We’re thrilled to announce the FTX Foundation's Future Fund: a philanthropic fund making grants and investments to ambitious projects in order to improve humanity's long-term prospects. We plan to distribute at least $100M this year, and potentially a lot more, depending on how many outstanding opportunities we find. In principle, we’d be able to deploy up to $1B this year.
We have a longlist of project ideas that we’d love to fund, but it’s not exhaustive—we’re open to a broad range of ideas. We’re particularly keen to launch massively scalable projects: projects that could grow to productively spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Our areas of interest include the safe development of artificial intelligence, reducing catastrophic biorisk, improving institutions, economic growth, great power relations, effective altruism, and more.
If you’d like to launch one of our proposed projects, or have another idea for a project in our areas of interest—please apply! Please submit your applications by March 21 to be considered in our first open funding round.
UPDATE: Our first open funding round closed on March 21, and we are no longer accepting applications. We do not currently have any plans to resume accepting applications, and we do not know if or when we will do so. If we decide to start accepting applications again, we will announce this decision on ftxfuturefund.org and with another post on the EA Forum.
We can’t wait to see your applications!
Some further details:
- On the same apply page, you can also express interest in working with us, recommend a grant or investment to us, or recommend a prize for us to launch.
- We fund non-profits and for-profits alike, so long as they are aligned with our mission. We aim to respond quickly, ask for the information that is needed and no more, and keep you posted on when to expect a final decision. We are willing to make big bets, and we respect grantee autonomy. There is no limit on how much you can apply for.
- You can read about our principles and approach to funding on our website.
In addition to our request for projects, today we’re launching:
- Our Regranting Program. We’re offering discretionary budgets to independent grantmakers. Our hope is that regrantors will fund great people and projects that weren’t on our radar! We’ve already invited the first cohort, and we’re also opening up a public process to be considered as a regrantor.
- Our Project Ideas Competition. We’re announcing a prize for new project ideas to add to our website—submit your ideas by next Monday (March 7)!
Our team is Nick Beckstead (CEO), Leopold Aschenbrenner, Will MacAskill, and Ketan Ramakrishnan.
About the FTX Foundation
The Future Fund is part of the FTX Foundation, a philanthropic foundation funded primarily by Sam Bankman-Fried. When Sam was 20 years old, he set out to to “earn to give”: make as much money as he could, in order to give away everything he earned to charity. He initially worked as a trader, then founded FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange.
FTX Foundation is also funded by major contributions from Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh.
Our 2022 plans
For people who want to follow our work closely, here is some more on our initial focus and priorities.
We are just getting started and we'd like to fund a lot of great projects quickly. So our primary goal for 2022 is to perform bold and decisive tests of highly scalable funding models. We think this is important for helping us make the most of our resources.
The initial strategies we’re testing are highly decentralized:
- The first strategy is to simply describe very clearly a broad range of projects we'd be excited to fund, and offer open applications for funding. We're hoping this generates many exciting proposals for us to fund.
- The second strategy we’re testing is a regranting program. We hope this program will help us identify great grants that we would have missed, enable new people to launch exciting projects, and find and empower people who could be strong grantmakers.
- The third strategy we're considering is offering large prizes for outputs we want to see. We hope to launch these later this year, though our approach and expectations here are less developed.
A fourth strategy we'd like to test is proactively recruiting founders for the projects that we'd like to see launched. This could well end up being our main focus for the year. Our ideas about how to pursue this are currently pretty early-stage, but we're considering: organizing workshops, direct head-hunting, and incubating the projects in-house. Depending on how we approach this, it may be necessary to do some significant prioritization in order to decide where to start.
A few elaborations on our approach:
- We're starting with highly decentralized approaches that seem like they can be tested quickly and seem like they can produce a lot of output with limited time investment from us, if they work. We also like the idea that these strategies give others opportunities to cover our blindspots.
- It's important to us that we make it fast and easy for great projects to get funded. In addition to directly serving our mission, we think this will make our experiments more decisive. This may be challenging, and over this year we’ll keep iterating on our processes with that aim in mind.
- We don't have dedicated program officers in any of our areas of interest, and we are keeping a broad focus for now. We're making this decision in part because we think it will help with our learning. A major source of uncertainty we have is how many good project ideas we would find if we investigated these areas of interest more deeply. Before strongly selecting areas to specialize in, we like the idea of testing the waters.
We hope that after these tests are completed, we will have a strong sense of how well these funding models work. If they work well, we will continue or scale them. If bold experiments fail, we hope that will give us strong conviction that we should be trying something entirely different. If decentralized approaches fail, we'd also probably update in favor of more funder-led approaches to getting the projects we care about launched.
We’re happy to answer questions, though it might take us a few days to respond due to other programs and content we're launching right now.
We’re so excited to work with all of you, and we can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!