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Peter_Hurford comments on Update on Effective Altruism Funds - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 20 April 2017 10:47:50PM 8 points [-]

First, thanks very much for this valuable transparency!

I notice the movement building fund hasn't donated any money yet. I'm curious what the process for making grants from this fund will be?

Specifically, what steps is CEA and Nick (a trustee of CEA) going to take to recuse themselves from discussions in the movement building fund? Will CEA apply for money through the fund? Would there be any possibility of inappropriate pro-CEA bias if someone else applied for the fund wanting to do something similar to what CEA is doing or wants to do?

Comment author: Kerry_Vaughan 21 April 2017 05:53:45PM 9 points [-]

Specifically, what steps is CEA and Nick (a trustee of CEA) going to take to recuse themselves from discussions in the movement building fund?

The current process is that fund managers send grant recommendations to me and Tara and we execute them. Fund managers don't discuss their grant recommendations with us ahead of time and we don't have any influence over what they recommend.

From a legal standpoint, money donated to EA Funds has been donated to CEA. This means that we need board approval for each grant the fund managers recommend. The only cases I see at the moment where we might fail to approve a grant would be cases where a) the grant violates the stated goals of the fund or b) where the grant would not be consistent with CEA's broad charitable mission. I expect both of these cases to be unlikely to occur.

Will CEA apply for money through the fund?

At the moment there isn't really an application process. Any formal system for requesting grants would be set up by Nick without CEA's input or assistance.

That said, CEA is a potential recipient of money donated to the EA Community fund. If we believe that we can make effective use of money in the EA Community fund we will make our case to Nick for receiving funding. Nick's position as a trustee of CEA means that he has robust access to information about CEA's activities, bnudget, and funding sources.

Would there be any possibility of inappropriate pro-CEA bias if someone else applied for the fund wanting to do something similar to what CEA is doing or wants to do?

This is certainly possible. Because Nick talks to the other CEA trustees regularly, it is likely that he would know where other organizations overlap with CEA's work and it is likely that he would know what CEA staff think about other oganizations. This might cause him to judge other organizations more unfavorably than he might if he was not a CEA trustee.

I think the appropriate outside view is that Nick will be unintentionally biased in CEA's favor in cases where CEA conflicts with other EA community building organizations. My inside view from interacting with Nick is that he is a careful and thoughtful decision-maker who is good at remaining objective.

If you're worried about pro-CEA bias and if you don't have sufficient information about Nick to trust him, then you probably shouldn't donate to the EA Community Fund.