Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund donations made to 80,000 Hours

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 Kingdom
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)Centre for Effective Altruism
Websitehttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community
Donations URLhttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/
Regularity with which donor updates donations datairregular
Regularity with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)irregular
Lag with which donor updates donations datamonths
Lag with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)days
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)

Brief history: This is one of four Effective Altruism Funds that are a program of the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). The creation of the funds was inspired by the success of the EA Giving Group donor-advised fund run by Nick Beckstead, and also by the donor lottery run in December 2016 by Paul Christiano and Carl Shulman (see https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/WvPEitTCM8ueYPeeH/donor-lotteries-demonstration-and-faq (GW, IR) for more). EA Funds were introduced on 2017-02-09 in the post https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/a8eng4PbME85vdoep/introducing-the-ea-funds (GW, IR) and launched on 2017-02-28 in the post http://effective-ahttps://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/iYoSAXhodpxJFwdQz/ea-funds-beta-launch The first round of allocations was announced on 2017-04-20 at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/MsaS8JKrR8nnxyPkK/update-on-effective-altruism-funds (GW, IR) The funds allocation information appears to have next been updated in November 2017; see https://www.facebook.com/groups/effective.altruists/permalink/1606722932717391/ for more. This particular fund was previously called the Community Fund; in October 2018, the blog post https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yYHKRgLk9ufjJZn23/announcing-new-ea-funds-management-teams (GW, IR) announced that it was renamed to the Meta Fund to more accurately reflect its use for funding activities (such as cause prioritization) that are "meta" but not necessarily tied to community-building

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: As the name suggests, the Fund's focus area is "meta" activities related to effective altruism. This includes some activities that directly and explicitly relate to effective altruism, as well as other activities that are related more broadly to promoting a culture of more and smarter philanthropy. It also covers cause prioritization and foundational research work. At inception, the Fund had Nick Beckstead of the Open Philanthropy Project its sole manager. Beckstead stepped down in August 2018, and October 2018, https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/yYHKRgLk9ufjJZn23/announcing-new-ea-funds-management-teams (GW, IR) announces a new management team for the Fund, comprising Luke Ding (chair), Denise Melchin, Matt Wage, Alex Foster, and Tara MacAulay as members, and Nick Beckstead as advisor

Notes on grant decision logistics: Money from the fund is supposed to be granted about thrice a year, with the target months being November, February, and June. Actual grant months may differ from the target months. The amount of money granted with each decision cycle depends on the amount of money available in the Fund as well as on the available donation opportunities. Grant applications can be submitted any time; any submitted applications will be considered prior to the next grant round (each grant round has a deadline by which applications must be submitted to be considered)

Notes on grant publication logistics: Grant details are published on the EA Funds website, and linked to from the Fund page. Each grant is accompanied by a brief description of the grantee's work (and hence, the intended use of funds) as well as reasons the grantee was considered impressive

Notes on grant financing: Money in the Meta Fund only includes funds explicitly donated for that Fund. In each grant round, the amount of money that can be allocated is limited by the balance available in the fund at that time

This entity is also a donee.

Full donor page for donor Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund

Basic donee information

ItemValue
Country United Kingdom
Facebook page 80000Hours
Websitehttps://80000hours.org/
Donate pagehttps://80000hours.org/support-us/donate/
Donors list pagehttps://80000hours.org/about/donors/
Transparency and financials pagehttps://80000hours.org/about/credibility/evaluations/
Donation case pagehttp://effective-altruism.com/ea/15d/why_donate_to_80000_hours/
Twitter username80000hours
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80%2C000_Hours
Key peopleWilliam MacAskill|Benjamin Todd|Robert Wiblin
Launch date2011-11

Full donee page for donee 80,000 Hours

Donor–donee relationship

Item Value

Donor–donee donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 4 75,818 122,705 45,000 45,000 45,000 75,818 75,818 75,818 170,000 170,000 200,000 200,000 200,000
Effective altruism 4 75,818 122,705 45,000 45,000 45,000 75,818 75,818 75,818 170,000 170,000 200,000 200,000 200,000

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 Total 2019 2018
Effective altruism (filter this donor) 4 490,818.00 370,000.00 120,818.00
Total 4 490,818.00 370,000.00 120,818.00

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

Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 4)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
200,000.0012019-08-23Effective altruism/movement growth/career counselinghttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/3pxoLG7aRWtETC1lECC6LKLuke Ding Alex Foster Denise Melchin Matt Wage Donation process: Part of the July 2019 EA Meta Fund grants round. The grant page says: "7 of the 9 grantees in this round applied through this process." However, it is not clear if 80,000 Hours submitted an application, it may well be one of the two grantees that did not. It also seems that 80,000 Hours is considered as a grantee in each grant round; it received grants in all three previous grant rounds

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: 80,000 Hours plans to hirre 5 full-time equivalents (FTE) over 2019 and anothe 5 over 2020. The additional funding gives them the budget needed to pay for these hires

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Donor believes 80,000 Hours is one of the highest impact-per-dollar meta organizations, for reasons similar to those explained in previous grant rounds https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/2dyBJqJBSIq6sAGU6gMYQW (November 2018) and https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3b (March 2019)

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount is similar to amounts granted in previous grant rounds; it is probably at the larger end of the amount the Meta Fund feels comfortable granting to a single organization in one grant round (the total amount granted in the grant round if $466,000, so this amount is around 43% of that total). Also, the amount ($200,000) fills half the funding shortfall of 80,000 Hours from the 2018 fundraiser (of $400,000)
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 42.90%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The EA Meta Fund team is excited to see 80,000 Hours expand headcount and operations. Currently, the expansion is bottlenecked on money: "Right now, they cannot fully commit to hiring in 2020 as their expansion budget has not been filled. Ideally, they would already be searching for those hires, so they are being somewhat slowed down by their lack of funding."
170,000.0022019-03-07Effective altruism/movement growth/career counselinghttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3bLuke Ding Alex Foster Denise Melchin Matt Wage Tara MacAulay Donation process: This is part of the March 2019 grant round from the EA Meta Fund, comprising "a mixture of larger grants to more established meta groups and smaller grants to fund both younger organizations and specific projects." The grant to 80,000 Hours is among the "larger grants to more established meta groups"

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons for grant: (1) High impact per dollar, (2) Highly impactful and cost-effective in the past, for same reasons as discussed in https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/2dyBJqJBSIq6sAGU6gMYQW (previous grant), (3) Undergoing significant growth, (4) Not yet filled funding gap, (5) Big potential upside is reducing talent bottlenecks in cause areas that are crucial and highly technically challenging. Other than (5), all the other reasons are shared as stated with another simultaneous grant made to Founders Pledge

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing largely determined by timing of the grant round. Also, it is relevant that 80,000 Hours has not yet filled its funding gap

Donor retrospective of the donation: The following $200,000 grant in the July 2019 grant round https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/3pxoLG7aRWtETC1lECC6LK suggests that this grant would be considered a success Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%.
45,000.0042018-11-29Effective altruism/movement growth/career counselinghttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/2dyBJqJBSIq6sAGU6gMYQWLuke Ding Alex Foster Denise Melchin Matt Wage Tara MacAulay Donation process: Part of the November 2018 grant round from the EA Meta Fund. This is among the "larger grants" of the "mixture of larger grants to more established meta groups and smaller grants to younger organizations" that comprise the grant round. The grant page says: "We see this as our pilot round and hope this set of grants will signal the type of organizations to which the EA Meta Fund plans to donate."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Although the funding is unrestricted, the grant page says: "At the margin, this grant is expected to contribute towards the budget for their expanded team." It also says: "We think it’s likely that the Open Philanthropy Project will renew their funding of 80,000 Hours this year (although this isn’t confirmed), but their grant will be capped at 50-66% of the total amount raised. Because of this, there is a gap for other donors to fill, who will effectively receive 1:1 or 1:2 matching funding."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page lists 10 reasons: (1) Grantee has been impressive over the years. (2) Rapid growth of grantee since 2014. (3) Much larger budget for 2019 to support team expansion in 2019 and 2020. (4) Important work (supporting skilled people to pursue high-impact careers). (5) Carefully measured KPI to track their impact: impact-adjusted significant plan changes (IASPCs). (6) New focus on the highset priority career paths. (7) Excellent regular supporter updates (12 so far in 2018). (8) Great explanatory and advisory content that is helping people discover effective altruism. (9) Success at hiring and building a management team in 2018. (10) Marginal grants will go toward a new hire, which is particularly high-impact.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The total of $129,000 being distributed in this grant round from the EA Meta Fund is being distributed using a "mixture of larger grants to more established meta groups and smaller grants to younger organizations. For the more established groups, we believe there is strong evidence of their past impact and cost-effectiveness, room for more funding, and high probability that they will have an even greater positive impact in the future." 80,000 Hours receives the single largest grant, and a little over 1/3 of the total money
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 34.88%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of the grant round. Also, the timing is particularly good for 80,000 Hours because of the historically large fundraising round 80,000 Hours has for 2019

Donor retrospective of the donation: Further grants in the next two grant rounds https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3b and https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/3pxoLG7aRWtETC1lECC6LK suggest that this grant would be considered a success
75,818.0032018-08-14Effective altruism/movement growth/career counselinghttps://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/6M8SQFdecEm0WuAYweO2UQNick Beckstead Donation process: The grant from the EA Meta Fund is part of a final set of grant decisions being made by Nick Beckstead (granting $526,000 from the EA Meta Fund and $917,000 from the EA Long Term Future Fund) as he transitions out of managing both funds. Due to time constraints, Beckstead primarily relies on investigation of the organization done by the Open Philanthropy Project when making its 2017 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/80000-hours-general-support and 2018 renewal https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/80000-hours-general-support-2018

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Beckstead writes "I recommended these grants with the suggestion that these grantees look for ways to use funding to trade money for saving the time or increasing the productivity of their employees (e.g. subsidizing electronics upgrades or childcare), due to a sense that (i) their work is otherwise much less funding constrained than it used to be, and (ii) spending like this would better reflect the value of staff time and increase staff satisfaction. However, I also told them that I was open to them using these funds to accomplish this objective indirectly (e.g. through salary increases) or using the funds for another purpose if that seemed better to them."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page references https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/80000-hours-general-support-2018 for Beckstead's opinion of the donee. This grant page is short, and in turn links to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/80000-hours-general-support which has a detailed Case for the grant section https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/80000-hours-general-support#Case_for_the_grant that praises 80,000 Hours' track record in terms of impact-adjusted significant plan changes (IASPCs)

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Beckstead is also recommending funding from the EA Long Term Future Fund of $91,450 for 80,000 Hours. The grant page says "The amounts I’m granting out to different organizations are roughly proportional to the number of staff they have, with some skew towards MIRI that reflects greater EA Funds donor interest in the Long-Term Future Fund." Also: "I think a number of these organizations could qualify for the criteria of either the Long-Term Future Fund or the EA Community Fund because of their dual focus on EA and longtermism, which is part of the reason that 80,000 Hours is receiving a grant from each fund."
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 14.41%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by the timing of this round of grants, which is in turn determined by the need for Beckstead to grant out the money before handing over management of the fund

Donor retrospective of the donation: Even after the fund management being moved to a new team, the EA Meta Fund would continue making grants to 80,000 Hours. In fact, 80,000 Hours would receive grant money in each of the three subsequent grant rounds. This suggests that the grant would be considered successful