Open Philanthropy donations made to Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

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, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donor information

Country United States
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)GiveWell Good Ventures
Best overview URL
Facebook username openphilanthropy
Donations URL
Twitter usernameopen_phil
PredictionBook usernameOpenPhilUnofficial
Page on philosophy informing donations
Grant application process page
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)

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 for the general grantmaking process and 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 for more. Note that the term "discretionary grant" means something different for them compared to government agencies, see 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 or 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 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 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 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 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 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 with donor Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities). Grants to support GiveWell operations are not included here; they can be found at with donor "Good Ventures/GiveWell support".The investment 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

Full donor page for donor Open Philanthropy

Basic donee information

Country United States
Donate page
Timelines wiki page
Org Watch page
Key peopleAndrew Critch|Gina Stuessy|Michael Keenan
Launch date2017-02
NotesLaunched to provide fast-moving support to existing existential risk organizations. Works closely with Machine Intelligence Research Institute, Center for Human-Compatible AI, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, and Future of Humanity Institute. People working at it are closely involved with MIRI and the Center for Applied Rationality

This entity is also a donor.

Full donee page for donee Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

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 3 403,890 452,963 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 403,890 403,890 403,890 705,000 705,000 705,000 705,000
AI safety 3 403,890 452,963 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 403,890 403,890 403,890 705,000 705,000 705,000 705,000

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 2017
AI safety (filter this donor) 3 1,358,890.00 955,000.00 403,890.00
Total 3 1,358,890.00 955,000.00 403,890.00

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)

Graph of all donations, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 3)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
705,000.0012019-11AI safety Dewey Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says the grant is "to support continued work with the Center for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI) at UC Berkeley. This includes one year of support for machine learning researchers hired by BERI, and two years of support for CHAI."

Other notes: Open Phil makes a grant to the Center for Human-Compatible AI at the same time (November 2019). Intended funding timeframe in months: 24; announced: 2019-12-13.
250,000.0032019-01AI safety Dewey Donation process: The Open Philanthropy Project described the donation decision as being based on "conversations with various professors and students"

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to temporarily or permanently hire machine learning research engineers dedicated to BERI’s collaboration with the Center for Human-compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI).

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Based on conversations with various professors and students, we believe CHAI could make more progress with more engineering support."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grant suggests that the donor would continue to stand behind the reasoning for the grant.

Other notes: Follows previous support for the launch of CHAI and previous grant to collaborate with CHAI. Announced: 2019-03-04.
403,890.0022017-07AI safety Dewey Donation process: BERI submitted a grant proposal at

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support work with the Center for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI) at UC Berkeley, to which the Open Philanthropy Project provided a two-year founding grant The funding is intended to help BERI hire contractors and part-time employees to help CHAI, such as web development and coordination support, research engineers, software developers, or research illustrators. This funding is also intended to help support BERI’s core staff. More in the grant proposal

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Our impression is that it is often difficult for academic institutions to flexibly spend funds on technical, administrative, and other support services. We currently see BERI as valuable insofar as it can provide CHAI with these types of services, and think it’s plausible that BERI will be able to provide similar help to other academic institutions in the future."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The grantee submitted a budget for the CHAI collaboration project at Announced: 2017-09-28.