Holden Karnofsky donations made

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 donor information

ItemValue
Country United States
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)GiveWell Open Philanthropy
Facebook username holden.karnofsky
LinkedIn username holden-karnofsky-75970b7
Websitehttps://medium.com/@holden0
Twitter usernameholdenkarnofsky
LessWrong usernameHoldenKarnofsky
Effective Altruism Forum usernameHoldenKarnofsky
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?person=Holden+Karnofsky

Donor donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cash transfers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Global health and cash transfers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Global health 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Politics 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Donation amounts by cause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given cause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

Note: Cause area classification used here may not match that used by donor for all cases.

Cause area Number of donations Number of donees Total
Cash transfers (filter this donor) 1 1 0.00
Global health (filter this donor) 1 1 0.00
Global health and cash transfers (filter this donor) 1 1 0.00
Politics (filter this donor) 1 1 0.00
Total 4 4 0.00

Skipping spending graph as there is fewer than one year’s worth of donations.

Donation amounts by subcause area and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any subcause area information.

Donation amounts by donee and year

Donee Cause area Metadata Total
A political campaign (filter this donor) 0.00
Against Malaria Foundation (filter this donor) Global health/malaria FB Tw WP Site GW CN GS TW 0.00
GiveDirectly (filter this donor) Cash transfers FB Tw WP Site GW 0.00
GiveWell top charities (filter this donor) Charity evaluation/global health/poverty FB Tw WP Site 0.00
Total -- -- 0.00

Skipping spending graph as there is fewer than one year’s worth of donations.

Donation amounts by influencer and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any influencer information.

Donation amounts by disclosures and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any disclosures information.

Donation amounts by country and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any country information.

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (39 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Our Progress in 2019 and Plans for 20202020-05-08Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|AI safety|Effective altruismThe post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2019 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2018-and-plans-2019 and then lays out plans for 2020. The post notes that grantmaking, including grants to GiveWell top charities, was over $200 million. The post reviews the following from 2019: continued grantmaking, growth of the operations team, impact evaluation (with good progress in evaluation of giving in criminal justice reform and animal welfare), worldview investigations (that was harder than anticipated, resulting in slower progress), other cause prioritization work, hiring and other capacity building, and outreach to external donors.
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Staff - 20192019-12-18Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyChloe Cockburn Jesse Rothman Michelle Crentsil Amanda Hungerfold Lewis Bollard Persis Eskander Alexander Berger Chris Somerville Heather Youngs Claire Zabel National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls Life Comes From It Worth Rises Wild Animal Initiative Sinergia Animal Center for Global Development International Refugee Assistance Project California YIMBY Engineers Without Borders 80,000 Hours Centre for Effective Altruism Future of Humanity Institute Global Priorities Institute Machine Intelligence Research Institute Ought Donation suggestion listCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Global health and development|Migration policy|Effective altruism|AI safetyContinuing an annual tradition started in 2015, Open Philanthropy Project staff share suggestions for places that people interested in specific cause areas may consider donating. The sections are roughly based on the focus areas used by Open Phil internally, with the contributors to each section being the Open Phil staff who work in that focus area. Each recommendation includes a "Why we recommend it" or "Why we suggest it" section, and with the exception of the criminal justice reform recommendations, each recommendation includes a "Why we haven't fully funded it" section. Section 5, Assorted recomendations by Claire Zabel, includes a list of "Organizations supported by our Committed for Effective Altruism Support" which includes a list of organizations that are wiithin the purview of the Committee for Effective Altruism Support. The section is approved by the committee and represents their views.
Co-funding Partnership with Ben Delo2019-11-11Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Ben Delo PartnershipAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risks|Effective altruismBen Delo, co-founder of the cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX, recently signed the Giving Pledge. He is entering into a partnership with the Open Philanthropy Project, providing funds, initially in the $5 million per year range, to support Open Phil's longtermist grantmaking, in areas including AI safety, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, global catastrophic risks, and effective altruism. Later, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) would reveal at https://intelligence.org/2020/04/27/miris-largest-grant-to-date/ that, of a $7.7 million grant from Open Phil, $1.46 million is coming from Ben Delo.
Our Progress in 2018 and Plans for 20192019-04-15Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfareThe post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2018 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2017-and-plans-2018 and then lays out plans for 2019. The post notes that grantmaking was sustained at over $100 million. Hints of impact in the areas of criminal justice reform and animal welfare continue to be seen. Hiring to grow research analyst capacity was a top focus, led by Luke Muehlhauser, with the results detailed in the blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/reflections-our-2018-generalist-research-analyst-recruiting by Muehlhauser. Operations capacity grew significantly under Beth Jones, who joined in May as Director of Operations.
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20182018-12-20Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyChloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Amanda Hungerford Alexander Berger Luke Muelhhauser National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls Texas Organizing Project Effective Altruism Funds The Humane League Center for Global Development International Refugee Assistance Project Donor lottery Donation suggestion listCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Global health and development|Migration policy|Effective altruismOpen Philanthropy Project staff give suggestions on places that might be good for individuals to donate to. Each suggestion includes a section "Why I suggest it", a section explaining why the Open Philanthropy Project has not funded (or not fully funded) the opportunity, and links to relevant writeups. The post continues a tradition of similar posts published once a year.
Update on Partnerships with External Donors2018-05-16Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Future Justice Fund Accountable Justice Action Fund Effective Altruism Funds Accountable Justice Action Fund Effective Altruism Funds Miscellaneous commentaryCriminal justice reform,Animal welfareThe Open Philanthropy Project describes how it works with donors other than Good Ventures (the foundation under Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna that accounts for almost all Open Phil grantmaking). The blog post reiterates that the long-term goal is to inform many different funders, but that is not a short-term priority because the Open Philanthropy Project is not moving enough money to even achieve the total spend that Good Ventures is willing to go up to. The post mentions that Chloe Cockburn, the program officer for criminal justice reform, is working with other funders in criminal justice reform, and they have created a separate vehicle, the Accountable Justice Action Fund, to pool resources. Also, Mike and Kaitlyn Krieger, who previously worked with the Open Philanthropy Project, now have their own criminal justice-focused Future Justice Fund, and are getting help from Cockburn to allocate money from the fund. For causes outside of criminal justice reform, the role of Effective Altruism Funds (whose grantmaking is managed by Open Philanthropy Project staff members) is mentioned. Also, Lewis Bollard is said to have moved ~10% as much money through advice to other donors as he has moved through the Open Philanthropy Project.
Hi, I'm Holden Karnofsky. AMA about jobs at Open Philanthropy2018-03-26Holden Karnofsky Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthro py Project Job advertisementHolden Karnofsky opens himself up to questions about what it is like to work at the Open Philanthropy Project. This is part of a concerted push by Open Phil to increase its number of research analysts.
Our Progress in 2017 and Plans for 20182018-03-20Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Scientific research|Cause prioritizationThe post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2017 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2016-and-plans-2017 and then lays out plans fo 2018. The post notes that grantmaking was sustained at the expected level of over $100 million, and that hints of impact are being seen in the areas where they would be expected, namely criminal justice reform and animal welfare. Deep independent investigations, such as https://www.openphilanthropy.org/files/Focus_Areas/Criminal_Justice_Reform/The_impacts_of_incarceration_on_crime_10.pdf by David Roodman for criminal justice reform and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/how-will-hen-welfare-be-impacted-transition-cage-free-housing by Ajeya Cotra for animal welfare, are highlighted. Scientific research is identified as an area of strong progress, with the transformative R01 second chance program https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants highlighted. The separation from GiveWell was completed in 2017. For 2018, hiring is a top priority, while the level of giving is expected to be maintained at the current level of over $100 million.
New Job Opportunities2018-02-14Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Job advertisementHolden Karnofsky links to job opening pages for generalist Research Analyst and Senior Research Analyst roles, specialized roles related to AI risk, roles such as Grants Associate, Operations Associate, and General Counsel, and the Director of Operations.
Update on Cause Prioritization at Open Philanthropy2018-01-26Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCause prioritizationThis very long blog post describes how the Open Philanthropy Project currently views its trade-off between near-termist human welfare, near-termist animal welfare, and long-termism. It also discusses allocation to different causes within these broad cause types. It builds upon ideas discussed at http://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/worldview-diversification and http://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/good-ventures-and-giving-now-vs-later-2016-update
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20172017-12-21Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyJaime Yassif Chloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Nick Beckstead Daniel Dewey Center for International Security and Cooperation Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Good Call Court Watch NOLA Compassion in World Farming USA Wild-Animal Suffering Research Effective Altruism Funds Donor lottery Future of Humanity Institute Center for Human-Compatible AI Machine Intelligence Research Institute Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Centre for Effective Altruism 80,000 Hours Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters Donation suggestion listAnimal welfare|AI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Effective altruism|Criminal justice reformOpen Philanthropy Project staff give suggestions on places that might be good for individuals to donate to. Each suggestion includes a section "Why I suggest it", a section explaining why the Open Philanthropy Project has not funded (or not fully funded) the opportunity, and links to relevant writeups.
Staff Members’ Personal Donations for Giving Season 20172017-12-18Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyHolden Karnofsky Alexander Berger Nick Beckstead Helen Toner Claire Zabel Lewis Bollard Ajeya Cotra Morgan Davis Michael Levine GiveWell top charities GiveWell GiveDirectly EA Giving Group Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Effective Altruism Funds Sentience Institute Encompass The Humane League The Good Food Institute Mercy For Animals Compassion in World Farming USA Animal Equality Donor lottery Against Malaria Foundation GiveDirectly Periodic donation list documentationOpen Philanthropy Project staff members describe where they are donating this year, and the considerations that went into the donation decision. By policy, amounts are not disclosed. This is the first standalone blog post of this sort by the Open Philanthropy Project; in previous years, the corresponding donations were documented in the GiveWell staff members donation post.
The Open Philanthropy Project Is Now an Independent Organization2017-06-12Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Good Ventures Status changeThe Open Philanthropy Project announces that it is now a separate entity from GiveWell, and that it has incorporated as a LLC. The change was effective 2017-06-01. See https://blog.givewell.org/2017/06/12/separating-givewell-open-philanthropy-project/ for the complementary post on the GiveWell blog.
Our Progress in 2016 and Plans for 20172017-03-14Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyScientific research|AI safetyThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2016 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2015-and-plans-2016 and then lays out plans for 2017. The post notes success in scaling up grantmaking, as hoped for in last year's plan. The spinoff from GiveWell is still not completed because it turned out to be more complex than expected, but it is expected to be finished in mid-2017. Open Phil highlights the hiring of three Scientific Advisors (Chris Somerville, Heather Youngs, and Daniel Martin-Alarcon) in mid-2016, as part of its scientific research work. The organization also plans to focus more on figuring out how to decide how much money to allocate between different cause areas, with Karnofsky's worldview diversification post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/worldview-diversification also highlighted. There is no plan to scale up staff or grantmmaking (unlike 2016, when the focus was to scale up hiring, and 2015, when the focus was to scale up staff).
Good Ventures and Giving Now vs. Later (2016 Update)2016-12-28Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyGood Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveDirectly Malaria Consortium Sightsavers END Fund Development Media International Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Reasoning supplementGlobal health and developmentExplanation of reasoning that led to $50 million allocation to GiveWell top charities
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20162016-12-14Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyJaime Yassif Chloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Daniel Dewey Nick Beckstead Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Alliance for Safety and Justice Cosecha Animal Charity Evaluators Compassion in World Farming USA Machine Intelligence Research Institute Future of Humanity Institute 80,000 Hours Ploughshares Fund Donation suggestion listAnimal welfare|AI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Effective altruism|Migration policyOpen Philanthropy Project staff describe suggestions for best donation opportunities for individual donors in their specific areas.
Worldview Diversification2016-12-13Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCause prioritizationThe blog post discusses the challenge of comparing donation opportunities in very different cause areas, and the importance of relying on a diversity of worldviews to inform grantmaking strategy.
Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 20162016-12-09Natalie Crispin GiveWellElie Hassenfeld Holden Karnofsky Natalie Crispin Alexander Berger Timothy Telleen-Lawton Josh Rosenberg Rebecca Raible Helen Toner Sophie Monahan Laura Muñoz Catherine Hollander Andrew Martin Lewis Bollard Chelsea Tabart Sarah Ward Chris Somerville Ajeya Cotra Chris Smith Isabel Arjmand A political campaign GiveWell top charities International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation UPMC Center for Health Security Donor lottery EA Giving Group GiveDirectly Center for Applied Rationality Malaria Consortium Animal Charity Evaluators Northwest Health Law Advocates StrongMinds Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative The Humane Society of the United States The Humane League Mercy For Animals Humane Society International Compassion in World Farming USA The Good Food Institute Citizens for Farm Animal Protection END Fund Causa Justa Planned Parenthood International Refugee Assistance Project Periodic donation list documentationGiveWell and Open Philanthropy Project staff describe their annual donation plans for 2016. Some of these are tentative and get superseded by further events. Also, not all employees are present in the document (participation is optional). Amounts donated are not included, per a decision by GiveWell
Some Key Ways in Which I've Changed My Mind Over the Last Several Years2016-09-06Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy Machine Intelligence Research Institute Future of Humanity Institute Reasoning supplementAI safetyIn this 16-page Google Doc, Holden Karnofsky, Executive Director of the Open Philanthropy Project, lists three issues he has changed his mind about: (1) AI safety (he considers it more important now), (2) effective altruism community (he takes it more seriously now), and (3) general properties of promising ideas and interventions (he considers feedback loops less necessary than he used to, and finding promising ideas through abstract reasoning more promising). The document is linked to and summarized in the blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/three-key-issues-ive-changed-my-mind-about
Potential Risks from Advanced Artificial Intelligence: The Philanthropic Opportunity2016-05-06Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Machine Intelligence Research Institute Future of Humanity Institute Review of current state of cause areaAI safetyIn this blog post that that the author says took him over over 70 hours to write (See https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/update-how-were-thinking-about-openness-and-information-sharing for the statistic), Holden Karnofsky explains the position of the Open Philanthropy Project on the potential risks and opportunities from AI, and why they are making funding in the area a priority.
Our Progress in 2015 and Plans for 20162016-04-29Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyScientific research|AI safetyThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2015 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/open-philanthropy-project-progress-2014-and-plans-2015 and then lays out plans for 2016. The post notes the following in relation to its 2015 plans: it succeeded in hiring and expanding the team, but had to scale back on its scientific research ambitions in mid-2015. For 2016, Open Phil plans to focus on scaling up its grantmaking and reducing its focus on hiring. AI safety is declared as an intended priority for 2016, with Daniel Dewey working on it full-time, and Nick Beckstead and Holden Karnofsky also devoting significant time to it. The post also notes plans to continue work on separating the Open Philanthropy Project from GiveWell.
Suggestions for individual donors from Open Philanthropy Project staff2015-12-23Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyChloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Alexander Berger Nick Beckstead Howie Lempel Alliance for Safety and Justice Bronx Freedom Fund The Humane League The Humane Society of the United States Center for Global Development Center for Popular Democracy Ploughshares Fund Donation suggestion listCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Global healthOpen Philanthropy Project staff describe suggestions for best donation opportunities for individual donors in their specific areas. The post was originally published to the GiveWell blog.
Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 20152015-12-09Elie Hassenfeld GiveWellElie Hassenfeld Holden Karnofsky Natalie Crispin Alexander Berger Timothy Telleen-Lawton Sean Conley Josh Rosenberg Jake Marcus Rebecca Raible Milan Griffes Helen Toner Sophie Monahan Laura Muñoz Catherine Hollander Andrew Martin Claire Zabel Nicole Ross Lewis Bollard GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation GiveWell GiveDirectly Wikimedia Foundation Center for Global Development Martha’s Table Country Dance and Song Society Northwest Health Law Advocates Mercy For Animals The Humane League Animal Charity Evaluators Raising for Effective Giving Humane Society of te United States Periodic donation list documentationGiveWell and Open Philanthropy Project staff describe their annual donation plans for 2015. Some of these are tentative and get superseded by further events. Also, not all employees are present in the document (participation is optional). Amounts donated are not included, per a decision by GiveWell
Incoming Program Officer: Lewis Bollard2015-09-11Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyAnimal welfareOpen Philanthropy Project announces that it is hiring Lewis Bollard, poaching him from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) via a referral from Howie Lempel. Bollard would direct tens of millions of dollars in funding in the area over the next few years, including massive spend on corporate cage-free campaigns in the United States and internationally. The post was originally published on the GiveWell blog at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/09/11/incoming-program-officer-lewis-bollard/ and has 6 comments there.
Incoming Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform: Chloe Cockburn2015-06-16Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reformThe post notes that the Open Philanthropy Project is hiring Chloe Cockburn as the Program Officer in criminal justice reform, poaching her from the American Civil Liberties Union. Cockburn would direct tens of millions of dollars in funding in criminal justice reform over the next few years. The post was originally published on the GiveWell blog at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/06/16/incoming-program-officer-for-criminal-justice-reform-chloe-cockburn/ and has 5 comemnts there.
Co-funding Partnership with Kaitlyn Trigger and Mike Krieger2015-04-21Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Mike and Kaitlyn Krieger PartnershipThe blog post announces that Mike Krieger and Kaitlyn Krieger (then Kaitlyn Trigger) "have made a financial commitment of $750,000 over the next two years. 10% will go to GiveWell to support operations related to the Open Philanthropy Project. 90% will be allocated to grants identified and recommended through the Open Philanthropy Project process. We expect that the funds will be allocated evenly to all grants, rather than selectively allocated on the basis of individual grants." Later, Mike and Kaitlyn Krieger would create their own Future Justice Fund, focused on giving in the criminal justice reform space.
Open Philanthropy Project: Progress in 2014 and Plans for 20152015-03-12Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyGlobal catastrophic risks|Scientific research|Global health and developmentThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2015 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/givewell-labs-progress-2013-and-plans-2014 and lays out further plans for 2015. The post says that progress in the areas of U.S. policy and global catastrophic risks was substantial and matched expectations, but progress in scientific research and global health and development was less than hoped for. The plan for 2015 is to focus on growing more in the domain of scientific research and postpone work on global health and development (thus freeing up staff capacity). There is much more detail in the post.
Open Philanthropy Project Update: U.S. Policy2015-03-10Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCause prioritization,Criminal justice reform,Animal welfare,Macroeconomic stabilization policy,Migration policy,Drug policyOriginally published on the GiveWell blog at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/03/10/open-philanthropy-project-update-u-s-policy/ where comments can still be found. This is an annual update on where the Open Philanthropy Project stands on its investigation of United States policy issues. Some of the cause areas covered under what they call United States policy would later include grants to outside the United States (in particular, animal welfare), while others, such as criminal justice reform and macroeconomic stabilization policy, would remain within the United States.
Thoughts on the Sandler Foundation2015-02-24Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropySandler Foundation Open Philanthropy Center for American Progress ProPublica Center for Responsible Lending Washington Center for Equitable Growth Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Third-party coverage of donor strategyThis blog post originally appeared on the GiveWell blog at https://blog.givewell.org/2015/02/24/thoughts-on-the-sandler-foundation/ prior to the Open Phil blog launch. The post is part of Open Phil research into how different foundations structure their operations and giving. The post covers the Sandler Foundation, which has an unusual giving model, sacrificing cause-specific, domain-expert "program officers" and instead having a small staff that would opportunistically shift between researching different giving opportunities. Successes of the Sandler Foundation were noted, including forming the Center for American Progress, ProPublica, Center for Responsible Lending, and Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and providing support to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Sandler Foundation approach was described as follows: (1) The priority placed on funding strong leadership, (2) A high level of “opportunism”: being ready to put major funding or no funding behind an idea, depending on the quality of the specific opportunity. Ultimately, the post concluded that Open Phil would probably stick with the more standard program officer model and including a mix of larger and smaller grants. Reasons given were: (a) Open Phil's policy priorities mapped less clearly to existing political platforms than the Sandler Foundation's, so it would be harder to find fully aligned leaders, (b) Open Phil sees a good deal of value in relatively small, low-confidence, low-due-diligence grants that give a person/team a chance to “get an idea off the ground.” We’ve made multiple such grants to date and we plan on continuing to do so, (c) confidence in the Sandler Foundation's track record was not very high. However, Open Phil might experiment with using generalist staff in addition to program officers; the generalists would scan across issues to find and vet opportunities
Staff members’ personal donations – giving season 20142014-12-17Holden Karnofsky GiveWellElie Hassenfeld Holden Karnofsky Natalie Crispin Alexander Berger Eliza Scheffler Timothy Telleen-Lawton Josh Rosenberg Ben Rachbach Jake Marcus Rebecca Raible Milan Griffes Tyler Heishman GiveWell top charities Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative GiveWell standout charities Periodic donation list documentationGiveWell staff describe their annual donation plans for 2014. Some of these are tentative and get superseded by further events. Also, not all employees are present in the document (participation is optional). Amounts donated are not included, per a decision by GiveWell
Potential U.S. Policy Focus Areas2014-05-29Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCause prioritization|Criminal justice reform|Drug policy|Migration policy|Macroeconomic stabilization policy|Global health and development|Climate change|Tax policyThe blog post reviews the current understanding of the Open Philanthropy Project of various cause areas that they are considering for their grantmaking. They break up the cause areas discussed as: Windows of opportunity: outstanding tractability (i.e., "the time is right"), Ambitious longshots: outstanding importance, and Green fields: outstanding "room for more philanthropy". Other causes of interest (that do not neatly fit into one of these boxes) are also discussed.
GiveWell Labs - Progress in 2013 and Plans for 20142014-03-05Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCause prioritizationOriginally published on the GiveWell blog at https://blog.givewell.org/2014/03/05/givewell-labs-progress-in-2013-and-plans-for-2014/ where comments can still be found. This is an annual update on the state of the Open Philanthropy Project, which, at the time, was called GiveWell Labs. It describes the areas that the Open Philanthropy Project plans to focus on, and the level of depth it plans to go into.
Staff members’ personal donations2013-12-12Holden Karnofsky GiveWellHolden Karnofsky Elie Hassenfeld Alexander Berger Natalie Crispin Eliza Scheffler Timothy Telleen-Lawton Sean Conley Josh Rosenberg Ben Rachbach Howie Lempel Jake Marcus GiveDirectly Mercy For Animals Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Against Malaria Foundation Deworm the World Initiative The Humane Society of the United States Periodic donation list documentationGiveWell staff describe their annual donation plans for 2013. Some of these are tentative and get superseded by further events. Also, not all employees are present in the document (participation is optional). Amounts donated are not included, per a decision by GiveWell
GiveWell’s top charities for giving season 20132013-12-01Holden Karnofsky GiveWellGood Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Against Malaria Foundation GiveDirectly Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Deworm the World Initiative Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentAgainst Malaria Foundation not in top charities list (it was in 2013) due to room for more funding issues. Good Ventures allocations not included in this post
Our top charities for the 2012 giving season2012-11-26Holden Karnofsky GiveWell Against Malaria Foundation GiveDirectly Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentGiveDirectly promoted from standout to top charity, other two charities same as for 2011
Thoughts on the Singularity Institute (SI) (GW, IR)2012-05-11Holden Karnofsky LessWrongOpen Philanthropy Machine Intelligence Research Institute Evaluator review of doneeAI safetyPost discussing reasons Holden Karnofsky, co-executive director of GiveWell, does not recommend the Singularity Institute (SI), the historical name for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. This evaluation would be the starting point for the initial position of the Open Philanthropy Project (a GiveWell spin-off grantmaker) toward MIRI, but Karnofsky and the Open Philanthropy Project would later update in favor of AI safety in general and MIRI in particular; this evolution is described in https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hKZNRSLm7zubKZmfA7vsXvkIofprQLGUoW43CYXPRrk/edit
Deciding between two outstanding charities2011-12-08Holden Karnofsky GiveWell Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Reasoning supplementGlobal health/malaria and dewormingProvided more in-depth coverage of tradeoffs between the two top charities, supplementing the announcement post at https://blog.givewell.org/2011/11/29/top-charities-for-holiday-season-2011-against-malaria-foundation-and-schistosomiasis-control-initiative/
Top charities for holiday season 2011: Against Malaria Foundation and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative2011-11-29Holden Karnofsky GiveWell Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative GiveDirectly Innovations for Poverty Action Nyaya Health Pratham Small Enterprise Foundation Evaluator consolidated recommendation listGlobal health and developmentAgainst Malaria Foundation and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative were the top charities; the others were standouts
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence2011-04-30Holden Karnofsky GiveWellOpen Philanthropy Machine Intelligence Research Institute Evaluator review of doneeAI safetyIn this email thread on the GiveWell mailing list, Holden Karnofsky gives his views on the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI), the former name for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). The reply emails include a discussion of how much weight to give to, and what to learn from, the support for MIRI by Peter Thiel, a wealthy early MIRI backer. In the final email in the thread, Holden Karnofsky includes an audio recording with Jaan Tallinn, another wealthy early MIRI backer. This analysis likely influences the review https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6SGqkCgHuNr7d4yJm/thoughts-on-the-singularity-institute-si (GW, IR) published by Karnofsky next year, as well as the initial position of the Open Philanthropy Project (a GveWell spin-off grantmaker) toward MIRI.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (4 donations)

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

Graph of donations and their timeframes
DoneeAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 4)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
A political campaign----2016-12-09Politicshttps://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/09/staff-members-personal-donations-giving-season-2016/-- States "Earlier this year, I gave to a political campaign that I considered important and high-impact per dollar. This falls under (a) because there are per-individual contribution limits." Details of political campaign not specified, but 2016 is a presidential election year in the United States. Affected countries: United States.
Against Malaria Foundation----2015-12-09Global health/malariahttps://blog.givewell.org/2015/12/09/staff-members-personal-donations-for-giving-season-2015/GiveWell Though not directly involved with top charity selection, found the top charity vetting process much more convincing this year, and placed more confidence in cost-effectiveness estimates. Considered other top charities seriously. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%.
GiveWell top charities----2014-12-17Global health and cash transfershttps://blog.givewell.org/2014/12/17/staff-members-personal-donations-giving-season-2014/GiveWell Giving opportunities in 2014 better than 2013, so giving a bit but to regrant to top charities. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%.
GiveDirectly----2013-12-12Cash transfershttps://blog.givewell.org/2013/12/12/staff-members-personal-donations/GiveWell First considers not giving, then makes some argument on why it is better to give. Then looks at confidence multipliers for global health interventions relative to GiveDirectly and thinks they are not robust enough to overcome the case for GiveDirectly. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%.

Similarity to other donors

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