batch of grants for the Survival and Flourishing Fund made in August 2019. The fund is partly a successor to part of the grants program of the Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (BERI) that handled grantmaking by Jaan Tallinn; see http://existence.org/tallinn-grants-future/ As such, this grant to LessWrong 2.0 may represent a renewal of grants totaling $250,000 made by BERI to LessWrong 2.0 in 2018

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: This grant to LessWrong 2.0 may represent a renewal of grants totaling $250,000 made by BERI to LessWrong 2.0 in 2018.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): This grant to LessWrong 2.0 may represent a renewal of grants totaling $250,000 made by BERI to LessWrong 2.0 in 2018.
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 29.55%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; the Survival and Flourishing Fund is making its first round of grants in August 2019. Also, it is likely that the timeframe previous BERI grant to LessWrong 2.0 (made September 2018) has ended.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Continued grants in future grant rounds as a result of the S-process, including https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h1-recommendations (2020 H1) suggest continued satisfaction with the grantee.

Other notes: Announced: 2019-08-29.
Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative150,000.0062018-09-04AI safetyhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180921215949/http://existence.org/organization-grants/-- Given via the Center for Applied Rationality. To support the development of LessWrong 2.0. Announced at http://existence.org/2018/09/18/activity-update-july-and-august-2018.html.
Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative100,000.0082018-02-08Rationality improvementhttps://web.archive.org/web/20180731180958/http://existence.org:80/grants-- Grant via the Center for Applied Rationality for the support of activities to develop and improve the website LessWrong 2.0. See announcement at http://existence.org/2018/04/07/activity-update-february-and-march-2018.html.
Effective Altruism Grants6,899.97122017-09-29Rationality improvementhttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iBy--zMyIiTgybYRUQZIm11WKGQZcixaCmIaysRmGvk-- Work on in-person and/or online community infrastructure for the rationality and EA communities. This will primarily take the form of helping to develop the new version of the rationality forum LessWrong, with others projects, like Europeans workshops encouraging long-term collaboration between EAs, under consideration. See http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1fc/effective_altruism_grants_project_update/ for more context about the grant program. Currency info: donation given as 5,150.00 GBP (conversion done on 2017-09-29 via Bloomberg).
Effective Altruism Grants78,813.7492017-09-29Rationality improvementhttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iBy--zMyIiTgybYRUQZIm11WKGQZcixaCmIaysRmGvk-- Development of the new version of the rationality forum LessWrong. He and a partner will improve its moderation system, codebase and design, as well as incentivize top contributors to post on the new platform. See http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1fc/effective_altruism_grants_project_update/ for more context about the grant program. Currency info: donation given as 58,825.00 GBP (conversion done on 2017-09-29 via Bloomberg).
Eric Rogstad10,000.00112017-09-14Rationality improvementhttps://www.lesswrong.com/posts/rEHLk9nC5TtrNoAKT/lw-2-0-strategic-overview (GW, IR)--