Open Philanthropy donations made to Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research

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: Open Philanthropy (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 as the "Open Philanthropy Project" in June 2017. In 2020, it started going by "Open Philanthropy" dropping the "Project" word.

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 FoundationFAR
Websitehttps://foundationfar.org/
Donate pagehttps://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E330739&id=4
Twitter usernameFoundationFAR
Open Philanthropy Project grant reviewhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-research
Launch date2014-07-15

Full donee page for donee Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research

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 1,236,000 444,000 444,000 444,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000
Animal welfare 4 500,000 1,236,000 444,000 444,000 444,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000

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 Total 2020 2018 2017
Animal welfare (filter this donor) 4 4,944,000.00 944,000.00 3,000,000.00 1,000,000.00
Total 4 4,944,000.00 944,000.00 3,000,000.00 1,000,000.00

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

Graph of spending should have loaded here

Graph of spending by cause area and year (cumulative)

Graph of spending should have loaded here

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
444,000.0042020-06Animal welfare/meat alternatives/plant-based meathttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-chickpea-and-corn-zein-researchChris Somerville Lewis Bollard Donation process: The grant funds proposals received in response to the request for proposals from FFAR co-funded by an April 2020 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-research-2020 from Open Phil. Also worth noting: one of the grant investigators (Chris Somerville) is one of Open Phil's scientific advisors and he does not usually investigate animal welfare grants. Moreover, one portion of the grant is matched with a grant from the scientific researcch program.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support protein optimization in chickpeas, led by NuCicer, and research into improving corn zein’s functionality for plant-based meat, led by Professor Bruce Hamaker of Purdue University." The chickpea portion of this research represents a match of a similar grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/foundation-for-food-and-agriculture-research-plant-protein-optimization-research from the scientific research program.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount is likely determined by the specifics of the proposals submitted.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant funds proposals submitted in response to a request for proposals co-funded two months ago. The timing of the grant is likely determined by the timing of the original request for proposals.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36
500,000.0032020-04Animal welfare/meat alternatives/plant-based meathttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-research-2020Lewis Bollard Donation process: Nothing specific is stated on the grant page, but the outcommes of two past similar grants https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-research was made in April 2017 and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-egg-tech-challenge in December 2018 likely informed this grant.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to "co-fund a request for proposals for research on optimizing plant protein for use in plant-based meat. The resulting research could eventually improve the quality and lower the costs of plant-based meat."

Donor retrospective of the donation: A grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-chickpea-and-corn-zein-research made two months later (for proposals submitted as a result of this request for proposals) suggests continued endorsement by Open Phil of the reasoning behind the grant.
3,000,000.0012018-12Animal welfare/factory farming/chicken/chick cullinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-egg-tech-challengeLewis Bollard Donation process: Nothing specific is stated on the grant page, but a similar grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-research was made in April 2017 so the progress with that grant likely informed this grant.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support research into, and a prize for, developing a technology that can sex select male chicks at scale in ovo, eliminating the need for chick culling. This funding includes approximately $2,000,000 for FFAR to support research teams to compete for the prize, and approximately $1,000,000 for the prize itself, which will be awarded only if certain conditions are met."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Lewis Bollard, our Program Officer for Farm Animal Welfare, believes this technology will end the acute suffering at death of ~6.5 billion chicks per year and will spare ~29 million hens per year from factory farming entirely because the aborted eggs will replace their output in the market."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The grant page gives this breakdown of funding: "This funding includes approximately $2,000,000 for FFAR to support research teams to compete for the prize, and approximately $1,000,000 for the prize itself, which will be awarded only if certain conditions are met."

Donor retrospective of the donation: Followup grants in 2020 suggest continued satisfaction from Open Philanthropy in the grantee and the reasoning informing the grant.

Other notes: Announced: 2019-03-20.
1,000,000.0022017-04Animal welfare/factory farming/chicken and pighttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/foundation-food-and-agriculture-research-farm-animal-welfare-researchLewis Bollard Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to co-fund requests for applications (RFAs) for research on solutions to what we see as two major problems in farm animal welfare: bone fractures in cage-free hens and the painful castration of male piglets. It is our impression that both of these problems are scientifically tractable. FFAR plans to use this grant and at least $1 million of its own funding to fund scientific projects focused on solving these problems." The request for applications https://www.openphilanthropy.org/files/Grants/FFAR/FFAR_Accelerating_Advances_in_Animal_Welfare_Final.pdf is linked.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "We are excited about this grant because a) we believe that it is an efficient way to fund research on farm animal welfare, since FFAR is co-funding the research and plans to handle the logistics of the RFAs and distribute the results of its research among industry, b) it is an opportunity for us to learn about co-funding with a Congressionally created and funded 501(c)(3) organization, which we believe could be a useful avenue for funding research to solve other problems in farm animal welfare, and c) it may increase FFAR’s interest in co-funding other animal welfare projects."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount seems to be chosen to target a 1:1 match with what FFAR was willing to fund with other funds.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Further grants from Open Phil to FFAR for similar purposes suggest continued endorsement of the thinking behind the grant.

Other notes: Announced: 2017-05-11.