Open Philanthropy donations made to Ought

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
Websitehttps://ought.org
Donors list pagehttps://ought.org/about
Open Philanthropy Project grant reviewhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?organization=Ought
Key peopleAndreas Stuhlmüller

Full donee page for donee Ought

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 1,000,000 1,039,444 525,000 525,000 525,000 525,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,593,333 1,593,333 1,593,333 1,593,333
AI safety 3 1,000,000 1,039,444 525,000 525,000 525,000 525,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,593,333 1,593,333 1,593,333 1,593,333

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 2019 2018
AI safety (filter this donor) 3 3,118,333.00 1,593,333.00 1,000,000.00 525,000.00
Total 3 3,118,333.00 1,593,333.00 1,000,000.00 525,000.00

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 (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
1,593,333.0012020-01AI safetyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support-2020Committee for Effective Altruism Support Donation process: The grant was recommended by the Committee for Effective Altruism Support following its process https://www.openphilanthropy.org/committee-effective-altruism-support

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "Ought conducts research on factored cognition, which we consider relevant to AI alignment and to reducing potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says "we see the basic pros and cons of this support similarly to what we’ve presented in past writeups on the matter"

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount is decided by the Committee for Effective Altruism Support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/committee-effective-altruism-support but individual votes and reasoning are not public. Three other grants decided by CEAS at around the same time are: Machine Intelligence Research Institute ($7,703,750), Centre for Effective Altruism ($4,146,795), and 80,000 Hours ($3,457,284)

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Reasons for timing are not discussed, but this is likely the time when the Committee for Effective Altruism Support does its 2020 allocation

Other notes: Announced: 2020-02-14.
1,000,000.0022019-11AI safetyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support-2019Daniel Dewey Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "Ought conducts research on factored condition, which we consider relevant to AI alignment."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support-2020 made on the recommendation of the Committee for Effective Altruism Support suggest that Open Phil would continue to have a high opinion of the work of Ought

Other notes: Intended funding timeframe in months: 24; announced: 2020-02-14.
525,000.0032018-05AI safetyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-supportDaniel Dewey Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support#Proposed_activities "Ought will conduct research on deliberation and amplification, aiming to organize the cognitive work of ML algorithms and humans so that the combined system remains aligned with human interests even as algorithms take on a much more significant role than they do today." It also links to https://ought.org/approach Also, https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support#Budget says: "Ought intends to use it for hiring and supporting up to four additional employees between now and 2020. The hires will likely include a web developer, a research engineer, an operations manager, and another researcher."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The case for the grant includes: (a) Open Phil considers research on deliberation and amplification important for AI safety, (b) Paul Christiano is excited by Ought's approach, and Open Phil trusts his judgment, (c) Ought’s plan appears flexible and we think Andreas is ready to notice and respond to any problems by adjusting his plans, (d) Open Phil has indications that Ought is well-run and has a reasonable chance of success.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): No explicit reason for the amount is given, but the grant is combined with another grant from Open Philanthropy Project technical advisor Paul Christiano

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support#Key_questions_for_follow-up lists some questions for followup

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grants https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support-2019 and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/ought-general-support-2020 suggest that Open Phil would continue to have a high opinion of Ought

Other notes: Intended funding timeframe in months: 36; announced: 2018-05-30.