Topos Institute 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

We do not have any donee information for the donee Topos Institute 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 4 150,000 223,750 144,000 144,000 144,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 151,000 151,000 450,000 450,000 450,000
4 150,000 223,750 144,000 144,000 144,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 151,000 151,000 450,000 450,000 450,000

Donation amounts by donor and year for donee Topos Institute

Donor Total 2021 2020
Jaan Tallinn (filter this donee) 751,000.00 450,000.00 301,000.00
Jed McCaleb (filter this donee) 144,000.00 0.00 144,000.00
Total 895,000.00 450,000.00 445,000.00

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (1 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.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (4 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 4)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Jaan Tallinn450,000.0012021-10--https://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 this grant round, writes in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff#AI_Safety_Paper_Production (GW, IR) "Thus, I was excited to fund late applicant Topos Institute. As far as I could tell, they’re people with strong mathematical chops working on difficult math problems that they think are most important to solve, along the lines they think might actually work. I wouldn’t have chosen many of the details of their focus and approach, and they don’t even buy the concerns over AGI the same way I or Jaan do, but I want them to do what they think is the right thing to do here, and I’m thrilled for any and all efforts of this type, by as many people as possible, so long as they both have the chops and are aligned with us in the sense that they have their eyes on the prize. All sources I asked confirmed that they count."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Zvi Mowshowitz, one of the recommenders in this grant round, writes in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff#AI_Safety_Paper_Production (GW, IR) "On reflection I regret not giving them more than I did, and I believe this was due to the S-process default curves and them only asking for a reasonable amount of money."
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 5.08%

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 third one with grants to the grantee.

Other notes: Although Jed McCaleb and The Casey and Family Foundation also participate as funders in this grant round, they do not make any grants to Topos Institute in this round. Announced: 2021-11-20.
Jaan Tallinn151,000.0022020-10--https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h2-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Oliver Habryka Eric Rogstad Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2020 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 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): Conditional support

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

Other notes: The support offered by the grant is conditional, as administered by Owen Cotton-Barratt. The entire grant amount does not appear to be granted in the donation logs at https://jaan.online/philanthropy/donations.html -- only $78,000 appears to be granted on 2021-03-24. The grant round also includes a $144,000 grant from Jed McCaleb to Topos Institute. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 5.32%.
Jed McCaleb144,000.0042020-10--https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2020-h2-recommendationsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Oliver Habryka Eric Rogstad Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2020 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 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): Conditional support

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

Other notes: The support offered by the grant is conditional, as administered by Owen Cotton-Barratt. The grant round also includes a $151,000 grant from Jaan Tallinn to Topos Institute. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 57.60%.
Jaan Tallinn150,000.0032020-01-12--https://jaan.online/philanthropy/donations.htmlSurvival and Flourishing Fund Alex Flint Alex Zhu Andrew Critch Eric Rogstad Oliver Habryka Donation process: Part of the Survival and Flourishing Fund's 2019 Q4 grants https://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2019-q4-recommendations 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. 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 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 November 2019 round of grants is SFF's second round.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Grants in several future grant rounds suggest continued satisfaction with the grantee.

Other notes: Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 13.76%; announced: 2019-12-15.