MIT Media Lab 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, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donee information

We do not have any donee information for the donee MIT Media Lab in our system.

Donee donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 14 250,000 1,034,500 35,000 50,000 100,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 750,000 1,000,000 1,280,000 3,760,000 5,000,000
Technology 2 35,000 42,500 35,000 35,000 35,000 35,000 35,000 35,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000
Technology, Arts, Journalism 1 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
Communities, Arts 1 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
Technology, Journalism 5 250,000 1,902,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 3,760,000 3,760,000 5,000,000 5,000,000
Journalism 2 658,000 969,000 658,000 658,000 658,000 658,000 658,000 658,000 1,280,000 1,280,000 1,280,000 1,280,000 1,280,000
Communities 1 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000 750,000
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 1 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Global catastrophic risks|Global health|Animal welfare 1 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000

Donation amounts by donor and year for donee MIT Media Lab

Donor Total 2021 2019
Knight Foundation (filter this donee) 12,483,000.00 0.00 0.00
Open Philanthropy (filter this donee) 2,000,000.00 1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00
Total 14,483,000.00 1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (1 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesAffected influencersDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Changes in funding in the AI safety field2017-02-01Sebastian Farquhar Centre for Effective Altruism Machine Intelligence Research Institute Center for Human-Compatible AI Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence Future of Life Institute Future of Humanity Institute OpenAI MIT Media Lab Review of current state of cause areaAI safetyThe post reviews AI safety funding from 2014 to 2017 (projections for 2017). Cross-posted on EA Forum at

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (14 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 14)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Open Philanthropy1,000,000.0042021-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to continue to support the research of Professor Kevin Esvelt. Professor Esvelt plans to use this funding to conduct work on topics related to biosecurity."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page does not discuss reasoning but alludes to an earlier grant also supporting Kevin Esvelt's lab, though the earlier grant was more broadly focused on global health, animal welfare, and global catastrophic risks.

Other notes: Intended funding timeframe in months: 24.
Open Philanthropy1,000,000.0042019-03Global catastrophic risks|Global health|Animal welfare Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant over two years to the MIT Media Lab to support the research of Professor Kevin Esvelt. Professor Esvelt plans to use this funding to conduct research on global catastrophic risks, global health, and animal welfare.

Other notes: Intended funding timeframe in months: 24; announced: 2019-06-26.
Knight Foundation35,000.0014--Technology Grant period: 07/14/2015 - 01/14/2016; part of the challenge: Knight Prototype Fund: Arts and Technology; goal: Placelet is a system for collecting, analyzing and visualizing data on the human experience of urban places. The physical sensor network collects movement, audio and air quality data with the goal of better correlating physical conditions and activity to the invisible economic and social patterns that shape the public realm at the scale of a single urban block or streetscape.
Knight Foundation750,000.006--Communities Grant period: 12/01/2005 - 06/30/2009; goal: To conduct and disseminate research on ways to improve the process and means by which Americans vote.
Knight Foundation250,000.008--Technology, Journalism Grant period: 06/01/2012 - 06/01/2013; goal: To host the annual Knight-MIT Civic Media Conference in June, 2012.
Knight Foundation50,000.0013--Technology Grant period: 09/01/2013 - 02/28/2014; part of the challenge: Knight Prototype Fund: Arts and Technology; goal: To create an alpha version of Dog, a programming language that makes it easier for non-programmers to write code, and a set of example applications to demonstrate it. Dog is a new programming language that makes it easy and intuitive to create social applications. Dog focuses on a unique and small set of features that allows it to achieve the power of a full-blown application development framework. One of Dog’s key features is built-in support for interacting with people. Dog provides a natural framework in which both people and computers can be given instructions and return results. It can perform a long-running computation while also displaying messages, requesting information, or even sending operations to particular individuals or groups. By switching between machine and human computation, developers can create powerful workflows and model complex social processes without worrying about low-level technical details.
Knight Foundation5,000,000.001--Technology, Journalism Grant period: 03/12/2007 - 03/31/2012; part of the challenge: Knight News Challenge; goal: To create new community news products in a major national center with MIT's Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies program With its $5 million Knight News Challenge award to the Media Lab and the Comparative Media Studies Program at the >Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Knight Foundation teams up with one of world's premier technological innovators. MIT will create a Center for Future Civic Media to test and investigate civic media in local communities. The center pairs the technological innovation of the Media Lab with the social and cultural expertise of the Comparative Media Studies Program. "We are moving to a Fifth Estate where everyone is able to pool their knowledge, share experience and expertise, and speak truth to power," says Chris Csikszentmihályi (pronounced Cheek-sent-me-hi), MIT's director of the Computing Culture Research Group, who will lead the center as co-director, together with Henry Jenkins, co-director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. Says Jenkins: "We now have more than a decade's worth of research into the kinds of online communities which emerge within networked cultures. With this project, we seek to draw on that research to strengthen people's ties to their own local communities." The Center will develop new theories, techniques, […].
Knight Foundation100,000.0011--Communities, Arts Grant period: 08/01/2005 - 08/01/2006; goal: For transition funding for the Museum Loan Network (MLN), to stabilize the future of the MLN directory and other museum collaboration programs.
Knight Foundation250,000.008--Technology, Journalism Grant period: 07/01/2013 - 11/30/2013; goal: To engage MIT Media Lab students, faculty, and member companies to work on developing a long-term relationship between Detroit communities and the MIT Media Lab community, benefiting both groups academically, technically, and socially. The Innovators Guild: Detroit is a new collaboration between the MIT Media Lab, the design firm IDEO, and Detroit-area social change agents. The guild's mission is to use design to solve social problems. The project launched in October 2012.
Knight Foundation658,000.007--Journalism Grant period: 10/01/2015 - 06/30/2017; goal: To promote excellence in journalism and increase civic engagement by building a new model for capturing, analyzing and visualizing conversations about the upcoming presidential election that will provide fresh insights to journalists and better inform the public about the issues and candidates.
Knight Foundation3,760,000.002--Technology, Journalism Grant period: 04/01/2011 - 06/30/2014; goal: To accelerate adoption of community news and information technology through The Center for Civic Media at MIT The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing an additional $3.76 million in MIT’s Center for Civic Media to further its groundbreaking work with new technologies to inform and engage communities. The center, launched in 2007 with seed funding from Knight, will use the new support to solidify its leadership in the emerging media innovation field and expand its curriculum and outreach programs. Read news release.
Knight Foundation250,000.008--Technology, Journalism Grant period: 06/22/2013 - 12/31/2013; goal: To support the 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference at the MIT Media Lab.
Knight Foundation1,280,000.003--Journalism Grant period: 06/02/2014 - 06/02/2017; goal: To support the MIT Media Lab's effort to bridge the gap between civic engagement and news so that journalists can better engage audiences The Future of News initiative aims to help the MIT Media Lab apply its research to the range of challenges faced by newsrooms today, including those focused on engaging audiences more deeply on issues affecting their community. The Media Lab will work to produce technology that helps reporters track local needs — such as a tool that analyzes conversations from public safety scanners, or software that allows TV broadcasters to share links to relevant stories during live political debates. Master’s degree candidates focusing on news technologies will contribute to the work.
Knight Foundation100,000.0011--Technology, Arts, Journalism Grant period: 04/01/2013 - 03/31/2014; goal: To launch a new arts and design festival at the MIT Media Lab that celebrates creativity and innovation, merges art, design and technology in new ways, and sets a model and methodology for future festivals.