Open Philanthropy Project donations made to Nuclear Threat 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 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)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?organization=Open+Philanthropy+Project

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 Project

Basic donee information

ItemValue
Country
Facebook page nti.org
Websitehttp://www.nti.org/
Twitter usernameNTI_WMD
Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Threat_Initiative

Full donee page for donee Nuclear Threat 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 5 3,556,773 3,587,715 476,859 476,859 476,859 1,904,942 1,904,942 3,556,773 3,556,773 6,000,000 6,000,000 6,000,000 6,000,000
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 5 3,556,773 3,587,715 476,859 476,859 476,859 1,904,942 1,904,942 3,556,773 3,556,773 6,000,000 6,000,000 6,000,000 6,000,000

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
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (filter this donor) 5 17,938,574.00 6,000,000.00 5,461,715.00 6,476,859.00
Total 5 17,938,574.00 6,000,000.00 5,461,715.00 6,476,859.00

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 (5 donations)

Amount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 5)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
6,000,000.0012020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's biosecurity program. This includes "work to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, enhance biosecurity, and advance pandemic preparedness."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: No reasons stated, but reasons likely similar to the previous three-year $6 million support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the previous grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Both the amount and duration of the funding timeframe ($6 million over 3 years) are identical to the previous grant to support the program, made October 2017.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by the three-year window of the previous grant coming to an end. However, the grant is made a little before the end of the three-year window.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36 Announced: 2020-04-10.
1,904,942.0042018-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-projects-to-reduce-global-catastrophic-biological-risksClaire Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support projects to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBRs). NTI intends to use these funds to support projects including, among others, strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention and reducing state biological threats and additional GCBRs through international dialogues." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-12-13.
3,556,773.0032018-07Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grantJaime Yassif Donation process: It's likely that the donation process relied mostly on the legwork done during the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant as well as the followup on that grant.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to create a Global Health Security Index in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit. NTI plans to use these funds to support the development of an index of national-level biosecurity and pandemic preparedness capacity in at least 194 countries. The project is modeled on NTI’s analogous Nuclear Materials Security Index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons not listed, but likely same as for the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by completion of the planning work that the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (February 2017) had funded.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 24 Announced: 2018-07-11.
6,000,000.0012017-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-supportJaime Yassif Donation process: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Our_process says: "Jaime [grant investigator] had several meetings with [Elizabeth] Cameron [leader of program being funded] and Deborah Rosenblum, Executive Vice President of NTI. She also reviewed and commented on NTI’s proposed budget and project concept notes.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's new biosecurity program being led by Dr. Elizabeth Cameron, who recently joined NTI. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Proposed_activities says this includes "biosecurity work in China, developing international norms for dual use bioscience research, and a project to develop innovative ideas in the biosurveillance space. Additionally, some funding is reserved for new project ideas generated during the grant period."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The renewal grant for the same amount ($6,000,000) over the same length of funding timeframe (3 years) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the outcome of the grant. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-01-09.
476,859.0052017-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant-- Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the first phase of the creation of the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a public report that will score countries on factors relevant to biosecurity and pandemic preparedness." NTI intends to partner with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (also an Open Phil grantee) and the Economist intelligence Unit. Planned activities include: (1) "Developing a draft framework for the Index based on information from literature reviews and expert interviews." (2) "Convening an international expert advisory group to refine the framework and generate a list of potential metrics and indicators." (3) "Determining the availability of data sets for each metric and indicator." (4) "Publishing a set of 20-30 metrics and indicators that can be used to measure global health security in an index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons listed for the grant include: (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: The grant page says: "The key open question for this grant is whether the proposed GHS Index can offer an improvement over the JEE in terms of how it measures capacity to prevent and respond to pandemics. An important related question is whether sufficient publicly available data exist to support an effective index. We recommended this planning grant to provide NTI, CHS and EIU with an opportunity to explore these questions by developing a preliminary set of categories for the Index and determining whether publicly available data exist in those categories."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grant to create the Global Health Security index (i.e., to go beyond the planning grant to actual implementation) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the results of the planning grant. Announced: 2017-03-07.