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Fluttershy comments on Introducing the EA Funds - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Fluttershy 09 February 2017 03:34:36AM *  9 points [-]

It’s not a coincidence that all the fund managers work for GiveWell or Open Philanthropy.

Second, they have the best information available about what grants Open Philanthropy are planning to make, so have a good understanding of where the remaining funding gaps are, in case they feel they can use the money in the EA Fund to fill a gap that they feel is important, but isn’t currently addressed by Open Philanthropy.

It makes some sense that there could be gaps which Open Phil isn't able to fill, even if Open Phil thinks they're no less effective than the opportunities they're funding instead. Was that what was meant here, or am I missing something? If not, I wonder what such a funding gap for a cost-effective opportunity might look like (an example would help)?

There's a part of me that keeps insisting that it's counter-intuitive that Open Phil is having trouble making as many grants as it would like, while also employing people who will manage an EA fund. I'd naively think that there would be at least some sort of tradeoff between producing new suggestions for things the EA fund might fund, and new things that Open Phil might fund. I suspect you're already thinking closely about this, and I would be happy to hear everyone's thoughts.

Edit: I'd meant to express general confidence in those who had been selected as fund managers. Also, I have strong positive feelings about epistemic humility in general, which also seems highly relevant to this project.

Comment author: ozymandias 09 February 2017 02:48:50PM 4 points [-]

IIRC, Open Phil often wants to not be a charity's only funder, which means they leave the charity with a funding gap that could maybe be filled by the EA Fund.

Comment author: BenHoffman 12 February 2017 08:43:14AM 8 points [-]

Seems a little odd to solve that problem by setting up an "independent" funding source also controlled by Open Phil staff, though of course as mentioned elsewhere that may change later.

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 09 February 2017 09:22:26PM *  1 point [-]

Thanks for the feedback!

Two thoughts: 1) I don't think the long-term goal is that OpenPhil program officers are the only fund managers. Working with them was the best way to get an MVP version in place. In the long-run, we want to use the funds to offer worldview diversification and to expand the funding horizons of the EA community.

2)

There's a part of me that keeps insisting that it's counter-intuitive that Open Phil is having trouble making as many grants as it would like, while also employing people who will manage an EA fund.

I think I agree with you. However, since the OpenPhil program officers know what OpenPhil is funding it means that the funds should provide options that are at least as good as OpenPhil's funding. (See Carl Shulman's post on the subject.) The hope is that the "at least as good as OpenPhil" bar is higher than most donors can reach now, so the fund is among the most effective options for individual donors.

Let me know if that didn't answer the question.

Comment author: Larks 09 February 2017 11:18:08PM *  3 points [-]

However, since the OpenPhil program officers know what OpenPhil is funding it means that the funds should provide options that are at least as good as OpenPhil's funding. (See Carl Shulman's post on the subject.) The hope is that the "at least as good as OpenPhil" bar is higher than most donors can reach now, so the fund is among the most effective options for individual donors.

The article you link (quote below) suggests the opposite should be true - individual donors should be able to do at least better than OpenPhil.

Risk-neutral small donors should aim to make better charitable bets at the margin than giga-donors like the Open Philanthropy Project (Open Phil) and Good Ventures using donor lotteries, and can do at least as well as giga-donors by letting themselves be funged

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 10 February 2017 10:54:34PM 1 point [-]

The article you link (quote below) suggests the opposite should be true - individual donors should be able to do at least better than OpenPhil

We're making it easier for individual donors to at least be funged since our fund managers will have better information than most individual donors.