Rethink Priorities 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 2022. 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
Websitehttp://rethinkpriorities.org/
Key peopleMarcus A. Davis|Peter Hurford
Launch date2018-03-02

Donee donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 10 26,000 60,054 37 37 10,000 12,000 12,500 26,000 75,000 80,000 85,000 100,000 200,000
Effective altruism 2 37 6,269 37 37 37 37 37 37 12,500 12,500 12,500 12,500 12,500
Cause prioritization 3 12,000 16,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000 12,000 12,000 12,000 26,000 26,000 26,000 26,000
Animal welfare 5 85,000 108,000 75,000 75,000 75,000 80,000 80,000 85,000 85,000 100,000 100,000 200,000 200,000

Donation amounts by donor and year for donee Rethink Priorities

Donor Total 2019 2018 2017
Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund (filter this donee) 340,000.00 180,000.00 160,000.00 0.00
Open Philanthropy Project (filter this donee) 200,000.00 200,000.00 0.00 0.00
Effective Altruism Foundation Fund (filter this donee) 26,000.00 0.00 26,000.00 0.00
Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund (filter this donee) 22,000.00 22,000.00 0.00 0.00
Peter Hurford (filter this donee) 12,537.00 0.00 12,500.00 37.00
Total 600,537.00 402,000.00 198,500.00 37.00

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (7 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Where ACE Staff Are Giving In 2019 and Why2019-12-26Erika Alonso Animal Charity EvaluatorsHeather Herrell Erika Alonso Gina Stuessy Jamie Spurgeon Melissa Guzikowski Cash Callaghan Marianne van der Werf Animal Charity Evaluators Animal Charity Evaluators Recommended Charity Fund Effective Animal Advocacy Fund Farm Sanctuary StrongMinds The Good Food Institute Rethink Priorities The Humane League Wild Animal Initiative Fish Welfare Initiative Aquatic Life Institute Faunalytics Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations Essere Animali Christopher Sebastian McJetters Periodic donation list documentationAnimal welfareAnimal Charity Evaluators (ACE) staff describe where they donated or plan to donate in 2019. The list differs from the previous year: almost all the donations are in the animal welfare space (with none in the domains of AI safety, other global catastrophic risks, or GiveWell-style global health and development). Donation amounts are not disclosed, likely by policy
We're Rethink Priorities. AMA. (GW, IR)2019-12-12Peter Hurford Rethink Priorities Rethink Priorities Donee AMACause prioritization|Animal welfareThis is an Ask Me Anything (AMA) conducted by Rethink Priorities on the Effective Altruism Forum. People on the Rethink Priorities replying in this AMA include Saulius Šimčikas, Jason Schukraft, Nell Dullaghan, Peter Hurford, Marcus A. Davis, David Moss, and Luisa Rodriguez. Questions asked include topics like the purpose of having the Rethink Priorities umbrella, the interaction with academia, the work on nuclear threat, counterfactuals, interactions with animal welfare advocacy groups, short-term and long-term impact, choice of the EA Forum for distributing research, and more
Rethink Priorities 2019 Impact and Strategy (GW, IR)2019-12-02Peter Hurford Rethink Priorities Rethink Priorities Donee periodic updateCause prioritization|Animal welfare|Effective altruism|Global catastrophic risksPeter Hurford describes the work and impact in 2019 of Rethink Priorities, an organization he co-founded. For impact, he links to a previously published post https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/qmtLQfrZjbrYWXafi/rethink-priorities-impact-survey (GW, IR) giving the results of an impact survey conducted by Rethink Priorities. He also lists key initiatives that Rethink Priorities may take on in 2020. Regarding funding, the post says: "We are heavily funding constrained and have the management capacity and hiring pool to quickly grow if given more money. Our budget for 2020-2021 is between $1,174,000 and $2,384,000 over two years. If funded at the minimum level, we would cover our existing operations through 2021, pay for necessary operational support and buy 10 more hours a week working time from our existing research team." More detailed budget estimates are included in the post
Rethink Priorities Impact Survey (GW, IR)2019-11-21Neil Dullaghan Rethink Priorities Rethink Priorities Donee periodic updateCause prioritization|Animal welfare|Effective altruism|Global catastrophic risksNeil Dullaghan reports the results of a Rethink Priorities survey conducted by Rethink Priorities to get feedback from decisionmakers and donors on the impact that Rethink Priorities research had on them. The two research pieces the survey identified as having changed beliefs most were the EA survey work https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/SnE9FpArs2uXJsRtB/ea-survey-2018-series-donation-data (GW, IR) and the invetebrate sentience work https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/AMFuSWrsutBFraZtE/invertebrate-sentience-a-useful-empirical-resource (GW, IR) whereas the research piece the survey identified has having affected donations most was the work on corporate campaigns https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/XdekdWJWkkhur9gvr/will-companies-meet-their-animal-welfare-commitments (GW, IR)
EA orgs are trying to fundraise ~$10m - $16m (GW, IR)2019-01-06Hauke Hillebrandt Effective Altruism Forum Centre for Effective Altruism Effective Altruism Foundation Machine Intelligence Research Institute Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research Sentience Institute Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Rethink Priorities EA Hotel 80,000 Hours Rethink Charity Miscellaneous commentaryThe blog post links to and discusses the spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10zU6gp_H_zuvlZ2Vri-epSK0_urbcmdS-5th3mXQGXM/edit which tabulates various organizations and their fundraising targets, along with quotes and links to fundraising posts. The blog post itself has three points, the last of which is that the EA community is relatively more funding-constrained again
Rethink Priorities Plans for 2019 (GW, IR)2018-12-17Peter Hurford Rethink Priorities Rethink Priorities Donee periodic updateCause prioritization|Animal welfare|Effective altruism|Global catastrophic risksPeter Hurford outlines the budget and plans for the priorities research group Rethink Priorities for 2019. The budget is $447,000, of which $153,000 has been raised already. The blog post discusses the sort of research that Rethink Priorities plans to conduct: analysis of the impact of ballot initiatives on animal welfare, understanding corporate campaigns for animal welfare, identifying ways to improve wild animal welfare, doing surveys and polling, understanding EA movement growth, understanding mental health interventions, analysis of catastrophic risk reduction. See https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yq8M5aorCLSq8JjvC/rethink-priorities-2019-impact-and-strategy (GW, IR) for the 2019 follow-up post that reports on work and impact in 2019 and plans for 2020
Reducing Wild Animal Suffering Ecosystem & Directory (GW, IR)2018-10-31Evan Gaensbauer Effective Altruism Forum Effective Altruism Foundation Wild-Animal Suffering Research Animal Ethics Utility Farm Rethink Priorities The Hedonistic Imperative The Abolitionist Project Qualia Research Institute Sentience Politics Sentience Institute Animal Charity Evaluators Review of current state of cause areaAnimal welfare/wild animal welfareThe post covers the current state of the ecosystem of efforts to reduce wild-animal suffiering. It includes a diagram depicting the relations between organizations mentioned in the post

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (10 donations)

DonorAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 10)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund12,000.0082019-08-23Cause prioritizationhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/3pxoLG7aRWtETC1lECC6LKLuke Ding Alex Foster Denise Melchin Matt Wage Donation process: Part of the July 2019 EA Meta Fund grants round. The grant page says: "7 of the 9 grantees in this round applied through this process." From the description, it appears that Rethink Priorities is one of the 7 grantees who applied

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant covers two projects: (1) geopolitical implications of climate change on mass migration (2) cost-effectiveness of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page references the March 2019 grant https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3b and says: "we believe the reasons behind this grant still stand." Further: "We noted in the previous round that we expect there is particular value in Rethink Priorities undertaking commissioned research into areas that are neglected by other researchers. In this round, Rethink Priorities applied for funding to support two specific research projects, both of which were suggested by researchers at other high-impact organizations, and require collaboration with those researchers. We view this as an indication that these projects will provide value."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Likely based on amount requested by donee and needed for the two projects
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 2.70%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round, also by the readiness of these projects to be funded
Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund100,000.0022019-08-23Animal welfare/wild-animal suffering/cause prioritizationhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/6RriulfZ0A4OB6BpirdYe8Lewis Bollard Natalie Cargill Karolina Saerk Alexandria Beck Kieran Greig Donation process: Part of the July 2019 grant round disbursing $440,000

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "With this additional funding, they plan to research and publish on (i) ballot initiatives as an approach to help animals in the USA, (ii) finding concrete interventions in policy and invertebrate welfare with room for more funding, and (iii) wild animal welfare interventions and refining their wild animal welfare agenda."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Rethink Priorities has received grants from the Animal Welfare Fund in the last three grant rounds, and has used the funding to produce work on corporate outreach and invertebrate suffering. The grant page says: "Our decision was mainly informed by our reasoning that (a) research is relevant to funders in evaluating grant opportunities, and to organizations in prioritizing which interventions to engage in, (b) funding for animal research has grown greatly in more recent years but still makes up a relatively small % of overall animal funding, and (c) Rethink Priorities has a track record in providing high-quality research on neglected causes."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): No specific reasons for amount given, but the amount is similar to amounts given in the last three grant rounds of $85,000, $75,000, and $80,000 respectively
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 22.73%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round; Rethink Priorities has received grants from the Animal Welfare Fund in each of the three previous grant rounds
Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund10,000.0092019-03-07Cause prioritization/Animal welfarehttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3bLuke Ding Alex Foster Denise Melchin Matt Wage Tara MacAulay Donation process: This is part of the March 2019 grant round from the EA Meta Fund, comprising "a mixture of larger grants to more established meta groups and smaller grants to fund both younger organizations and specific projects." The grant to 80,000 Hours falls under "younger organizations"

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "They [Rethink Priorities] intend to continue their focus on animal welfare research in 2019, and cover other areas such as improving mental health, strengthening the EA movement, reducing catastrophic risks, and improving the long-term future."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Donor lists these reasons on the grant page: (1) Well-executed cause prioritisation research is very valuable. (2) Neutral-to-positive impression of published research by Rethink Priorities (RP). (3) Positive impression of adaptiveness and responsiveness to feedback of RP. (4) Exploratoryr value to encourage fund managers and others to investigate RP work. (5) Positive impression of RP's idea of "undertaking commissioned research into neglected areas, where there is a specific need for independent evaluation." (6) Potential for RP to "act as a talent pipeline and provide valuable training, especially as future capacity for EA philanthropic advisory." (7) Unfilled funding gap of $120k for 2019

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount is much less than the funding gap of $120,000 for 2019. It is likely selected to be this small based on the experimental nature of the grant
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 1.95%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round, as well as grantee's trajectory (it has only recently started publishing research)

Donor retrospective of the donation: The donor would make a followup grant of $12,000 in the July 2019 grant round, and continue to stand by the reasoning motivating the first grant
Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund80,000.0042019-03-06Animal welfare/cause prioritizationhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/7ysr1iPZTjf4fBAPfP3xuBLewis Bollard Natalie Cargill Toni Adleberg Jamie Spurgeon Donation process: Part of the March 2019 grant round disbursing $445,000

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says that the research agenda "includes projects on the impact of ballot initiatives and corporate campaigns, as well as research into improving wild animal welfare."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "While they have a limited track record in animal advocacy research as an organization, we are taking a bet on their team and strategy. Led by Peter Hurford and Marcus A. Davis, they are now a team of 10 researchers, incorporating a broad range of experience including research into animal advocacy issues."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount similar to the amounts of previous grants: https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/2uyvubn8KUCoqOQS6A4ayW ($75,000) and https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/4Bianu30diUQeWGU2Oiq8E ($85,000)
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 17.98%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round. Rethink Priorities received a similar grant in the previous two grant rounds, so the grantee was likely considered for a followup grant

Donor retrospective of the donation: The grantee would receive a followup grant in the next grant round (July 2019)
Open Philanthropy Project200,000.0012019-03Animal welfarehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/rethink-priorities-farm-animal-welfare-researchLewis Bollard Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "This funding is intended to help Rethink Priorities produce research on potential and existing interventions like evaluating the efficacy of corporate campaigns and analyzing public support for various types of reform."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "We believe more high-quality research in this area would help us and other farm animal welfare funders compare future opportunities." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2019-07-18.
Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund75,000.0052018-12-30Animal welfare/cause prioritizationhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/2uyvubn8KUCoqOQS6A4ayWLewis Bollard Natalie Cargill Toni Adleberg Jamie Spurgeon Donation process: Part of the December 2018 grant round disbursing $341,000. Specifically, this is part of the set of grants made in the "EAA research" category in the grant round, which totals $125,000

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "For example, they plan to vet claims about the efficacy of corporate campaigns and assess plausibly impactful work on wild animal welfare. They have recently scaled up, hiring several new researchers, and they are in need of funding to support specific research projects as well as their general operations."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "we are taking a bet on their team and strategy. Many of their researchers have significant experience in other fields, and we believe they can bring a fresh and critical eye to new animal advocacy interventions."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount similar to the amount of the previous grant https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/4Bianu30diUQeWGU2Oiq8E ($85,000)
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 21.99%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round. Rethink Priorities received a similar grant in the previous grant round, so the grantee was likely considered for a followup grant

Donor retrospective of the donation: The Animal Welfare Fund would make grants to Rethink Priorities in both the next two rounds
Effective Altruism Foundation Fund26,000.0062018-11-28Cause prioritization/population ethicshttps://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Nns9DhL9bpzswitNu/launching-the-eaf-fund (GW, IR)--
Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund85,000.0032018-07-31Animal welfare/Cause prioritizationhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/animal-welfare/payouts/4Bianu30diUQeWGU2Oiq8ELewis Bollard Donation process: Part of the June 2018 grant round disbursing $1,205,000. Specifically, this is part of the set of grants made in the "Research and EA movement building" category in the grant round, which totals $760,000

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "Peter Hurford and Marcus A. Davis want to assess current and potential animal welfare interventions as part of their trial project to generate actionable new insights across EA causes. For example, they want to vet claims about the efficacy of corporate campaigns and assess plausibly impactful work on wild animal welfare." Budget is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TYaIpc-E112CMOcFHzq9UQAdWKnsDK8QeZTS85sk1RU/edit

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "I think these projects are worthwhile, but this is more a bet on the people [Peter Hurford and Marcus A. Davis] and their method than on specific projects: I see value to two experienced EA researchers approaching existing and new animal welfare interventions with a fresh and critical eye."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount likely determined both by total funds available for granting and by budget submitted by grantee at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TYaIpc-E112CMOcFHzq9UQAdWKnsDK8QeZTS85sk1RU/edit#gid=0 This lists a main budget of $62,109 and an expansion budget of $101,309
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 7.05%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round, as well as the fact that the Rethink Priorities project is just getting started

Donor retrospective of the donation: The Animal Welfare Fund would make grants to Rethink Priorities in each of the next three grant rounds
Peter Hurford12,500.0072018-01-08Effective altruism/cause prioritizationhttp://peterhurford.com/other/donations.html-- See https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/EgCiFPbcQqbphv4Pv/four-organizations-eas-should-fully-fund-for-2018 (GW, IR) for more background and thinking.
Peter Hurford37.00102017-04-18Effective altruismhttp://peterhurford.com/other/donations.html-- Research materials.