Jaan Tallinn donations made (filtered to cause areas matching Longtermism)

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 donor information

ItemValue
Country United States
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaan_Tallinn
Best overview URLhttps://jaan.online/philanthropy/
Facebook username jaan.tallinn
Websitehttps://jaan.online/
Donations URLhttps://jaan.online/philanthropy/
LessWrong usernamejaan
Regularity with which donor updates donations dataannual refresh
Regularity with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)irregular
Lag with which donor updates donations datamonths
Lag with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)months
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?person=Jaan+Tallinn

Brief history: Tallinn is a co-founder of Skype and Kazaa and one of the earlier wealthy supporters of organizations working in AI safety, along with Peter Thiel. In 2011, he had a conversation with Holden Karnofsky sharing his thoughts on AI safetyand in particular the work of the Singularity Institute (SI), the former name of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. See https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/givewell/conversations/topics/287 and https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6SGqkCgHuNr7d4yJm/thoughts-on-the-singularity-institute-si (GW, IR) for details. Tallinn played a significant role in financing the Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (BERI)'s grantmaking operations, and later funding the Survival and Flourising Fund (SFF). In 2020, Tallinn prepared a philanthropy pledge https://jaan.online/philanthropy/ for his grantmaking for the next five years, and also indicated a plan to switch more to making direct grants using SFF's S-process, rather than giving funds to organizations such as BERI and SFF.

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: https://jaan.online/philanthropy/ says: "the primary purpose of my philanthropy is to reduce existential risks to humanity from advanced technologies, such as AI. i currently believe that this cause scores the highest according to the framework used in effective altruism: (1) importance [...] (2) tractability [...] (3) neglectedness. [...] i'm likely to pass on all other opportunities — especially popular ones, like supporting education, healthcare, arts, and various social causes. [...] i'm considering (as of 2020) a few exceptions — eg, donating to more neglected climate interventions [...] i should also mention that i'm especially fond of software projects as philanthropic targets [...]"

Notes on grant decision logistics: Tallinn plans to use the Survival and Flourishing Fund (SFF)'s S-process (simulation process) to direct most of his grantmaking, as described e.g. at http://survivalandflourishing.fund/sff-2019-q4-recommendations and other grant rounds. He may also make one-off direct grants (at most $100,000 per grant) for funding needs that are time-sensitive but encourages grantees to also apply for the next SFF grant round. Tallinn has historically donated money to BERI and SFF for regranting, but does not expect to make similar donations for regranting in the future. Tallinn may also engage in small amounts of individual regranting and individual gifts.

Notes on grant financing: Tallinn donates his own money, but not always directly; in most cases (particularly when donating to US-based nonprofits) he donates money via (donor-advised funds managed by) Founders Pledge or Silicon Valley Community Foundation. He has also made direct gifts in cryptocurrency when not donating to US nonprofits.

Donor donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 3 675,000 785,667 265,000 265,000 265,000 265,000 675,000 675,000 675,000 1,417,000 1,417,000 1,417,000 1,417,000
Longtermism 3 675,000 785,667 265,000 265,000 265,000 265,000 675,000 675,000 675,000 1,417,000 1,417,000 1,417,000 1,417,000

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 2021
Longtermism (filter this donor) 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00
Total 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00

Skipping spending graph as there is at most one year’s worth of donations.

Donation amounts by subcause area and year

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

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Subcause area Number of donations Number of donees Total 2021
Longtermism 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00
Classified total 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00
Total 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00

Skipping spending graph as there is at most one year’s worth of donations.

Donation amounts by donee and year

Donee Cause area Metadata Total 2021
Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund (filter this donor) 2,092,000.00 2,092,000.00
Legal Priorities Project (filter this donor) 265,000.00 265,000.00
Total -- -- 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00

Skipping spending graph as there is at most one year’s worth of donations.

Donation amounts by influencer and year

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

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Influencer Number of donations Number of donees Total 2021
Survival and Flourishing Fund|Beth Barnes|Oliver Habryka|Zvi Mowshowitz 1 1 1,417,000.00 1,417,000.00
Survival and Flourishing Fund|Ben Hoskin|Katja Grace|Oliver Habryka|Adam Marblestone 2 2 940,000.00 940,000.00
Classified total 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00
Total 3 2 2,357,000.00 2,357,000.00

Skipping spending graph as there is at most one year’s worth of donations.

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 (2 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.
S-process funding2021-11-19Andrew Critch Protocol LabsSurvival and Flourishing Fund Jaan Tallinn Jed McCaleb The Casey and Family Foundation Survival and Flourishing Fund Reasoning supplementLongtermism|AI safety|Global catastrophic risksIn this presentation moderated by Karola Kirsanow of Protocol Labs (as part of the Funding the Commons summit), Andrew Critch presents in detail the S-process (simulation process) used by the Survival and Flourishing Fund for its own grantmaking (back when it had some funds of its own) and for recommending grants to other donors, including Jaan Tallinn, Jed McCaleb, and The Casey and Family Foundation (represented by David Marble). Critch talks about the following key ideas in the S-process: marginal value functions (for each potential grantee), the use of a "hold" option for not granting funds now, recorded meetings between recommenders that funders can review to decide how much weight to give each recommender, a simulation where funders assign small portions of their funding to avoid perverse incentives created based on the order in which funders go, and funder flexibility to use or not use the recommended allocation.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (3 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 3)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund1,417,000.0012021-10Longtermismhttps://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): Regranting

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Zvi Mowshowitz, one of the recommmenders in this grant round, writes in https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kuDKtwwbsksAW4BG2/zvi-s-thoughts-on-the-survival-and-flourishing-fund-sff (GW, IR) "They have some clear wins on their book (e.g. John Wentworth) and my notes indicate I thought the bulk of their targets seemed reasonable, although on reflection that makes me worry about the extent to which ‘seem reasonable’ was an optimization target. It’s another case of ‘find individuals and other places to put small amounts in ways that seem plausibly good and do it’ and it seems like something like SFF should be able to do better but if the applicant pool is this shallow maybe we can’t. As an isolated thing, almost all small grants of these types that are issued without forcing people to apply first seem like they’re net good, but they also end up warping the space and culture around the seeking of such grants, whether or not formal applications have to be involved.

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 second one with a grant to the grantee.

Other notes: Jaan Tallinn's philanthropy goals as described in https://jaan.online/philanthropy/ set targets in terms of the total amount of endpoint grants, i.e., grants spent on actual grantees and not for regranting. It is not clear how grants to the Long-Term Future Fund are counted, but since the LTFF tends to spend most of its balance in its grant rounds, Tallinn likely expects that the bulk of the money will become endpoint grants shortly. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 16.00%; announced: 2021-11-20.
Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund675,000.0022021-04Longtermismhttps://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): Regranting

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 first wit a round to this grantee.

Donor retrospective of the donation: In the next grant round, Tallinn would make an even bigger grant of $1,417,000 to the grantee, suggesting continued satisfaction with the strategy of donating money to the Long-Term Future Fund for regranting.

Other notes: As explained at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/nLxpFeEs6kAdgjRWz/the-long-term-future-fund-has-room-for-more-funding-right?commentId=9cBRWH9L6BDhd5TCF (GW, IR) the grantee is applying because the total volume of quality applications it would like to fund exceeds its own funds available. Although Jed McCaleb also participates as a funder in this grant round, he does not make any grants to this grantee (Center for Applied Rationality). Jaan Tallinn's philanthropy goals as described in https://jaan.online/philanthropy/ set targets in terms of the total amount of endpoint grants, i.e., grants spent on actual grantees and not for regranting. It is not clear how grants to the Long-Term Future Fund are counted, but since the LTFF tends to spend most of its balance in its grant rounds, Tallinn likely expects that the bulk of the money will become endpoint grants short. Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 7.10%.
Legal Priorities Project265,000.0032021-04Longtermismhttps://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 first with a grant to this grantee.

Other notes: 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: 2.79%.

Similarity to other donors

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