Open Philanthropy Project donations made (filtered to cause areas matching Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness)

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 Good Ventures
Best overview URLhttps://causeprioritization.org/Open%20Philanthropy%20Project
Facebook username openphilanthropy
Websitehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/
Donations URLhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants
Twitter usernameopen_phil
PredictionBook usernameOpenPhilUnofficial
Page on philosophy informing donationshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/about/vision-and-values
Grant application process pagehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/guide-for-grant-seekers
Regularity with which donor updates donations datacontinuous updates
Regularity with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)continuous updates
Lag with which donor updates donations datamonths
Lag with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)days
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?organization=Open+Philanthropy+Project

Brief history: The Open Philanthropy Project (Open Phil for short) spun off from GiveWell, starting as GiveWell Labs in 2011, beginning to make strong progress in 2013, and formally separating from GiveWell in June 2017

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: The Open Philanthropy Project is focused on openness in two ways: open to ideas about cause selection, and open in explaining what they are doing. It has endorsed "hits-based giving" and is working on areas of AI risk, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, and other global catastrophic risks, criminal justice reform (United States), animal welfare, and some other areas.

Notes on grant decision logistics: See https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-grantmaking-so-far-approach-and-process for the general grantmaking process and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant for more questions that grant investigators are encouraged to consider. Every grant has a grant investigator that we call the influencer here on Donations List Website; for focus areas that have Program Officers, the grant investigator is usually the Program Officer. The grant investigator has been included in grants published since around July 2017. Grants usually need approval from an executive; however, some grant investigators have leeway to make "discretionary grants" where the approval process is short-circuited; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/discretionary-grants for more. Note that the term "discretionary grant" means something different for them compared to government agencies, see https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10213483361534364 for more

Notes on grant publication logistics: Every publicly disclosed grant has a writeup published at the time of public disclosure, but the writeups vary significantly in length. Grant writeups are usually written by somebody other than the grant investigator, but approved by the grant investigator as well as the grantee. Grants have three dates associated with them: an internal grant decision date (that is not publicly revealed but is used in some statistics on total grant amounts decided by year), a grant date (which we call donation date; this is the date of the formal grant commitment, which is the published grant date), and a grant announcement date (which we call donation announcement date; the date the grant is announced to the mailing list and the grant page made publicly visible). Lags are a few months between decision and grant, and a few months between grant and announcement, due to time spent with grant writeup approval

Notes on grant financing: See https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/guide-for-grant-seekers or https://www.openphilanthropy.org/about/who-we-are for more information. Grants generally come from the Open Philanthropy Project Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, with most of its money coming from Good Ventures. Some grants are made directly by Good Ventures, and political grants may be made by the Open Philanthropy Action Fund. At least one grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/working-families-party-prosecutor-reforms-new-york was made by Cari Tuna personally. The majority of grants are financed by the Open Philanthropy Project Fund; however, the source of financing of a grant is not always explicitly specified, so it cannot be confidently assumed that a grant with no explicit listed financing is financed through the Open Philanthropy Project Fund; see the comment https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information. Funding for multi-year grants is usually disbursed annually, and the amounts are often equal across years, but not always. The fact that a grant is multi-year, or the distribution of the grant amount across years, are not always explicitly stated on the grant page; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information. Some grants to universities are labeled "gifts" but this is a donee classification, based on different levels of bureaucratic overhead and funder control between grants and gifts; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information.

Miscellaneous notes: Most GiveWell-recommended grants made by Good Ventures and listed in the Open Philanthropy Project database are not listed on Donations List Website as being under Open Philanthropy Project. Specifically, GiveWell Incubation Grants are not included (these are listed at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=GiveWell+Incubation+Grants with donor GiveWell Incubation Grants), and grants made by Good Ventures to GiveWell top and standout charities are also not included (these are listed at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=Good+Ventures%2FGiveWell+top+and+standout+charities with donor Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities). Grants to support GiveWell operations are not included here; they can be found at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=Good+Ventures%2FGiveWell+support with donor "Good Ventures/GiveWell support".The investment https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/impossible-foods in Impossible Foods is not included because it does not fit our criteria for a donation, and also because no amount was included. All other grants publicly disclosed by the Open Philanthropy Project that are not GiveWell Incubation Grants or GiveWell top and standout charity grants should be included. Grants disclosed by grantees but not yet disclosed by the Open Philanthropy Project are not included; some of them may be listed at https://issarice.com/open-philanthropy-project-non-grant-funding

Donor donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 48 454,025 3,195,039 10,000 26,086 49,942 250,000 325,000 454,025 570,000 1,625,000 2,620,000 6,000,000 55,000,000
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 46 452,545 1,757,867 10,000 26,086 49,942 169,600 300,000 452,545 520,000 1,300,000 2,400,000 3,556,773 19,500,000
Scientific research 1 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000
Security 1 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000

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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (filter this donor) 46 29 80,861,891.00 14,970,000.00 21,565,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Security (filter this donor) 1 1 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research (filter this donor) 1 1 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

Graph of spending by cause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by cause area and year (cumulative)

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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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 39 23 79,471,891.00 14,080,000.00 21,565,525.00 9,362,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Security/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Global catastrophic risks/AI safety 1 1 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 1 1 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19 6 6 890,000.00 890,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Scientific research 1 1 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Classified total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

Graph of spending by subcause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by subcause area and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by donee and year

Donee Cause area Metadata Total 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Center for Security and Emerging Technology (filter this donor) 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (filter this donor) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site 40,273,600.00 1,860,000.00 19,500,000.00 169,600.00 16,000,000.00 2,744,000.00 0.00
Nuclear Threat Initiative (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 17,938,574.00 6,000,000.00 0.00 5,461,715.00 6,476,859.00 0.00 0.00
Sherlock Biosciences (filter this donor) 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security (filter this donor) 7,144,627.00 3,600,000.00 0.00 44,627.00 3,500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense (filter this donor) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site 4,688,162.00 0.00 0.00 2,588,162.00 500,000.00 1,300,000.00 300,000.00
Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense (filter this donor) 2,620,000.00 2,620,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Center for International Security and Cooperation (filter this donor) WP 2,268,415.00 0.00 1,625,000.00 0.00 0.00 643,415.00 0.00
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 613,380.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 613,380.00 0.00 0.00
Early-Career Funding for Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (filter this donor) 570,000.00 0.00 0.00 570,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation (filter this donor) 520,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 520,000.00 0.00
University of California, San Francisco (filter this donor) 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Genspace (filter this donor) WP 469,025.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 469,025.00 0.00 0.00
National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (filter this donor) 452,545.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 452,545.00 0.00 0.00
Altruistic Technology Labs (filter this donor) 440,525.00 0.00 440,525.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
International Genetically Engineered Medicine Foundation (filter this donor) 420,000.00 0.00 0.00 420,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Sea-Long Global Respiratory Systems (filter this donor) 325,000.00 325,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Smithsonian Institution (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 300,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 300,000.00 0.00 0.00
Center for Global Development (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 299,942.00 250,000.00 0.00 49,942.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
North Carolina State University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 252,725.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 252,725.00 0.00 0.00
University of Colorado (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 250,000.00 250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
BioBricks Foundation (filter this donor) 152,950.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 152,950.00 0.00 0.00
Future of Humanity Institute (filter this donor) Global catastrophic risks/AI safety/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site TW 115,652.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 115,652.00 0.00
David Manheim (filter this donor) 65,308.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 65,308.00 0.00 0.00
American Society for Microbiology (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 43,149.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 43,149.00 0.00 0.00
Good Judgment Inc. (filter this donor) 40,000.00 40,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Sydney (filter this donor) 32,621.00 0.00 0.00 32,621.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Oxford (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 26,086.00 0.00 0.00 26,086.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Brown Institute for Media Innovation (filter this donor) 15,000.00 15,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
InterAcademy Partnership (filter this donor) 14,605.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 14,605.00 0.00 0.00
Against COVID-19 (filter this donor) 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total -- -- 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

Graph of spending by donee and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by donee and year (cumulative)

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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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Luke Muehlhauser 2 2 55,040,000.00 40,000.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Andrew Snyder-Beattie 6 4 33,580,000.00 14,080,000.00 19,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Jaime Yassif 17 13 33,451,483.00 0.00 0.00 6,409,104.00 24,298,379.00 2,744,000.00
Chris Somerville|Heather Youngs 2 2 18,000,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Claire Zabel 8 8 5,084,482.00 0.00 2,065,525.00 2,953,649.00 65,308.00 0.00
Jacob Trefethen 4 4 600,000.00 600,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Andrew Snyder-Beattie|Jacob Trefethen 1 1 250,000.00 250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Classified total 40 29 146,005,965.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 24,363,687.00 2,744,000.00
Unclassified total 8 6 7,355,926.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 4,476,859.00 2,579,067.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00

Graph of spending by influencer and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by influencer and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by disclosures and year

If you hover over a cell for a given disclosures 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.

Disclosures Number of donations Number of donees Total 2017 2016
Jaime Yassif 1 1 16,000,000.00 16,000,000.00 0.00
Kevin Esvelt 1 1 520,000.00 0.00 520,000.00
Classified total 2 2 16,520,000.00 16,000,000.00 520,000.00
Unclassified total 46 30 136,841,891.00 12,840,546.00 4,803,067.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00

Graph of spending by disclosures and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Donation amounts by country and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any country information.

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (111 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Our Progress in 2019 and Plans for 20202020-05-08Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|AI safety|Effective altruismThe post compares progress madee 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 fr 2020. The post notes that grantmaking, including grants to GiveWell topo 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.
How Philanthropists are Tackling COVID-192020-03-18Abby Schultz Barron'sOpen Philanthropy Project Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Wellcome Trust Mastercard Impact Fund Schmidt Futures COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Sherlock Biosciences Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Review of current state of cause areaBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessThe article describes how private philanthropy is helping in the fight against COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic caused by it. The role of Open Philanthropy Project in funding Sherlock Biosciences as well as the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in prior years is described. The article also describes the joint financing of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator by the Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Mastercard Impact Fund.
Update on the Global Priorities Institute's (GPI) activities (GW, IR)2019-12-24Hilary Greaves Global Priorities InstituteOpen Philanthropy Project Global Priorities Institute Donee periodic updateCause prioritizationThe Global Priorities Institute shares a short annual report, also available at https://globalprioritiesinstitute.org/global-priorities-institute-annual-report-2018-19/ on its website. In addition, the post contains links for following GPI's research and current opportunities. The annual report has three sections: (1) Research (agenda focused on "longtermism") (2) Academic outreach (various two-day workshops and the Early Career Conference Programme (ECCP)) (3) Current team and growth ambitions (plans to expand, helped by £2.5m from the Open Philanthropy Project and £3m from other private donors; fundraising is ongoing).
Effective Altruism Foundation: Plans for 2020 (GW, IR)2019-12-23Jonas Vollmer Effective Altruism FoundationOpen Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Foundation Raising for Effective Giving Wild-Animal Suffering Research Utility Farm Wild Animal Initiative Sentience politics Donee periodic updateEffective altruism/movement growth/s-risk reductionThe document includes the 2019 review and plans for 2020 of the Effective Altruism Foundation (EAD). Key highlights: EAD plans to change its name in 2020 as a rebranding effort to highlight its focus on s-risk reduction, rather than the effective altruism; as part of this, the Foundational Research Institute brand will also be deprecated. Wild-Animal Suffering Research and Utility Farm merged to form Wild Animal Initiative, which is now completely separate from EAF. Raising for Effective Giving and Sentience Politics continue to be housed under EAF. The post also describes communication guidelines developed along with Nick Beckstead of the Open Philanthropy Project (that also made a $1 million grant to EAF). The guidelines "recommend highlighting beliefs and priorities that are important to the s-risk-oriented community" and "recommend communicating in a more nuanced manner about pessimistic views of the long-term future by considering highlighting moral cooperation and uncertainty, focusing more on practical questions if possible, and anticipating potential misunderstandings and misrepresentations." The post also says the guidelines will soon be made public, and that it was a mistake to not announce the guidelines earlier; doing so might have addressed https://www.simonknutsson.com/problems-in-effective-altruism-and-existential-risk-and-what-to-do-about-them/ and related concerns
2019 AI Alignment Literature Review and Charity Comparison (GW, IR)2019-12-19Ben Hoskin Effective Altruism ForumBen Hoskin Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Open Philanthropy Project Survival and Flourising Fund Future of Humanity Institute Center for Human-Compatible AI Machine Intelligence Research Institute Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Centre for the Study of Existential Risk Ought OpenAI AI Safety Camp Future of Life Institute AI Impacts Global Priorities Institute Foundational Research Institute Median Group Center for Security and Emerging Technology Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative AI Pulse Review of current state of cause areaAI safetyCross-posted to LessWrong at https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/SmDziGM9hBjW9DKmf/2019-ai-alignment-literature-review-and-charity-comparison (GW, IR) This is the fourth post in a tradition of annual blog posts on the state of AI safety and the work of various organizations in the space over the course of the year; the previous year's post is at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/BznrRBgiDdcTwWWsB/2018-ai-alignment-literature-review-and-charity-comparison (GW, IR) The post has sections on "Research" and "Finance" for a number of organizations working in the AI safety space, many of whom accept donations. A "Capital Allocators" section discusses major players who allocate funds in the space. A lengthy "Methodological Thoughts" section explains how the author approaches some underlying questions that influence his thoughts on all the organizations. To make selective reading of the document easier, the author ends each paragraph with a hashtag, and lists the hashtags at the beginning of the document.
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Staff - 20192019-12-18Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectChloe 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
The Center for Election Science Year End EA Appeal (GW, IR)2019-12-17Aaron Hamlin Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project The Center for Election Science Donee donation casePoliticsAaron Hamlin of the Center for Election Science (CES), an organization that promotes approval voting in the United States, posts an end-of-year fundraising appeal post for CES to the Effective Altruism Forum. The post talks about the finances of CES, and compares the funding of CES to the much larger total funding going to ranked choice voting (RCV), a competing effort that he considers inferior. He argues that with slightly more funds, CES could show much more than RCV in terms of victories in adoption of approval voting, per dollar spent
How frequently do ACE and Open Phil agree about animal charities? (GW, IR)2019-12-17Ben West Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Animal Charity Evaluators Compassion in World Farming International Animal Ethics Faunalytics Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira Miscellaneous commentaryAnimal welfareBen West compares the grantees of the Open Philanthropy Project (Open Phil) in its focus area of farm animal welfare against the charities recommended by Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE). He finds a substantial overlap: Open Phil has made grants to all charities that ACE has ever given top charity status, about half of the charities ACE has ever given standout charity status, and only one charity that ACE reviewed but did not recommend. Also, "5% of the charities ACE did an "exploratory" review of received a grant, as did 3% of the ones they "considered" but did not review." A spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NRSVnSgg33vtOByfYwCFhB6VrytZGYeJ/edit with the data is linked. The post also notes: "Three charities which were named “Standout Charities” by ACE but did not receive Open Phil grants did receive grants from the Centre for Effective Altruism’s Animal Welfare Fund (Animal Ethics, Faunalytics, and Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira)."
Recommendation to Open Philanthropy for Grants to Top Charities2019-11-26GiveWellOpen Philanthropy Project Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities Malaria Consortium Helen Keller International Sightsavers Against Malaria Foundation END Fund GiveDirectly Development Media International Dispenses for Safe Water Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Periodic donation list documentationGlobal health and developmentThe document details GiveWell's recommendation in 2019 for grants by Good Ventures (via the Open Philanthropy Project) to GiveWell top and standout charities. The overall amount of money recommended for allocation is $54.6 million, and the document explains that Open Phil's calculation that it may make sense to spend down more slowly was the reason for reducing the allocation from last year. It discusses the principles used for allocation: (1) Put significant weight on cost-effectiveness estimates, (2) Consider additional information not explicitly modeled about the organization, (3) Consider additional information not explicitly modeled about the funding gap, (4) Assess funding gaps at the margin, (5) Default to not imposing restrictions on charity spending, (6) Default to funding on a 3-year horizon, and (7) Ensure charities are incentivized to engage with the process. The three charities that get significant grants are Malaria Consortium for its SMC program ($33.9 million), Helen Keller International ($9.7 million), and Sightsavers ($2.7 million). Against Malaria Foundation, END Fund, and GiveDirectly receive the minimum "incentive grant" amount of $2.5 million that all top charities should receive. The top charity Deworm the World Initiative is not given an incentive grant because it received a previous grant through GiveWell discretionary grant that more than covers the incentive grant amount. 8 standout charities get $100,000 each
ALLFED 2019 Annual Report and Fundraising Appeal (GW, IR)2019-11-23Aron Mill Alliance to Feed the Earth in DisastersBerkeley Existential Risk Initiative Donor lottery Effective Altruism Grants Open Philanthropy Project Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters Future of Humanity Institute Donee donation caseAlternative foodsAron Mill provides a summary of the work of the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) in 2019. He lists key supporters as well as partners that ALLFED worked with during the year. The blog post proceeds to make an appeal and a case for fundraising ALLFED. Sections of the blog post include: (1) research output, (2) preparedness and alliance-building, (3) ALLFED team, (4) current projects, and (5) projects in need of funding.
Message exchange with EAF2019-11-12Simon Knutsson Open Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Foundation Reasoning supplementEffective altruism|Global catastrophic risksThis is a supplement to https://www.simonknutsson.com/problems-in-effective-altruism-and-existential-risk-and-what-to-do-about-them/ The supplement documents an email exchange between Knutsson and Stefan Torges of the Effective Altruism Foundation where Knutsson asks Torges for comment on some of the points in the article. Torges's reply is not quoted as he did not give permission to quote the replies, but Knutsson summarizes the replies as saying that EAF can't share further information, and does not wish to engage Knutsson on the issue.
Co-funding Partnership with Ben Delo2019-11-11Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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.
E-mail exchange with the Open Philanthropy Project2019-11-10Simon Knutsson Open Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Foundation Reasoning supplementEffective altruism|Global catastrophic risksThis is a supplement to https://www.simonknutsson.com/problems-in-effective-altruism-and-existential-risk-and-what-to-do-about-them/ The supplement documents an email exchange between Knutsson and Michael Levine of the Open Philanthropy Project where Knutsson asks Levine for comment on some of the points in the article. Levine's reply is not quoted as he did not give permission to quote the replies, but Knutsson summarizes the replies as saying that "[Open Phil] do not have anything to add beyond the grant page https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/effective-altruism-foundation-research-operations
Problems in effective altruism and existential risk and what to do about them2019-10-16Simon Knutsson Open Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Foundation Centre for Effective Altruism Effective Altruism Foundation Future of Humanity Institute Miscellaneous commentaryEffective altruism|Global catastrophic risksSimon Knutsson, a Ph.D. student who previously worked at GiveWell and has, since then, worked on animal welfare and on s-risks, writes about what he sees as problematic dynamics in the effective altruism and x-risk communities. Specifically, he is critical of what he sees as behind-the-scenes coordination work on messaging, between many organizations in the space, notably the Open Philanthropy Project and the Effective Altruism Foundation, and the possible use of grant money to pressure EAF into pushing for guidelines for writers to not talk about s-risks in specific ways. He is also critical of what he sees as the one-sided nature of the syllabi and texts produced by the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). The author notes that people have had different reactions to his text, with some considering the behavior described as unproblematic, while others agreeing with him that it is problematic and deserves the spotlight. The post is also shared to the Effective Altruism Forum at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/EescnoaBJsQWz4rii/problems-in-effective-altruism-and-what-to-do-about-them (GW, IR) where it gets a lot of criticism in the comments from people including Peter Hurford and Holly Elmore.
Thanks for putting up with my follow-up questions. Out of the areas you mention, I'd be very interested in ... (GW, IR)2019-09-10Ryan Carey Effective Altruism ForumFounders Pledge Open Philanthropy Project OpenAI Machine Intelligence Research Institute Broad donor strategyAI safety|Global catastrophic risks|Scientific research|PoliticsRyan Carey replies to John Halstead's question on what Founders Pledge shoud research. He first gives the areas within Halstead's list that he is most excited about. He also discusses three areas not explicitly listed by Halstead: (a) promotion of effective altruism, (b) scholarships for people working on high-impact research, (c) more on AI safety -- specifically, funding low-mid prestige figures with strong AI safety interest (what he calls "highly-aligned figures"), a segment that he claims the Open Philanthropy Project is neglecting, with the exception of MIRI and a couple of individuals.
How Life Sciences Actually Work: Findings of a Year-Long Investigation (GW, IR)2019-08-16Alexey Guzey Effective Altruism ForumNational Institutes of Health Howard Hughes Medical Institute Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Open Philanthropy Project Amgen Life Sciences Research Foundation Harvard University Massachusetts Institute of Technology Stanford University Review of current state of cause areaBiomedical researchGuzey surveys the current state of biomedical research, primarily in academia in the United States. His work is the result of interviewing about 60 people. Emergent Ventures provided financial support. His takeaways: (1) Life science is not slowing down (2) Nothing works the way you would naively think it does (for better or for worse) (3) If you're smart and driven, you'll find a way in (4) Nobody cares if you're a genius (5) Almost all biologists are solo founders. This is probably suboptimal (6) There's insufficient space for people who just want to be researchers and not managers (7) Peer review is a disaster (8) Nobody agrees on whether big labs are good or bad (9) Senior scientists are bound by their students' incentives (10) Universities seem to maximize their profits, with good research being a side-effect (11) Large parts of modern scientific literature are wrong (12) Raising money is very difficult even for famous scientists. Final conclusion: "academia has a lot of problems but it's less broken than it seems from the outside."
Questions We Ask Ourselves Before Making a Grant2019-08-06Michael Levine Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Sandler Foundation Center for Security and Emerging Technology University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Broad donor strategyMichael Levine describes some guidance that the Open Philanthropy Project has put together for program officers on questions to consider before making a grant. This complements guidance published three years ago about internal grant writeups: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-grantmaking-so-far-approach-and-process
GiveWell’s Top Charities Are (Increasingly) Hard to Beat2019-07-09Alexander Berger Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project GiveDirectly Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Target Malaria JustLeadershipUSA Broad donor strategyGlobal health and development|Criminal justice reform|Scientific researchIn the blog post, Alexander Berger discusses how, originally, Open Philanthropy Project donations for near-term human well-being (primarily in the areas of criminal justice reform and scientific research) are compared against a cost-effectiveness benchmark of direct cash transfers, which is set as 100x (every $1 donated should yield $100 in benefits). However, since GiveWell has recently made its cost-effectiveness calculations for top charities more thorough, and now estimates that top charities are 5-15x as cost-effective as cash (or 500-1500x, with 1000x as a median), Berger is now comparing all the existing near-term human well-being grants against the 1000x benchmarks. He finds that, using the back-of-the-envelope calculations (BOTECs) done at the time of justifying the grants, many of the criminal justice reform grants do not clear the bar; in total only $32 million of the grants clears the bar, and about half of it is a single grant to Target Malaria. Berger links to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsE2_TNWn0x6MWL1PTdkZT2vQNFW8VFBslC5qjk4sgo/edit?ts=5cc10604 for some sample BOTECs
Explaining Our Bet on Sherlock Biosciences’ Innovations in Viral Diagnostics2019-06-10Heather Youngs Chris Somerville Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Sherlock Biosciences Single donation documentationScientific researchIn this new-style blog post, the reasons for the Open Philanthropy Project grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnostics to Sherlock Biosciences are explained in a conversational style. The conversation participants include Michael Levine (Communications Officer) and the grant investigators Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs
Has the Giving Pledge Changed Giving? A proposal unveiled nearly a decade ago was intended to turbocharge philanthropy. There’s little evidence so far it’s doing that.2019-06-04Marc Gunther Chronicle of PhilanthropyWarren Buffett Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Dalio Philanthropies George Lucas and Mellody Hobson Good Ventures Open Philanthropy Project Simons Foundation Miscellaneous commentaryIn a long-form article for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Marc Gunther describes the history of the Giving Pledge, created ten years ago at a meeting including Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Feeney, George Soros, Eli Broad, and Oprah Winfrey. Gunther writes that the Giving Pledge has failed to increase the overall level of charitable giving in general, and has not inspired much more charitable giving even among the superrich, to whom it was targeted. The article says that fewer than one in six billionaires in the United States have taken the pledge, and moreover, many of those who took the pledge had either already given or already been planning to give large amounts to charity, so the counterfactual impact of the pledge was low. The article includes a table of the current net worth and total donations so far by the wealthiest signatories of the Giving Pledge, as well as profiles of several Giving Pledge signatories.
80,000 Hours Annual Review – December 20182019-05-07Benjamin Todd 80,000 HoursOpen Philanthropy Project Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund 80,0000 Hours Donee periodic updateEffective altruism/movement growth/career counselingThis blog post is the annual self-review by 80,000 Hours, originally written in December 2018. Publication was deferred because 80,000 Hours was waiting to hear back on the status of some large grants (in particular, one from the Open Philanthropy Project), but most of the content is still from the December 2018 draft. The post goes into detail about 80,000 Hours' progress in 2018, impact and plan changes, and future expansion plans. Funding gaps are discussed (the funding gap for 2019 is $400,000, and further money will be saved for 2020 and 2021). Grants from the Open Philanthropy Project, BERI, and the Effective Altruism Funds (EA Meta Fund) are mentioned
Will splashy philanthropy cause the biosecurity field to focus on the wrong risks?2019-04-25Filippa Lentzos Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsOpen Philanthropy Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessFilippa Lentzos examines the Open Philanthropy Project's funding in the biosecurity field. She argues that the scale and speed of Open Phil's grantmaking may hurt the field by shaping the agenda of the field to be too focused on global catastrophic risks, and to be less diverse on the whole. The post is linked and discussed on the Effective Altruism Forum at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Kkw8uDwGuNnBhiYHi/will-splashy-philanthropy-cause-the-biosecurity-field-to (GW, IR) by Tessa Alexanian. Howie Lempel, in the comments, describes more of the post author's views based on her past article https://thebulletin.org/2017/07/ignore-bill-gates-where-bioweapons-focus-really-belongs/ Others who share thoughts in the comments include Alex Foster, Denise Melchin, and Rob Bensinger.
Our Progress in 2018 and Plans for 20192019-04-15Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
New grants from the Open Philanthropy Project and BERI2019-04-01Rob Bensinger Machine Intelligence Research InstituteOpen Philanthropy Project Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Machine Intelligence Research Institute Donee periodic updateAI safetyMIRI announces two grants to it: a two-year grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support-2019 totaling $2,112,500 from the Open Philanthropy Project, with half of it disbursed in 2019 and the other half disbursed in 2020. The amount disbursed in 2019 (of a little over $1.06 million) is on top of the $1.25 million already committed by the Open Philanthropy Project as part of the 3-year $3.75 million grant https://intelligence.org/2017/11/08/major-grant-open-phil/ The $1.06 million in 2020 may be supplemented by further grants from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant size from the Open Philanthropy Project was determined by the Committee for Effective Altruism Support. The post also notes that the Open Philanthropy Project plans to determine future grant sizes using the Committee. MIRI expects the grant money to play an important role in decision-making as it executes on growing its research team as described in its 2018 strategy update post https://intelligence.org/2018/11/22/2018-update-our-new-research-directions/ and fundraiser post https://intelligence.org/2018/11/26/miris-2018-fundraiser/
With Launch Of New CRISPR Company, Competition Extends To Diagnostics2019-03-21Ellie Kincaid ForbesOpen Philanthropy Project Sherlock Biosciences LaunchScientific researchThe article describes the launch of Sherlock Biosciences, a company that aims to use CRISPR technology for diagnostics. It mentions the $17.5 million donation https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnostics plus undisclosed investment from the Open Philanthropy Project, as well as separate investment. Together, Sherlock Biosciences has raised $35 million
Important But Neglected: Why an Effective Altruist Funder Is Giving Millions to AI Security2019-03-20Tate Williams Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for Security and Emerging Technology Third-party coverage of donor strategyAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risks|SecurityThe article focuses on grantmaking by the Open Philanthropy Project in the areas of global catastrophic risks and security, particularly in AI safety and biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. It includes quotes from Luke Muehlhauser, Senior Research Analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project and the investigator for the $55 million grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/georgetown-university-center-security-and-emerging-technology to the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). Muehlhauser was previously Executive Director at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. It also includes a quote from Holden Karnofsky, who sees the early interest of effective altruists in AI safety as prescient. The CSET grant is discussed in the context of the Open Philanthropy Project's hits-based giving approach, as well as the interest in the policy space in better understanding of safety and governance issues related to technology and AI
Committee for Effective Altruism Support2019-02-27Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Centre for Effective Altruism Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Center for Applied Rationality Machine Intelligence Research Institute Future of Humanity Institute Broad donor strategyEffective altruism|AI safetyThe document announces a new approach to setting grant sizes for the largest grantees who are "in the effective altruism community" including both organizations explicitly focused on effective altruism and other organizations that are favorites of and deeply embedded in the community, including organizations working in AI safety. The committee comprises Open Philanthropy staff and trusted outside advisors who are knowledgeable about the relevant organizations. Committee members review materials submitted by the organizations; gather to discuss considerations, including room for more funding; and submit “votes” on how they would allocate a set budget between a number of grantees (they can also vote to save part of the budget for later giving). Votes of committee members are averaged to arrive at the final grant amounts. Example grants whose size was determined by the community is the two-year support to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support-2019 and one-year support to the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/centre-effective-altruism-general-support-2019
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20182018-12-20Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectChloe 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: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund 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
Scaling OFTW: Our First Hire And Funding From The Open Philanthropy Project2018-08-01Rossa O'Keeffe-O'Donovan One for the WorldOpen Philanthropy Project Luke Ding One for the World Donee periodic updateEffective altruism/fundraisingOne for the World announces grants to it recommended by GiveWell, of $153,750 from the Open Philanthropy Project and $51,250 from Luke Ding. The funding is to cover two years of expenses, including hiring a COO for the first year, and a CEO in the second year. The post also announces the hiring of Evan McVail as COO, fulfilling part of the plan for the grant
Occasional update July 5 20182018-07-05Katja Grace AI ImpactsOpen Philanthropy Project Anonymous AI Impacts Donee periodic updateAI safetyKatja Grace gives an update on the situation with AI Impacts, including recent funding received, personnel changes, and recent publicity.In particular, a $100,000 donation from the Open Philanthropy Project and a $39,000 anonymous donation are mentioned, and team members Tegan McCaslin, Justis Mills, consultant Carl Shulman, and departing member Michael Wulfsohn are mentioned
The Most Unorthodox Big Foundation in America2018-05-18Marc Gunther Nonprofit ChroniclesOpen Philanthropy Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyThe article primarily links to and explains https://ssir.org/articles/entry/giving_in_the_light_of_reason which is a much longer article about the Open Philanthropy Project and its grantmaking. Unlike the linked article, the author goes more into his personal take on the subject, including how his recent visit to Rwanda, and how that has shifted him in the direction of donating to meet present-day needs
Giving in the Light of Reason2018-05-17Marc Gunther Stanford Social Innovation ReviewOpen Philanthropy Project Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Future Justice Fund Good Ventures The Humane League Direct Action Everywhere Target Malaria University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Alliance for Safety and Justice The Marshall Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Scientific researchAn in-depth profile of the Open Philanthropy Project and its grantmaking, with a particular focus on discussion of the top grants in animal welfare and scientific research. The organizational history, grantmaking process, and internal culture are also discussed. Referenced in https://nonprofitchronicles.com/2018/05/18/the-most-unorthodox-big-foundation-in-america/ by the same author
Update on Partnerships with External Donors2018-05-16Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Future Justice Fund Accountable Justice Action Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund Accountable Justice Action Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund 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
With the Backing of Top Funders, This Group is Taking the Criminal Justice System to Court2018-04-24Philip Rojc Inside PhilanthropyMacArthur Foundation Laura and John Arnold Foundation Open Philanthropy Project Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Civil Rights Corps Evaluator review of doneeCriminal justice reform/litigationThe article describes the efforts of Civil Rights Corps, an organization dedicated to challenging criminal justice abuses in court. It includes the Open Philanthropy Project and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative among its funders
This Powerhouse Funder is Still New to Scientific Research. Where Are Grants Going?2018-04-17Paul Karon Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Third-party coverage of donor strategyScientific researchThe article discusses grantmaking by the Open Philanthropy Project in the domain of scientific research, noting that the grants were often made in areas overlapping with other interests (such as global health). The large donation to the Institute for Protein Design in connection with influenza research is highlighted
Hiring analytical thinkers to help give away billions2018-03-30Ajeya Cotra MediumOpen Philanthropy Project Job advertisementOpen Philanthropy Project research analyst Ajeya Cotra speaks highly of the work there, and highlights the new research analyst positions the organization is hiring for. The post would be shared on Facebook by Claire Zabel at https://www.facebook.com/claire.zabel/posts/10216805589078395 and 80,000 Hours at https://www.facebook.com/80000Hours/posts/1703309639750767
Managing Funder-Grantee Dynamics Responsibly2018-03-30Michael Levine Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Miscellaneous commentaryMichael Levine of the Open Philanthropy Project discusses how big donors (like the Open Philanthropy Project) can unduly influence the plans of existing and potential grantees, and what the organization is doing to mitigate that impact
Hi, I'm Holden Karnofsky. AMA about jobs at Open Philanthropy2018-03-26Holden Karnofsky Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
An Update to How We’re Thinking About Grant Check-Ins2018-03-09Morgan Davis Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Miscellaneous commentaryMorgan Davis of the Open Philanthropy Project describes the process that the organization uses to check in on and learn from past grants. A check-in has three goals: updates (most frequent, and quite minor), lessons (less frequent, more important, and more wide-ranging), and impact (most rare, but really important when it occurs)
The world’s most intellectual foundation is hiring. Holden Karnofsky, founder of GiveWell, on how philanthropy can have maximum impact by taking big risks.2018-02-27Robert Wiblin Kieran Harris Holden Karnofsky 80,000 HoursOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAI safety|Global catastrophic risks|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global health and development|Animal welfare|Scientific researchThis interview, with full transcript, is an episode of the 80,000 Hours podcast. In the interview, Karnofsky provides an overview of the cause prioritization and grantmaking strategy of the Open Philanthropy Project, and also notes that the Open Philanthropy Project is hiring for a number of positions
New Job Opportunities2018-02-14Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Where, why and how I donated in 20172018-02-01Ben Kuhn Ben Kuhn Open Philanthropy Project Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund Effective Altruism Grants GiveWell GiveWell top charities EA Giving Group Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund Periodic donation list documentationGlobal health and developmentKuhn describes his decision to allocate his donation amount ($60,000, calculated as 50% of his income for the year) between GiveWell, GiveWell top charities, and his own donor-advised fund managed by Fidelity. Kuhn also discusses the Open Philanthropy Project, EA Funds, and EA Grants, and the EA Giving Group he donated to the previous year
Update on Cause Prioritization at Open Philanthropy2018-01-26Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Fish: The Forgotten Farm Animal2018-01-18Lewis Bollard Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farming/fishThe blog post, cross-posted from a newsletter published by the author, makes the case that fish welfare is neglected within the domain of factory farming, and provides suggestions for how to address that problem, including suggestions that the Open Philanthropy Project (where Bollard is the Program Officer for Farm Animal Welfare) is acting upon
A Research Funder Knocks on the NIH's Door Looking for Ideas—And Big Grants Flow2018-01-11Tate Williams Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Arizona State University University of Notre Dame Rockefeller University University of California, San Francisco Third-party coverage of donor strategyScientific researchThe article discusses the Open Philanthropy Project second chance funding program for rejected applicants of the National Institutes of Health transformative R01 program
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20172017-12-21Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectJaime 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: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund 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
Our ‘Second Chance’ Program for NIH Transformative Research Applicants2017-12-20Heather Youngs Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Arizona State University University of Notre Dame Rockefeller University Univesity of California San Francisco Broad donor strategyScientific research/transformative R01The blog post describes a "second chance" program that the Open Philanthropy Project ran for rejected applications to the National Institutes of Health transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra Four grants were made based on this, totaling $10.8 million. The grants were also covered in Nature at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0
Staff Members’ Personal Donations for Giving Season 20172017-12-18Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectHolden 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: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund 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
Reasoning Transparency2017-12-12Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Reasoning supplementThe document describes what sort of document structure for discourse and research exposition is most helpful to the Open Philanthropy Project as a consumer of the work. Announced at https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/i2F6YxE14O8
Update on Investigating Neglected Goals in Biological Research2017-11-30Nick Beckstead Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Good Ventures/not recommended by GiveWell or Open Philanthropy Project Target Malaria Broad donor strategyScientific research,Global health,Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness,AgricultureThe blog post describes the way the Open Philanthropy Project is identifying neglected goals in biological research. Previously the hope was to investigate sub-areas deeply and produce write-ups. Now, the approach is more "opportunistic": rather than do public write-ups, staff look out for good opportunities for shovel-ready or highly promising grants in the specific topics identified as having strong potential
How to end animal agriculture as soon as possible2017-09-27Robert Wiblin Lewis Bollard 80,000 HoursOpen Philanthropy Project Mercy For Animals Compassion in World Farming The Humane League The Humane Society of the United States Humane Society International The Good Food Institute Animal Equality Animal Charity Evaluators Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farmingPodcast with interview of Lewis Bollard (Farm Animal Welfare Program Officer at the Open Philanthropy Project) by Robert Wiblin of 80000 Hours, along with transcript. The podcast covers the strategy of the Open Philanthropy Project. 80000 Hours is an Open Philanthropy Project grant recipient and Wiblin was also on the board of Animal Charity Evaluators, an animal welfare-focused grant recipient that is discussed in the podcast
The impacts of inacercation on crime2017-09-25David Roodman Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Reasoning supplementCriminal justice reformThe document reviews three mechanisms through which incarceration might reduce crime: deterrence, incapacitation, and aftereffects. It is also published in the form of four blog posts https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/reasonable-doubt-new-look-whether-prison-growth-cuts-crime https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/deterrence-de-minimis https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/incapacitation-how-much-does-putting-people-inside-prison-cut-crime-outside https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/aftereffects-us-evidence-says-doing-more-time-typically-leads-more-crime-after and is also available as http://files.openphilanthropy.org/files/Focus_Areas/Criminal_Justice_Reform/impacts_of_incarceration_v4.mobi (Kindle) and http://files.openphilanthropy.org/files/Focus_Areas/Criminal_Justice_Reform/impacts_of_incarceration_v4.epub (Mobi)
How Will Hen Welfare Be Impacted by the Transition to Cage-Free Housing?2017-09-15Ajeya Cotra Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Reasoning supplementAnimal welfare/factory farming/chicken/cage-free campaignA followup to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/initial-grants-support-corporate-cage-free-reforms which described the original cage-free campaign funding strategy. This report compares aviaries (cage-free living environments) with cages for hens. It tempers original enthusiasm for cage-free by noting higher mortality rates, but continues to support the position that cage-free is likely better on net for hens. Described in blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/new-report-welfare-differences-between-cage-and-cage-free-housing that expresses regret for not investigating this more thoroughly earlier, and thanks Direct Action Everywhere for highlighting the issue. See https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/cnK5yNlYHuc for the announcement
The Open Philanthropy Project AI Fellows Program2017-09-12Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAI safetyThis annouces an AI Fellows Program to support students doing Ph.D. work in AI-related fields who have interest in AI safety. See https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10213116327718748 and https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/long-term-world-improvement/FeZ_h2HXJr0 for critical discussions
A major grant from the Open Philanthropy Project2017-09-08Malo Bourgon Machine Intelligence Research InstituteOpen Philanthropy Project Machine Intelligence Research Institute Donee periodic updateAI safetyMIRI announces that it has received a three-year grant at $1.25 million per year from the Open Philanthropy Project, and links to the announcement from Open Phil at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support-2017 and notes "The Open Philanthropy Project has expressed openness to potentially increasing their support if MIRI is in a position to usefully spend more than our conservative estimate, if they believe that this increase in spending is sufficiently high-value, and if we are able to secure additional outside support to ensure that the Open Philanthropy Project isn’t providing more than half of our total funding."
Should EAs think twice before donating to GFI? (GW, IR)2017-08-31Kevin Watkinson Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project The Good Food Institute Third-party case against donationAnimal welfareThe post argues against donations to The Good Food Institute, noting its limited track record as well as the huge amount of funding it is already receiving from the Open Philanthropy Project. This post is made shortly after an exchange between the post author (Kevin Watkinson) and Holden Karnofsky of the Open Philanthropy Project in http://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/march-2017-open-thread?page=1#comment-305 (the open thread of the Open Philanthropy Project). The post also critiques Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) for a positive assessment of GFI, and comments include a response from an ACE employee and an ACE board member (neither in an official capacity)
Relationship Disclosure Policy2017-08-30Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Miscellaneous commentaryThe document, announced on a mailing list at https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/4-0KIw2aVmQ (2017-08-30) describes a change in relationship disclosure policy on grant pages published by the Open Philanthropy Project. Relationship disclosures would now no longer be included on grant pages. See https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10212973153219475 (cross-posted at https://github.com/vipulnaik/working-drafts/blob/master/open-phil/relationship-disclosure-policy.txt to GitHub) for a critique
Fear and Loathing at Effective Altruism Global 20172017-08-16Scott Alexander Slate Star CodexOpen Philanthropy Project GiveWell Centre for Effective Altruism Center for Effective Global Action Raising for Effective Giving 80,000 Hours Wild-Animal Suffering Research Qualia Research Institute Foundational Research Institute Miscellaneous commentaryScott Alexander describes his experience at Effective ALtruism Global 2017. He describes how the effective altruism movement has both the formal-looking, "suits" people who are in charge of large amounts of money, and the "weirdos" who are toying around with ideas that seem strange and are not mainstream even within effective altruism. However, he feels that rather than being two separate groups, the two groups blend into and overlap with each other. He sees this as a sign that the effective altruism movement is composed of genuinely good people who are looking to make a difference, and explains why he thinks they are succeeding
Grants to Support Farm Animal Welfare Work in China2017-08-09Lewis Bollard Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Compassion in World Farming WildAid World Animal Protection Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Humane Slaughter Association Jeanne Marchig Centre Animal Welfare Standards Project Green Monday Griffith University Brighter Green Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farming/ChinaThe document describes the strategy of the Open Philanthropy Project to focus on farm animal welfare advocacy in China, and lists ten grants that are part of this strategy. It is announced 2017-08-09 at https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/ngrjni1iKLg on the mailing list; this comes 9.5 months after the strategy was unofficially announced by Lewis Bollard at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EffectiveAnimalActivism/permalink/656583861179155/ (2016-10-25) on Facebook
My current thoughts on MIRI’s highly reliable agent design work (GW, IR)2017-07-07Daniel Dewey Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project Machine Intelligence Research Institute Evaluator review of doneeAI safetyPost discusses thoughts on the MIRI work on highly reliable agent design. Dewey is looking into the subject to inform Open Philanthropy Project grantmaking to MIRI specifically and for AI risk in general; the post reflects his own opinions that could affect Open Phil decisions. See https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/long-term-world-improvement/FeZ_h2HXJr0 for critical discussion, in particular the comments by Sarah Constantin
Hi, I’m Luke Muehlhauser. AMA about Open Philanthropy’s new report on consciousness and moral patienthood2017-06-28Luke Muehlhauser Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project Dyrevernalliansen Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Contemporaries Eurogroup for Animals Reasoning supplementMoral patienthood/animal welfareLuke Muehlhauser hosts an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the Effective Altruism Forum about his recently published report https://www.openphilanthropy.org/2017-report-consciousness-and-moral-patienthood (2017-06-06). The post gets 61 comments
The Open Philanthropy Project Is Now an Independent Organization2017-06-12Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
2017 Report on Consciousness and Moral Patienthood2017-06-06Luke Muehlhauser Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Dyrevernalliansen Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Contemporaries Eurogroup for Animals Reasoning supplementMoral patienthood/animal welfareThe writeup announced at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/new-report-consciousness-and-moral-patienthood provides an overview of the findings of Luke Muehlhauser on moral patienthood -- a broad subject covering what creatures are the subject of moral concern. As described at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/radical-empathy Open Phil identifies with radical empathy, extending concern to beings considered of moral concern, even if they are not traditionally subjects of empathy and concern. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/1426329927423360/ for a discussion of the post on the Effective Altruism Facebook group, and see http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1c3/hi_im_luke_muehlhauser_ama_about_open/ for a related AMA. The writeup influenced the Open Philanthropy Project Farm Animal Welfare Officer Lewis Bollard to investigate and donate in the domain of fish welfare; see http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1c3/hi_im_luke_muehlhauser_ama_about_open/b8o for a comment clarifying this effect
An Open Letter to SOZE and the Open Philanthropy Project: The Right of Return Fellowship and Ethics in Funding2017-04-27Taylar Nuevelle MediumOpen Philanthropy Project The Soze Agency Third-party case against donationCriminal justice reformThe writer, a contestant for the Right of Return Fellowship, feels that the contest was rigged, and is writing to bring that to the attention of the Open Philanthropy Project, that funded the Soze Agency for this work
Soros Connected Groups Dominate Ayala’s Personal & Professional Life2017-04-19Jacob Engels Central Florida PostOpen Philanthropy Project Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Fair and Just Prosecution Third-party case against donationCriminal justice reformThe writer notes how the Open Philanthropy Project (that he mistakenly believes to be a Soros-funded group) has been attempting to influence Orange and Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala, and argues for more openness. See https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10212752692588097 for a discussion
Why Are the US Corporate Cage-Free Campaigns Succeeding?2017-04-11Lewis Bollard Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project The Humane League Mercy For Animals The Humane Society of the United States Compassion in World Farming USA Review of current state of cause areaAnimal welfare/factory farming/cage-free campaignLewis Bollard, Open Philanthropy Project Program Officer for Animal Welfare, who brought passion about cage-free campaigns to the organization when he joined, provides a timeline of cage-free campaigns and an assessment of the success of these campaigns, and the role of the Open Philanthropy Project as a funder
Open Philanthropy Project non-grant funding2017-04-02Issa Rice Open Philanthropy Project Miscellaneous commentaryThe document lists some funding by the Open Philanthropy Project that is publicly disclosed (either by Open Philanthropy Project or by the donee or another reliable source) but is not part of the Open Philanthropy Project grants database, and is not included in employee salaries and benefits.
Criminal Justice Reform Strategy2017-03-27Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reformExplanation of the criminal justice reform strategy of the Open Philanthropy Project in the United States, under the leadership of Chloe Cockburn. Discusses broad goals, types of organizations funded, other funders in the space, and expected impact. Announced in email https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/_aKeLKRqtQY by Devin Jacob on 2017-03-27
Our Progress in 2016 and Plans for 20172017-03-14Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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)
A conversation with Lewis Bollard, February 23, 20172017-02-23Lewis Bollard Luke Muehlhauser Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaAnimal welfareFarm animal welfare program officer Lewis Bollard speaks with Luke Muehlhauser, investigator into moral patienthood, on the history of the animal rights and welfare movements as well as recent developments
Daniel May: "Open Science: little room for more funding."2017-02-15Daniel May Oxford Prioritisation ProjectOxford Prioritisation Project Laura and John Arnold Foundation Open Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaScientific researchThe summary states: "I consider open science as a cause area, by reviewing Open Phil’s published work, as well as some popular articles and research, and assessing the field for scale, neglectedness, and tractability. I conclude that the best giving opportunities will likely be filled by foundations such as LJAF and Open Phil, and recommend that the Oxford Prioritisation Project focusses elsewhere." Also available as a Google Doc at https://docs.google.com/document/d/13wsMAugRacu52EPZo6-7NJh4QuYayKyIbjChwU0KsVU/edit?usp=sharing and at the Effective Altruism Forum at http://effective-altruism.com/ea/17g/daniel_may_open_science_little_room_for_more/ (10 comments)
Forget Washington. Criminal Justice Funders Have Big Plans at the Local Level2017-02-08Philip Rojc Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Laura and John Arnold Foundation MacArthur Foundation Third-party coverage of donor strategyCriminal justice reformThe post compares the criminal justice reform strategies followed by, on the one hand, the Arnold and MacArthur Foundation (working on the inside with government agencies and power players), on the other hand, the Open Philanthropy Project (keeping the pressure for reform from the outside). It says that the two strategies are complementary, and taken together, improve the expected amount of reform
Good Ventures and Giving Now vs. Later (2016 Update)2016-12-28Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectGood 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 Philanthropy ProjectJaime 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Catastrophic Global Risks: A Silicon Valley Funder Thinks the Unthinkable2016-11-30Sue Lynn-Moses Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for International Security and Cooperation Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessA discussion of the overall work done by the Open Philanthropy Project on global catastrophic risks, with a particular focus on biosecurity. Comparisons are made with the Skoll Global Threats Fund, and the historical work of the Rockefeller Foundation in disease surveillance (that it recently pulled out of) is referenced
Vast Suffering, Clear Solutions: The Logic Behind a Global Push to Help Farm Animals2016-11-17Tate Williams Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farmingThe article reviews Open Philanthropy Project grants for animal welfare, primarily grants focused on cage-free campaigns, decided by program officer Lewis Bollard. The connection with the effective altruist movement is also highlighted
The Open Philanthropy Project just announced our latest grant to WildAid in China2016-10-25Lewis Bollard Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Green Monday World Animal Protection Brighter Green WildAid Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farming/ChinaAnnouncement of strategy on Facebook; official document https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/grants-support-farm-animal-welfare-work-china announced at https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/ngrjni1iKLg (2017-08-09).
Grisly Undercover Video Shows Chickens Being Starved To Produce More Eggs2016-10-11Nico Pitney Huffington PostOpen Philanthropy Project Humane Society International Mercy For Animals Animal Equality People for Animals The Humane League Third-party coverage of donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farming/chicken/cage-free campaign/internationalProvides some context for the move by the Open Philanthropy Project in mid-2016 to expand its cage-free campaign funding internationally
Brian Tomasik, Research Lead, Foundational Research Institute on October 6, 20162016-10-06Brian Tomasik Luke Muehlhauser Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Reasoning supplementMoral patienthood/animal welfareConversation as part of research by Muehlhauser into moral patienthood, that would culminate in the writeup https://www.openphilanthropy.org/2017-report-consciousness-and-moral-patienthood published in 2017
Machine Intelligence Research Institute — General Support2016-09-06Open Philanthropy Project Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Machine Intelligence Research Institute Evaluator review of doneeAI safetyOpen Phil writes about the grant at considerable length, more than it usually does. This is because it says that it has found the investigation difficult and believes that others may benefit from its process. The writeup also links to reviews of MIRI research by AI researchers, commissioned by Open Phil: http://files.openphilanthropy.org/files/Grants/MIRI/consolidated_public_reviews.pdf (the reviews are anonymized). The date is based on the announcement date of the grant, see https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/XkSl27jBDZ8 for the email
Anonymized Reviews of Three Recent Papers from MIRI’s Agent Foundations Research Agenda (PDF)2016-09-06Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Machine Intelligence Research Institute Evaluator review of doneeAI safetyReviews of the technical work done by MIRI, solicited and compiled by the Open Philanthropy Project as part of its decision process behind a grant for general support to MIRI documented at http://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/machine-intelligence-research-institute-general-support (grant made 2016-08, announced 2016-09-06)
Why the Open Philanthropy Project Should Prioritize Wild Animal Suffering2016-08-26Michael Dickens Effective Altruism ForumOpen Philanthropy Project Unsolicited third-party suggestions for donorAnimal welfare/wild animalsMichael Dickens offers reasons that the Open Philanthropy Project should prioritize Wild Animal Suffering. He writes: "What we need is a large, committed source of funding to jump-start the cause. If the Open Philanthropy Project began funding work on wild animal suffering, it could stimulate new research efforts or small-scale interventions by offering grants. Specifically, Open Phil should probably create a new focus area for wild animal suffering and possibly hire dedicated staff. This problem has such large scale, and so many possible interventions, that it absolutely deserves to be a dedicated focus area. Open Phil might consider lumping WAS under its farm animal welfare program, but this would excessively constrain its budget and limit the amount of staff time that it could receive. Wild animal suffering is a massive problem, and easily deserves as much attention as most of Open Phil’s other focus areas."
Housing and Incarceration Memorandum2016-08-22Chelsea Tabart Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Reasoning supplementCriminal justice reformAn internal memorandum on the intersection between housing and incarceration written by Chelsea Tabart for Chloe Cockburn (the criminal justice program officer). The memorandum would be publicly announced and linked to from https://groups.google.com/a/openphilanthropy.org/forum/#!topic/newly.published/jQyJCLBgenc (2017-10-25)
Potential Risks from Advanced Artificial Intelligence: The Philanthropic Opportunity2016-05-06Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Initial Grants to Support Corporate Cage-free Reforms2016-03-31Lewis Bollard Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project The Humane League Mercy For Animals The Humane Society of the United States Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farming/chicken/cage-free campaign/internationalWritten to explain a bunch of grants already made in 2016-02 to support cage-free reforms in the United States for egg-laying chicken. The blog post had a heated comment section, potentially influencing future Open Phil communication on the subject
EPISODE 324: LEWIS BOLLARD FROM THE OPEN PHILANTHROPY PROJECT2016-03-26Lewis Bollard Jasmin Singer Mariann Sullivan Our Hen HouseOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farmingLewis Bollard, who recently joined the Open Philanthropy Project and has recently recommended a bunch of grants related to corporate campaigns, describes what he is working on
Suggestions for individual donors from Open Philanthropy Project staff2015-12-23Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectChloe 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
ALLEVIATING ANIMAL SUFFERING: A CONVERSATION WITH LEWIS BOLLARD2015-11-29Marc Gunther Nonprofit ChroniclesOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAnimal welfare/factory farmingThe author discusses takeaway from a recent lunch with Lewis Bollard, who has recently joined the Open Philanthropy Project as the Program Officer for Farm Animal Welfare
Incoming Program Officer: Lewis Bollard2015-09-11Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Open Philanthropy Project2015-09-05Sydney Martin Open Philanthropy Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyCriminal justice reformThe blog post describes the Open Philanthropy Project and its broad strategy of selecting a few areas through cause prioritization, studying them in depth, and granting a lot in those areas. She particularly focuses on criminal justice reform and the hiring of Chloe Cockburn
Incoming Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform: Chloe Cockburn2015-06-16Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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 Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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 Philanthropy ProjectSandler Foundation Open Philanthropy Project 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
Criminal justice reform2014-11-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaCriminal justice reformThe document gives the state of understanding of the Open Philanthropy Project as of November 2014, of the landscrape for criminal justice reform in the United States. It was originally prepared for a November 2014 convening. It is superseded by later documents, in particular https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/criminal-justice-reform-strategy (2017-03-27)
Potential Global Catastrophic Risk Focus Areas2014-06-26Alexander Berger Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risksIn this blog post originally published at https://blog.givewell.org/2014/06/26/potential-global-catastrophic-risk-focus-areas/ Alexander Berger goes over a list of seven types of global catastrophic risks (GCRs) that the Open Philanthropy Project has considered. He details three promising areas that the Open Philanthropy Project is exploring more and may make grants in: (1) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, (2) Geoengineering research and governance, (3) AI safety. For the AI safety section, there is a note from Executive Director Holden Karnofsky saying that he sees AI safety as a more promising area than Berger does
Potential U.S. Policy Focus Areas2014-05-29Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Criminal Justice Reform2014-05-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaCriminal justice reformThe document summarizes the state of investigation of the Open Philanthropy Project into criminal justice reform in a United States context, as of May 2014. The nutshell headers are: What is the state of our investigation into U.S. criminal justice reform? Why are we making criminal justice reform grants? What is the problem? What are possible interventions?
Macroeconomic policy2014-05-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaMacroeconomic stabilization policyInitial findings from a medium-depth investigation into the current state of macroeconomic stabilization policy
GiveWell Labs - Progress in 2013 and Plans for 20142014-03-05Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Biosecurity2014-01-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessInitial findings from a shallow investigation into the current state of biosecurity and its funding
Treatment of Animals in Industrial Agriculture2013-09-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaAnimal welfare/factory farming/United StatesInitial findings from a shallow investigation into the impact of industrial agriculture on animal welfare in the United States
Migration policy/international labor mobility2013-05-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaMigration policy/international labor mobilityInitial findings from a shallow investigation into the current state of labor mobility, with more focus on the United States
Thoughts on the Singularity Institute (SI) (GW, IR)2012-05-11Holden Karnofsky LessWrongOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence2011-04-30Holden Karnofsky GiveWellOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Advocacy for Improved or Increased U.S. Foreign AidOpen Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaGlobal health and developmentThe Open Philanthropy Project reviews the current state of policy advocacy for increasing development assistance from the United States government, in order to identify what a new funder (potentially, the Open Philanthropy Project) could do in the space
Open Philanthropy Project: Grants for Global SecurityInside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for International Security and Cooperation Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessAn overview by Inside Philanthropy of the Open Philanthropy Project and its work on biosecurity grants

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (48 donations)

DoneeAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 48)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Brown Institute for Media Innovation15,000.00452020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/brown-institute-for-media-innovation-covid-19-rapid-micro-grantsJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support rapid micro-grants for work that aims to inform the public about the COVID-19 virus. This funding enabled the Brown Institute to award five micro-grants https://brown.columbia.edu/covid19-grant-winners/ to journalists, technologists, health researchers, data scientists, social scientists, and others."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount covers 60% of the award money granted out (five grants of $5,000 each). The reason for funding only 60% are not included in the grant page; it is likely that other sources of funding cover the remaining cost.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The timing is likely determined by the timing of the microgrants round being funded. The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-27.
University of Colorado (Earmark: May Chu)250,000.00332020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/university-of-colorado-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-experimentsJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support experiments on the decontamination and safe reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers (HCWs) treating COVID-19 patients. This effort is led by Professor May Chu at the Colorado School of Public Health with collaborators from academic research labs, professional PPE testing laboratories, and infectious disease hospitals around the world. The aim of this study is to identify simple, executable processes for decontamination of homemade masks, surgical masks, and N95 respirators that can be applied anywhere, from hospitals to low-resource settings, so that HCWs are protected. The results could inform PPE recommendations for HCW protection from bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. The grant page also highlights the credentials of the grantee: "Professor Chu serves on the WHO’s Expert Advisory Committee for COVID-19 and helped lead the United States’ response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic at the Office of Science and Technology Policy."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-15.
Sea-Long Global Respiratory Systems325,000.00292020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/sea-long-global-respiratory-systems-covid-19-ventilation-helmet-productionJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the increased production of non-invasive ventilation helmets for COVID-19 patients. The helmets are intended to aid patients under respiratory distress and reduce the demand for ventilators in regions experiencing severe outbreaks, in the U.S. and internationally."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-24.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security2,400,000.00122020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-march-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant "to provide general support and to support GHSS project activities on deliberate events and global health security."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is an "exit grant" intended to provide approximatly two years of operating support. It follows a February 2020 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 and is probably intendd to give the grantee enough time to find other sources of support.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The grant page says that the grant "will provide GHSS with approximately two years of operating support." This is probably considered a reasonable amount of time for the grantee to find alternativ sources of support.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Reasons for timing are unclear; it seems that the timing is determined by Open Phil's decision to stop supporting GHSS long-term. The decision seems relatively sudden, considering the February 2020 operating support grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 just one month before this exit grant.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 24

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: This grant is an exit grant, which means that Open Phil plans to make no further grants to GHSS.

Other notes: This exit grant comes at around the time that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to be recognized, and Open Phil is doubling down on biosecurity and pandemic preparedness spending related to COVID-19. The relationship of this exit to COVID-19, if any, is unclear. Announced: 2020-04-27.
Against COVID-1910,000.00482020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/against-covid-19-covid-19-database-supportJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the expansion of its database of COVID-19 cases to include data from additional countries. The database tracks COVID-19 cases by transmission (local or imported), age, and other relevant characteristics, and is made available in a public dashboard for researchers, policymakers, and others working to limit the spread of the virus."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-20.
Good Judgment Inc.40,000.00422020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/good-judgment-inc-covid-19-forecastingLuke Muehlhauser Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to expand "efforts to aggregate, publish, and track forecasts about the COVID-19 outbreak with the hope that the forecasts can help improve planning by health security professionals and the broader public, limit the spread of the virus, and save lives. The forecasts are aggregated each day from the most accurate 1-2% of forecasters from a large-scale, government-funded series of forecasting tournaments, plus an annual uptake of a handful of top performers from the nearly 40,000 forecasters on Good Judgement Open." The predictions are at https://goodjudgment.io/covid/dashboard/ and the reasoning is explained more in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/forecasting-covid-19-pandemic

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made at around the time the COVID-19 pandemic is being acknowledged worldwide, and just as Open Phil is ramping up grantmaking in the area. The grant investigator, Luke Muehlhauser, has generally been interested in forecasting. Most other COVID-19 grants are investigated by Jacob Trefethen.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount likely determined by project cost

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determmined by the breaking out of the COVID-19 pandemic
Intended funding timeframe in months: 1

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: The blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/forecasting-covid-19-pandemic says: "We may commission additional forecasts related to COVID-19 in the coming months, and we welcome suggestions of well-formed questions for which regularly updated forecasts would be especially helpful to public health professionals and the broader public." Announced: 2020-03-17.
Center for Global Development (Earmark: Jeremy Konyndyck)250,000.00332020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-global-development-covid-19-local-response-guidelinesAndrew Snyder-Beattie Jacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support work led by Jeremy Konyndyk on developing COVID-19 response guidelines and decision support tools to disseminate to local leaders. The guidelines and tools are intended to help local leaders take appropriate measures to limit the spread of the virus."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. The grant page notes: "Konyndyk was formerly the director of the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, where he managed an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion and helped lead the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-03-18.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security1,860,000.00142020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/johns-hopkins-center-health-security-masters-phd-program-supportAndrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant " to support the implementation of a Masters and PhD program. The program will focus on major biological and health security risks. This funding will support four PhD students for four years each and four masters students for one year each, as well as faculty time for advising students and a junior administrator." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2020-03-23.
Nuclear Threat Initiative6,000,000.0052020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's biosecurity program. This includes "work to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, enhance biosecurity, and advance pandemic preparedness."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: No reasons stated, but reasons likely similar to the previous three-year $6 million support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the previous grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Both the amount and duration of the funding timeframe ($6 million over 3 years) are identical to the previous grant to support the program, made October 2017.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by the three-year window of the previous grant coming to an end. However, the grant is made a little before the end of the three-year window.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36 Announced: 2020-04-10.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security1,200,000.00172020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The intended uses are not described explicitly, but the previous three-year grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support that this renews had a list of intended uses, and this renewal likely has similar intended uses.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Just one month later, in March 2020, Open Phil would make an exit grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-march-2020 to the grantee, covering two years of operating support. This suggests a change of some sort within the interim one-month period in Open Phil's evaluation of GHSS. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2020-03-09.
Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense2,620,000.00102020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/bipartisan-commission-on-biodefense-general-supportAndrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says that the grantee "advocates for improvements to U.S. biodefense policy through a variety of activities, including hosting public meetings, publishing reports, and conducting outreach to those in the U.S. government."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says that this grant follows January 2018 support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018 to the Blue Ribbon Panel Study on Biodefense, but the connection between the two grantees is not explained. Announced: 2020-03-16.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security19,500,000.0022019-09Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-health-security-gcrs-2019Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support work on biosecurity, global catastrophic risks posed by pathogens, and other work related to CHS’s mission, and to support the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative. CHS plans to use these funds to continue to conduct policy research and continue to build communications and advocacy capacity."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): No explicit reason for amount given, but it is similar to the previous three-year support amount of $16 million

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by the fact that the timeframe for the previous three-year grant (starting January 2017) is coming to an end
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36 Announced: 2019-10-04.
Altruistic Technology Labs440,525.00272019-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/altruistic-technology-labs-biological-risk-preventionClaire Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grantee, "AltLabs", a new organization, intends to use these funds to hire initial staff and pursue various research projects related to catastrophic risk reduction, including machine-learning-based attribution of engineered DNA and broad-spectrum infectious disease diagnostics. Announced: 2019-07-18.
Center for Security and Emerging Technology55,000,000.0012019-01Security/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Global catastrophic risks/AI safetyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/georgetown-university-center-security-and-emerging-technologyLuke Muehlhauser Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant via Georgetown University for the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a new think tank led by Jason Matheny, formerly of IARPA, dedicated to policy analysis at the intersection of national and international security and emerging technologies. CSET plans to provide nonpartisan technical analysis and advice related to emerging technologies and their security implications to the government, key media outlets, and other stakeholders.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Open Phil thinks that one of the key factors in whether AI is broadly beneficial for society is whether policymakers are well-informed and well-advised about the nature of AI’s potential benefits, potential risks, and how these relate to potential policy actions. As AI grows more powerful, calls for government to play a more active role are likely to increase, and government funding and regulation could affect the benefits and risks of AI. Thus: "Overall, we feel that ensuring high-quality and well-informed advice to policymakers over the long run is one of the most promising ways to increase the benefits and reduce the risks from advanced AI, and that the team put together by CSET is uniquely well-positioned to provide such advice." Despite risks and uncertainty, the grant is described as worthwhile under Open Phil's hits-based giving framework

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The large amount over an extended period (5 years) is explained at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant "In the case of the new Center for Security and Emerging Technology, we think it will take some time to develop expertise on key questions relevant to policymakers and want to give CSET the commitment necessary to recruit key people, so we provided a five-year grant."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Likely determined by the timing that the grantee plans to launch. More timing details are not discussed
Intended funding timeframe in months: 60

Other notes: Donee is entered as Center for Security and Emerging Technology rather than as Georgetown University for consistency with future grants directly to the organization once it is set up. Founding members of CSET include Dewey Murdick from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, William Hannas from the CIA, and Helen Toner from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant is discussed in the broader context of giving by the Open Philanthropy Project into global catastrophic risks and AI safety in the Inside Philanthropy article https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/3/22/why-this-effective-altruist-funder-is-giving-millions-to-ai-security. Announced: 2019-02-28.
Center for International Security and Cooperation1,625,000.00152019-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research-2019Claire Zabel Grant over three years to Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) to support Megan Palmer’s work on biosecurity. This research is focused on developing ways to improve governance of biological science and to reduce the risk of misuse of advanced biotechnology. This funding is intended to allow Dr. Palmer to continue and extend a study on the attitudes of participants in International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM), to better understand how institutional environments, safety practices or competition incentives might motivate young scientists and engineers. The grant is a renewal of the October 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research. Announced: 2019-02-12.
Sherlock Biosciences17,500,000.0032019-01Scientific research/Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnosticsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: The Open Philanthropy Project's scientific advisors Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs were hopeful about viral diagnostics after hearing of research coming out of Feng Zhang's lab (Zhang would later co-found Sherlock Biosciences). When they ran into David Walt, they asked him if his new company (Sherlock Biosciences) would be interested in developing a viral diagnostic, and after consulting with his team, he said they would. This started the process of vetting Sherlock Biosciences for the grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the development of a diagnostic platform to identify any virus present in a patient sample.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs have been interested in viral diagnostics because development of this technology could both reduce threats from viral pandemics and also benefit health care broadly. The selection of Sherlock Biosciences was because of their team and technology, which made it plausible that they could develop this technology

Other notes: The Open Philanthropy Project also recommended an additional investment in Sherlock Biosciences. Sherlock recently spun out of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The launch of Sherlock Biosciences, and the funding by the Open Philanthropy Project, are discussed in Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/elliekincaid/2019/03/21/with-launch-of-new-crispr-company-competition-extends-to-diagnostics/ More background explanation related to the grant is in the conversation blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/explaining-our-bet-sherlock-biosciences-innovations-viral-diagnostics. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2019-03-21.
University of Sydney32,621.00432018-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/university-of-sydney-global-health-security-conferenceClaire Zabel Grant of $45,000 AUD ($32,620.50 at the time of conversion) to the University of Sydney to support the 2019 Global Health Security Conference in Sydney, Australia. The funds are intended for general support of the conference, and to support travel bursaries to allow participants from low-income countries to attend a gathering of the global health security community, including academics, policymakers, and practitioners. Announced: 2019-01-17.
Nuclear Threat Initiative1,904,942.00132018-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-projects-to-reduce-global-catastrophic-biological-risksClaire Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support projects to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBRs). NTI intends to use these funds to support projects including, among others, strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention and reducing state biological threats and additional GCBRs through international dialogues." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-12-13.
International Genetically Engineered Medicine Foundation420,000.00282018-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security-2018Claire Zabel Grant over two years to the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation for its work on safety and security, led by Piers Millett. iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition for students. Donor believes that supporting iGEM’s safety and security work could help raise awareness about biosecurity among current and future synthetic biologists. Renewal of May 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security. Announced: 2019-01-31.
University of Oxford (Earmark: Andrew Snyder-Beattie)26,086.00442018-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/oxford-university-dphil-support-for-andrew-snyder-beattieClaire Zabel Gift of £20,000 ($26,086 at time of conversion) to the University of Oxford to support the research of the Mathematical Ecology Research Group and the research costs of Andrew Snyder-Beattie, who recently served as Director of Research at the Future of Humanity Institute and a member of FHI’s Biotechnology Research Team. Announced: 2018-10-30.
Nuclear Threat Initiative3,556,773.0072018-07Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grantJaime Yassif Donation process: It's likely that the donation process relied mostly on the legwork done during the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant as well as the followup on that grant.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to create a Global Health Security Index in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit. NTI plans to use these funds to support the development of an index of national-level biosecurity and pandemic preparedness capacity in at least 194 countries. The project is modeled on NTI’s analogous Nuclear Materials Security Index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons not listed, but likely same as for the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by completion of the planning work that the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (February 2017) had funded.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 24 Announced: 2018-07-11.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security169,600.00352018-06Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/upmc-center-health-security-synbiobeta-2018-meetingJaime Yassif Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: $127,600 to Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and $42,000 to SynBioBeta to support a biosecurity fellowship program and a biosecurity panel discussion at the 2018 SynBioBeta conference https://2018.synbiobeta.com/ on synthetic biology. Announced: 2018-07-26.
Early-Career Funding for Global Catastrophic Biological Risks570,000.00202018-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/early-career-funding-global-catastrophic-biological-risksClaire Zabel Total over three years in flexible support to enable five early-career people to pursue work and study related to global catastrophic biological risks. Original grant amount $515,000; $55,000 was added on top in October 2018. Announced: 2018-08-24.
Center for Global Development49,942.00392018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-for-global-development-pandemic-policy-project-jeremy-konyndykJaime Yassif Grant to support a project on "Policymaking during the Ebola Outbreak: Implications for Future Pandemics" led by Jeremy Konyndyk. Announced: 2018-03-08.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security44,627.00402018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2018Jaime Yassif Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to collect data about Libya’s pandemic preparedness capacity and also to establish a model process that can be applied in other countries in the region where it is difficult to obtain data due to political instability or ongoing conflict." Announced: 2018-03-14.
University of California, San Francisco500,000.00222018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/ucsf-research-antiviral-activity-hsp90-inhibitorsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support research led by Dr. Raul Andino to test the broad spectrum antiviral potential of several drugs. The grant will allow Dr. Andino to carry out tests of the effectiveness of two commercial-quality drugs against five different viruses. Original grant amount of $320,000 in February 2018, and an additional $180,000 added in June 2018 (grant page updated around 2018-06-29). Announced: 2018-03-24.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense2,588,162.00112018-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018Jaime Yassif Intended use of funds: Grantee advocates for improvements to U.S. biodefense policy through a variety of activities, including hosting public meetings, publishing reports, and conducting outreach to members of Congress and the executive branch.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Likely similar reason as for the 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support that it is renewing. An earlier renewal/top-up was done in January 2017.

Donor retrospective of the donation: The grant page https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/bipartisan-commission-on-biodefense-general-support for a February 2020 grant to the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense calls that grant a followup to this and previous grants to the Blue Ribbon Panel Study on Biodefense. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-02-16.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace613,380.00192017-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/carnegie-endowment-international-peace-chinese-indian-perspectives-biosecurityJaime Yassif Grant over three years to support a project to assess Chinese and Indian perspectives on biosecurity risks associated with advances in biotechnology. Announced: 2018-01-09.
American Society for Microbiology43,149.00412017-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/american-society-for-microbiology-biothreats-conference-2018Jaime Yassif Discretionary grant to support a keynote panel discussion and dinner on “Preparing for Biological Catastrophe” during the 2018 ASM Biothreats Meeting, see https://www.asm.org/index.php/biothreats-2018 for more. The dinner discussion will address global catastrophic biological risks as part of a broader conversation about past and potential future pandemics, and is expected to be attended by approximately 400 guests. Announced: 2018-02-15.
InterAcademy Partnership14,605.00472017-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/interacademy-partnership-bwc-meeting-state-partiesJaime Yassif Discretionary grant to support a side event at the December 2017 Biological Weapons Commission (BWC) Meeting of State Parties, and other related activities to support the BWC. Announced: 2017-12-01.
David Manheim65,308.00382017-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/david-manheim-research-existential-riskClaire Zabel Grant to perform a research and analysis project, "Eliciting Evaluations of Existential Risk from Infectious Disease.". Announced: 2018-01-30.
Nuclear Threat Initiative6,000,000.0052017-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-supportJaime Yassif Donation process: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Our_process says: "Jaime [grant investigator] had several meetings with [Elizabeth] Cameron [leader of program being funded] and Deborah Rosenblum, Executive Vice President of NTI. She also reviewed and commented on NTI’s proposed budget and project concept notes.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's new biosecurity program being led by Dr. Elizabeth Cameron, who recently joined NTI. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Proposed_activities says this includes "biosecurity work in China, developing international norms for dual use bioscience research, and a project to develop innovative ideas in the biosurveillance space. Additionally, some funding is reserved for new project ideas generated during the grant period."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The renewal grant for the same amount ($6,000,000) over the same length of funding timeframe (3 years) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the outcome of the grant. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-01-09.
Smithsonian Institution300,000.00302017-07Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/smithsonian-institution-outbreak-exhibitJaime Yassif Grant to support the Outbreak exhibit and related programming at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit is planned to open in 2018 and run for approximately three years; it may reach up to 8.5 million visitors during that time. Donor hopes this exhibit will help raise awareness of pandemics, in part by drawing public attention to the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic, which is the largest on record. Announced: 2017-12-01.
National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine452,545.00262017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/national-academy-sciences-international-meeting-governance-dual-use-researchJaime Yassif Grant to support an international meeting on governance of dual-use research in the life sciences organized by the National Academy of Sciences. Announced: 2017-06-14.
Genspace454,025.00252017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diy-bio-labs-projectJaime Yassif Grant to support an evaluation of biosafety and biosecurity in the DIYbio lab community, and a biosafety & biosecurity pilot program in three DIY bio labs, led by Daniel Grushkin and Todd Kuiken, Ph.D. See also the twin grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/north-carolina-state-university-diy-bio-labs-project to North Carolina State University. Announced: 2017-09-26.
North Carolina State University252,725.00322017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/north-carolina-state-university-diy-bio-labs-projectJaime Yassif Grant to support an evaluation of biosafety and biosecurity in the DIYbio lab community, and a biosafety & biosecurity pilot program in three DIY bio labs, led by Daniel Grushkin and Todd Kuiken, Ph.D. See also the twin grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diy-bio-labs-project to Genspace. Announced: 2017-09-26.
BioBricks Foundation152,950.00362017-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/biobricks-foundation-biosecurity-activities-sb70Jaime Yassif Grant to support biosecurity activities at the SB7.0 meeting. Announced: 2017-07-07.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security3,500,000.0082017-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-- Donation process: The grant page says: "To investigate this grant, we had several phone conversations with GHSS leadership and reviewed materials they shared, including project proposals, budgets, and information about the track record of core staff."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grantee plans to spend the majority of the grant funding on three main activities: (1) "Improving the capacity of the international community to respond to biological attacks." (2) "Researching international best practices for building laboratory capacity within national-level biosurveillance systems." (3) "Conducting a review and financial audit of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), an international effort that is organizing hundreds of millions of dollars in donor funding to build capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks." Also: "GHSS plans to use most of the remaining funds on one or more additional projects that will be chosen in consultation with the Open Philanthropy Project; some to research new project ideas; and a small amount to cover minor infrastructure improvements."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons for the grant include: (1) Main activities listed are in line with Open Phil priorities for biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. (2) "The co-leaders of GHSS, Rebecca Katz and Julie Fischer, are internationally recognized experts on the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations and global health security capacity building." (3) "This grant will free up GHSS staff time to do research on biosecurity and pandemic preparedness issues that are important to us" (by moving away from project-specific contracts with the United States government). (4) "Support for GHSS will help to build capacity for biosecurity and pandemic preparedness analysis and advocacy outside of government". (5) "Few other centers research similar topics".

Donor retrospective of the donation: Followup grants https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2018 (2018) and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 (2020) suggest that Open Phil would continue to have a positive impression of the grantee. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2017-03-24.
Nuclear Threat Initiative476,859.00242017-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant-- Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the first phase of the creation of the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a public report that will score countries on factors relevant to biosecurity and pandemic preparedness." NTI intends to partner with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (also an Open Phil grantee) and the Economist intelligence Unit. Planned activities include: (1) "Developing a draft framework for the Index based on information from literature reviews and expert interviews." (2) "Convening an international expert advisory group to refine the framework and generate a list of potential metrics and indicators." (3) "Determining the availability of data sets for each metric and indicator." (4) "Publishing a set of 20-30 metrics and indicators that can be used to measure global health security in an index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons listed for the grant include: (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: The grant page says: "The key open question for this grant is whether the proposed GHS Index can offer an improvement over the JEE in terms of how it measures capacity to prevent and respond to pandemics. An important related question is whether sufficient publicly available data exist to support an effective index. We recommended this planning grant to provide NTI, CHS and EIU with an opportunity to explore these questions by developing a preliminary set of categories for the Index and determining whether publicly available data exist in those categories."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grant to create the Global Health Security index (i.e., to go beyond the planning grant to actual implementation) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the results of the planning grant. Announced: 2017-03-07.
Genspace15,000.00452017-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diybio-and-fbi-meetingJaime Yassif Grant to support a meeting between the DIYbio community and the FBI. Announced: 2017-06-16.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security16,000,000.0042017-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophicJaime Yassif Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#Our_process "Jaime had several conversations with CHS leadership about high-level issues relevant to the grant, reviewed materials shared by CHS, and spoke to other experts in the field to get their perspectives on its work."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant to support CHS's work on biosecurity, global health security, and global catastrophic risks posed by pathogens. Over the course of the grant, CHS plans to devote about one-third of its total funding and staff time to GCR-related projects and two-thirds to general health security and public health preparedness work

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#The_organization the grantee organization has (1) Track record of research and policy development, (2) Track record of policy impact

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#Budget_and_room_for_more_funding "We do not have a detailed budget breakdown for the grant; it is mostly unrestricted and is designed to give CHS flexibility to pursue the projects it considers most important and to have the most impact." An approximate breakdown is given. Also: "Overall, we estimate that this grant will increase CHS’s annual budget from $5.3 million to approximately $8 million."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The September 2019 renewal https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-health-security-gcrs-2019 (3 years, for $19.5 million) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the results of the grant

Other notes: Largest grant made to date by Open Phil. Grant writeup includes lengthy discussion of grant. Open Phil had previously made a grant to the organization when it was housed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and known as the UPMC Center for Health Security. Using the grant money, the grantee would launch a bunch of projects related to Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBR); see http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/about-the-center/pressroom/press_releases/2017-07-27_global-catastrophic-biological-risk-definition.html (2017-07-27) for the associated press release. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2017-02-08.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense500,000.00222017-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2017-- Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant to enable it to continue its advocacy for biodefense policy improvements. Grant is a top-up to previous grant of 1300000 in 2016-08 described at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Likely similar reason as for the 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Likely because the earlier funds of $1.3 million granted in August 2016 are running out

Donor retrospective of the donation: The further grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018 suggests that the Open Philanthropy Project is happy with the results of the grant. Announced: 2017-02-27.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security2,744,000.0092016-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/upmc-center-health-security-emerging-leaders-biosecurity-initiativeJaime Yassif Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the continuation of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI). For the first five years of its program, ELBI was funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). The grant page says: "Our understanding is that, for reasons unrelated to the quality of the program, DoD is not planning to renew support for it this year, and that the possibility of future DoD funding for the program is uncertain."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Our highly positive impression of ELBI is based in part on the opinion of Jaime Yassif (our Program Officer for Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness), in part on our observation that the program has a strong reputation throughout the field, and in part on our favorable view of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which runs the program. Jaime is a 2012 alumna of ELBI."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Likely to be based on the cost of the program

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant page says: "Our understanding is that, for reasons unrelated to the quality of the program, DoD is not planning to renew support for it this year, and that the possibility of future DoD funding for the program is uncertain."
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36

Other notes: The recipient was housed at the time at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and called the UPMC Center for Health Security. The grant was made to fully support the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) for the next three years. The grant was based partly on the positive impression of the program by Jaime Yassif, program officer in the area who was an alumnus from 2012. Announced: 2016-10-12.
Center for International Security and Cooperation643,415.00182016-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research-- In support of research by Megan Palmer. Her policy research is focused on developing ways to improve the governance of biological science and technology. One of the projects she intends to focus on in the next few years is a study of past, current and future iGEM competitions to better understand how to motivate young scientists and engineers to take biosafety and biosecurity seriously and how to instill those values in a way that lasts throughout their careers. Announced: 2016-11-03.
Future of Humanity Institute115,652.00372016-09Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/future-humanity-institute-biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness-- Conceptually part of a larger grant to the recipient, whose primary work area is AI risk reduction. More details in writeup for larger grant at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/miscellaneous/future-humanity-institute-general-support. Announced: 2017-03-06.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense1,300,000.00162016-08Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-- Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Our_process "Jaime Yassif, our Program Officer for Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness, had three phone conversations with Study Panel staff, reviewed the Study Panel’s 2015 report, and evaluated the policy impact of the Study Panel’s phase-1 activities using materials provided by its staff."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant of $1,300,000 via Potomac Institute for Policy Studies to enable it to continue its efforts started with a $300,000 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant in April2015 through the end of 2017.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Case_for_the_grant (a) This grant hopefully influences the US government, which is the biggest biodefense policy spender. (b) The Study Panel's track record to date gives some confidence that the next phase of its work will be effective.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Budget "The Study Panel’s phase-1 work had a budget of $600,000. The budget for its second phase has grown due to an increase in project length and scaled-up efforts in this second phase."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by the completion of Phase 1, which cost $600,000 and was partly funded by the $300,000 grant by the Open Philanthropy Project
Intended funding timeframe in months: 16

Donor retrospective of the donation: The January 2017 top-up grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2017 suggests that the Open Philanthropy Project was happy with the progress of the grant, but wanted to top up the amount.

Other notes: Grant via Potomac Institute of Policy Studies. Announced: 2016-11-10.
International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation520,000.00212016-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security-- Grant for iGEM (the recipient) to grow staff devoted to safety and security and support a pilot workshop on safety and security. Detailed writeup available. Announced: 2016-05-24.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense300,000.00302015-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant-- Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Our_process "We learned about this funding opportunity from Bruce Altevogt, who at the time was a senior program officer at the Institute of Medicine. Our investigation process for this grant included speaking with Dr. Robert Kadlec and other Study Panel staff about the Study Panel’s proposed activities and strategy, speaking with other potential funders about their thoughts on this opportunity, and having Open Philanthropy Project Program Officer Howie Lempel attend three of the Study Panel’s panel sessions."

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Budget "The Study Panel’s total expected budget is about $570K. About 70% of its costs come from three major line items: (1) Honoraria (~$8-10K per person per event): $196K (2) Study Panel and administrative staff salaries: $102.5K (3) Funding for public relations firms to support outreach activities, a press conference launch event, and related publicity activities: $104K.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Case_for_this_grant (1) The grant has a reasonable chance of influencing US biosecurity policy. (2) There is too little philanthropic funding for biosecurity policy design. (3) This grant may help clarify Open Philanthropy Project's biosecurity and pandemics grantmaking strategy. (4) Open Phil has a positive impression of the grantee.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The total budget for the work that is being funded by the grant is $570K. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Room_for_more_funding explains how, in light of the funding already secured, $300K is enough to fully fund the work, and that is the amount the Open Philanthropy Project is funding

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by the current state of progress of the work and the funding situation

Donor retrospective of the donation: The grant page for the August 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support cites the success of this grant.

Other notes: The Panel convened four meetings and intended to release a report in October 2015 using this grant. The Open Philanthropy Project published a detailed writeup justifying the grant. Announced: 2015-10-27.

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