Where Some People Donated in 2017

post by MichaelDickens · 2018-02-11T21:55:09.730Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · EA · GW · Legacy · 4 comments


    Michael Dickens
    Zach Groff
  Ben Henry
  Peter Hurford
  Jason Ketola
    Jeff Kaufman and Julia Wise
  Ben Kuhn
  Animal Charity Evaluators staff members
  GiveWell staff members
  Open Philanthropy Project staff members

Edited 2018-02-14 to include myself.

Edited soon after publication to include ACE staff members’ donations. Thanks to the Facebook commenter who pointed me to them.

This is a collection of writings on where people are donating. It only includes writings that I am aware exist (obviously) and that are written by effectiveness-minded people.

My descriptions are paraphrased from the linked writings as much as possible. The writing in this post includes combinations of my own and the linked writers’ words. My summaries often do not do the original writers justice, so I recommend reading all of the linked articles if you are interested.

Michael Dickens

In 2017 I donated to the Good Food Institute because I believed it presented a particularly good opportunity for reducing animal suffering and antispeciesism in expectation. (Original writeup says I donated in 2016 but I actually donated in early 2017.)

Zach Groff

Zach is donating to Wild-Animal Suffering Research (WASR) because he believes that: (1) animals in the wild suffer terror and pain on a massive scale, and virtually nobody even considers trying to address this problem; (2) he has been thoroughly impressed with his personal interactions with WASR staff as well as their output to date.

Ben Henry

Ben reviewed the research produced by a bunch of AI safety organizations. He rot13’d his donation decision to allow readers to come to their own conclusions; below is his own rot13’d description.

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Peter Hurford

Peter used three main criteria:

  1. Have a clear “room for more funding”
  2. Have a clear risk of not meeting their funding goal
  3. Clear a bar of being “impactful enough” for the EA community to be worth funding

He selected four organizations that he believed met these criteria: (1) Charity Science Health, (2) Rethink Charity, (3) Wild-Animal Suffering Research, and (4) Sentience Institute.

Jason Ketola

Jason donated primarily to New Harvest because he believes he believes their efforts will support the development of animal product alternatives and thus reduce animal suffering. He also considered donations to Good Food Institute, Plant Based Foods Association, Wild Animal Suffering Research, and Animal Ethics. He believes that New Harvest has a strong track record and substantial room for more funding – “New Harvest seems especially well poised to [improve animal product alternatives] with marginal donations”.

(Note: Jason frequently refers to “we” in his article, but I don’t know who the other person is.)

Jeff Kaufman and Julia Wise

Ben Kuhn

Ben saved 80% to donate later because he believes most top candidate organizations are not particularly cash constrained right now, but he wanted to make a large donation in 2017 due to the recent tax bill.


Zvi donated to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. He believes AI safety is “the most important, urgent and under-funded cause.” His private information and personal experience point to MIRI being a capable organization. Zvi was particularly impressed by MIRI’s paper on Functional Decision Theory.

His post explains (i) why he believes AI safety matters, (ii) his analysis of MIRI’s organizational quality, (iii) his analysis of MIRI’s research, and (iv) general comments on donation.

Animal Charity Evaluators staff members

John Bockman:

Allison Smith split her donation evenly between Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund.

Toni Adleberg donated or directed donations to GFI, Against Malaria Foundation, and Encompass, plus some small donations elsewhere.

Sofia Davis-Fogel donated to:

Kieran Greig planned on donating to ACE because he believes donations to ACE have a higher expected value than donations to ACE top charities. He was interested in funding some other projects but was unaware of any highly promising donation targets for them:

Jamie Spurgeon cycled through supporting various causes throughout the year, including ACE and GiveWell top charities. Later in the year he became increasingly confident that animal advocacy was particularly neglected; at the end of the year he gave all his donations to the ACE Recommended Charity Fund.

Erika Alonso donated to:

Eric Herboso donated to:

He made some additional donations for fuzzies, not utilons, including gifts intended to encompass the virtue of generosity.

Gina Stuessy donated primarily to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund. She also donated to the Centre for Effective Altruism, Sentience Institute, and Wild-Animal Suffering Research.

GiveWell staff members

Josh Rosenberg:

Sophie Monahan is donating to No Lean Season, a GiveWell top-rated charity.

Catherine Hollander:

Isabel Arjmand:

James Snowden (research consultant):

The following staff members are donating to GiveWell for regranting to GiveWell’s top charities:

Open Philanthropy Project staff members

Note: Two of the people listed said that they were not donating anything this year, so I have excluded them.

Alexander Berger:

Nick Beckstead is giving money to his personal donor-advised fund, which he will re-grant in broadly similar ways to how he makes grants with the EA Community Fund and EA Long-Term Future Fund.

Helen Toner:

Lewis Bollard is donating his personal money to further support the animal welfare organizations that he has made grants to through Open Philanthropy.

Ajeya Cotra is participating in a donor lottery. If she wins, she will probably donate the money toward the same early stage organization mentioned by Helen Toner.

Morgan Davis is giving to the Effective Altruism Funds:

Mike Levine:


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by RyanCarey · 2018-02-13T09:44:10.327Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I donated to MIRI and GCRI.

Also, the link to Zvi's writeup seems to be missing?

comment by MichaelDickens · 2018-02-15T03:14:23.130Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't know, the link to Zvi's writeup works for me. But here is the URL: https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/i-vouch-for-miri/

comment by Denkenberger · 2018-02-15T00:30:24.782Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I again donated half my income to the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED).

comment by Milan_Griffes · 2018-02-13T15:18:38.986Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I donated 92% to the donor lottery, 8% to GiveDirectly.

Also made a "fuzzies" donation to the meditation group I attend.