Larks comments on Introducing the EA Funds - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Larks 11 February 2017 12:44:02AM 3 points [-]

It seems strange to have the funds run by people who also direct money from on behalf of big grant-making organizations. Under what circumstances will the money end up going somewhere different? I can see the motivation for having EA funds if they were managed by someone independent - say Carl or Paul - but the current incarnation seems to be basically equivalent to just giving GiveWell or OPP money with a cause-based restriction.

Comment author: RobBensinger 11 February 2017 02:50:57AM *  7 points [-]

A lot of people have been asking for a way to donate to (/ be funged by) OPP, so if this only enables people to do that, I'd still expect it to be quite popular. Some relevant reasons OPP staff gave in their donor suggestions for wanting more money to go to charities than OPP was willing and able to provide:

  • [re Cosecha and ASJ] "Given the amount we’re aiming to allocate to criminal justice reform as a whole, my portfolio has too many competing demands for us to offer more." [I don't know how much this is a factor for the four areas above.]

  • "I see value to ACE having a broad support base to (a) signal to groups that donors care about its recommendations, (b) raise its profile, and attract more donors, and (c) allow it to invest in longer-term development, e.g. higher salaries (i.e. without fear of expanding with a fragile support base)".

  • [re CIWF] "we’re limited in our ability to provide all of them by the public support test and a desire to avoid being the overwhelming funder of any group".

  • [re MIRI] "the ultimate size of our grant was fairly arbitrary and put high weight on accurate signaling about our views". [Note I work at MIRI, though I'm just citing them as an example here.]

  • "we would not want to be more than 50% of 80,000 Hours’ funding in any case (for coordination/dependence reasons)."

  • [re 80K] "my enthusiasm for supporting specific grants to support the effective altruism community has been higher than other decision-makers’ at Open Phil, and we’ve given less than I’ve been inclined to recommend in some other cases."

  • [in general] "There’s an internal debate about how conservative vs. aggressive to be on grants supporting organizations like these with, I think, legitimate arguments on both sides. I tend to favor larger grants to organizations in these categories than other decision-makers at Open Phil."

The slowness of OPP's grant process might also be an advantage for non-OPP funders. (E.g., ACE, FHI, CEA, 80K, and the Ploughshares Fund were informally promoted by OPP staff to third parties before OPP had reached the end of its own organizational decision process.)

The EA Funds strike me as unlikely to capture all the advantages of donor diversification, but they capture some of them.

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 11 February 2017 07:50:04PM 1 point [-]

Agree with all of this (including the argument that we're not yet capturing full diversification value.