Open Philanthropy donations made to Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

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)

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

Full donor page for donor Open Philanthropy

Basic donee information

ItemValue
Country United States
Facebook page biodefensestudy
Websitehttp://www.biodefensestudy.org
Donors list pagehttp://www.biodefensestudy.org/sponsors
Donation case pagehttp://www.biodefensestudy.org/impact
Twitter usernameBiodefenseStudy
Wikipedia pagehttps//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Ribbon_Study_Panel_on_Biodefense
Open Philanthropy Project grant reviewhttp://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support
Key peopleJohn Brennan
Launch date2014-12-04

Full donee page for donee Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

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 4 500,000 1,172,041 300,000 300,000 300,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 1,300,000 1,300,000 2,588,162 2,588,162 2,588,162
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 4 500,000 1,172,041 300,000 300,000 300,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 1,300,000 1,300,000 2,588,162 2,588,162 2,588,162

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 2018 2017 2016 2015
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (filter this donor) 4 4,688,162.00 2,588,162.00 500,000.00 1,300,000.00 300,000.00
Total 4 4,688,162.00 2,588,162.00 500,000.00 1,300,000.00 300,000.00

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

Graph of all donations, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 4)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
2,588,162.0012018-01Biosecurity 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: 24; announced: 2018-02-16.
500,000.0032017-01Biosecurity 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.
1,300,000.0022016-08Biosecurity 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.
300,000.0042015-04Biosecurity 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.