Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund donations made to Founders Pledge

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 FoundersPledge
Websitehttps://founderspledge.com/
Twitter usernamefounderspledge
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founders_Pledge
Open Philanthropy Project grant reviewhttp://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/founders-pledge-general-support
Key peopleDavid Goldberg
Launch date2015-06-10

Full donee page for donee Founders Pledge

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 3 110,000 173,313 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 393,939 393,939 393,939 393,939
Effective altruism 3 110,000 173,313 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 393,939 393,939 393,939 393,939

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) 3 519,939.00 110,000.00 409,939.00
Total 3 519,939.00 110,000.00 409,939.00

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 (3 donations)

Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 3)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
110,000.0022019-03-07Effective altruism/movement growthhttps://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 Founders Pledge 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 long-lasting positive effect on the culture of smart major philanthropy. Other than (5), all the other reasons are shared as stated with another simultaneous grant made to 80,000 Hours

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of grant round. Also relevant is the high room for more funding of the organization Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 100.00%.
16,000.0032018-11-29Effective altruism/movement growthhttps://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): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "This grant will support their 2019 plans to expand their US operations and further develop their methodology to evaluate and support high-impact interventions."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page lists 8 reasons: (1) Success at raising pledges; it has raised $630 million in pledges since 2013. (2) Moved $1.7 million to EA priority cause areas in the past 3 years. (3) Multipliers remain highly attractive after adjustments. (4) Founders Pledge engages with pledgers on how to best do good, and organizes events. This community-building work has additional unmeasured value. (5) Founders Pledge has been growing quickly and consistently: the value of new pledges in 2017 was double the value of pledges in 2015. (7) Founders Pledge has significant room for more funding due to international expansion plans for 2019. Recent growth in the United States has been responsible for about 30% of their total pledge value to date. (8) "We believe there is additional value in Founders Pledge expediting their international expansion, given potential competitive pressures and network effects."

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." Founders Pledge receives the second largest grant, and about 1/8 of the total grant money
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 12.40%

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by timing of the grant round

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup $110,000 grant https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1hVfcvrzRbpXUWYht4bu3b in the March 2019 grant round suggests that this grant would be considered a success
393,939.0012018-08-14Effective altruism/movement growthhttps://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 for its 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/founders-pledge-general-support and 2018 renewal https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/founders-pledge-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/founders-pledge-general-support-2018 for Beckstead's opinion of the donee. That page says: "We hope this funding will reduce Founders Pledge’s time spent on organizational fundraising so that it can spend more time securing pledges from entrepreneurs and helping them to donate thoughtfully and impactfully." It also links to the 2016 grant page https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/founders-pledge-general-support

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Beckstead writes on the grant page: "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."
Percentage of total donor spend in the corresponding batch of donations: 74.89%

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 Founders Pledge. In fact, Founders Pledge would receive grant money in both of the next two rounds. This suggests that the grant would be considered successful