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Summary

We are launching the Meta Charity Funders, a growing network of donors sharing knowledge and discussing funding opportunities in the EA meta space. Apply for funding by August 27th or join the circle as a donor. See below or visit our website to learn more!


If you are doing EA-aligned “meta” work, and have not received substantial funding for several years, you might be worried about funding. Over the past 10 years, Open Philanthropy and EA Funds comprised a large percent of total meta funding and are far from independent of each other. This lack of diversity means potentially effective projects outside their priorities often struggle to stay afloat or scale, and the beliefs of just a few grant-makers can massively shape the EA movement’s trajectory. 

It can be difficult for funders within meta as well. Individual donors often don’t know where to give if they don’t share EA Funds’ approach. Thorough vetting is scarce and expensive, with only a handful of grant-makers deploying tens of millions per year in meta grants, resulting in sub-optimal allocations.  

This is why we are launching the Meta Charity Funders, a growing network of donors sharing knowledge, discussing funding opportunities, and running joint open grant rounds in the EA meta space. We believe many charitable projects create a huge impact by working at one level removed from direct impact to instead enhance the impact of others. Often these projects cut across causes and don’t fit neatly into a box, thus being neglected by funders. Well known examples of meta organizations include charity evaluators like GiveWell, incubators like Charity Entrepreneurship, cause prioritization research organizations like Rethink Priorities, or field-building projects promoting effective giving or impactful careers.

Grantees: Apply to many HNW donors at once – 1st round closes August 27.

Apply here by August 27th to be considered for our 1st funding round. We are aiming for applications to hear back on a decision from on or around the end of October, though we cannot guarantee every application an adequate review as we rely on volunteer investigations. Applying should take under 90 minutes, and you can largely paste an existing application. We plan to process applications and pay out funds twice per year, but you can apply through our website anytime and may hear from interested donors between our funding rounds. 

We are open to funding meta work across a range of causes, organizational stages, strategies, etc. We are most interested in applications that have not already been substantially supported by similar actors such as EA Funds or Open Philanthropy, though we will still consider these. We expect most of our grants to range from $10,000 to $500,000 and consider grants to both individuals and organizations. We expect our first round to be between $500,000 and $1.5m of total funding. 

Please lean in favor of applying if you are unsure if you would be a good fit!

Donors: Join us! Find neglected opportunities, get help with ops and vetting, and give on your own terms.

Apply here anytime to become a member of our funding circle. Our group currently contains about a dozen (and growing) high-income donors, grant-makers, and philanthropic advisors each moving $100,000 or more per year to meta charities. Members meet virtually approximately once a month to discuss funding opportunities that have come through our open application form or that they have heard about. 

People who are unable to commit to regular meetings are still encouraged to apply and may be invited to our Slack and email list and gain access to our grant opportunities database. 


Meta Charity Funding Circle is a project of Charity Entrepreneurship and Impactful Grantmaking. It is organized by this post’s authors: Gage, Vilhelm Skoglund, and Joey Savoie. Our members are anonymous.


 

Comments15
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:52 AM

I continue to be impressed by the breadth and depth of stuff you and the rest of the CE team pump out, seemingly on a monthly basis!

I was just thinking this

Thank you for doing this! I have been working in increasing funding diversity myself via Lightspeed Grants and SFF work, but my sense is there continues to be a huge amount of value in further increasing funding diversity and increasing evaluation capacity (Lightspeed sure ended up somewhat overwhelmed by the 600+ applications we got, and we won't be able to evaluate many of them to the level that I think would be best).

I also applied on behalf of Lightcone. Hope the funding round goes well!

This is really great to see. Obviously, Open Phil and EA Infra have funded awesome projects, but it's true that having so many important decisions made by a small number of grant makers at those orgs can lead to group biases and echo chambers that may lead them to neglect other high-potential opportunities. I'd be curious to to see how a more decentralized group of less committed (in terms of time) grant makers fairs against a few full-time grant makers, but of course it's not a competition. Ultimately, we're all winners here, and more diversity and extra perspectives is almost universally a good thing.

Just fyi the EA Infrastructure fund grantmakers are all part-time and have full-time jobs with some doing 'meta' work and others doing  'object level' work. You can see who is on the team here.

Oh wow! I didn't know that! That makes their work even more impressive! 🙏

Thanks for pulling this together! It's great to see more funders in the space

Thanks for doing this Joey, Gage and Vilhelm, and thanks to all of the anonymous donors who are participating!

Really happy to see a more diversified funding landscape and I think this is very important. EA funds and Open Phil do a great job, but only a dozen people making most significant grants is likely going to lead to biases and knowledge gaps. It's good the group of people evaluating projects will expand and I like the strategy to focus on what's not being funded by EA funds and Open Phil. 

I want to apply with our organisation (declined by EAIF multiple times, likely too small for Open Phil funding), but I also want to contribute as a member and evaluate projects where I might have some knowledge, especially in marketing, (for-profit) entrepreneurship and economy (areas where I believe I can bring most value comparative to current grantmakers).

Would that be a possible conflict of interest? 

I'm going to apply in the upcoming week to be a member and apply with our org, but please decline my membership if you think there could be a conflict of interest. FYI I obviously don't want a part in our own grant process. 

I also know organisations that were not funded by current EA grantmakers where I thought they should. What's your policy on being a member and encouraging these orgs to apply? Part of me would argue I would be above average in evaluating these projects because I know their work and founders, but I could also argue I might be too biased and should refrain from evaluating (but encouraging applications and independent evaluations). Like many on this forum, I'm concerned by the amount of people/orgs getting funded by current grant makers that are (in)directly linked to these organisations and people, but in some cases I do see that might lead to better decisions. I'm very interested to know what people think and your policies on potential conflicts of interest. 

[EDIT]: I now see that there is a minimum of '$100,000 per year minimum of expected donations'. But in this post I see 'and philanthropic advisors each moving $100,000 or more per year to meta charities'. Just to confirm, do you need to donate 100K a year to the fund to be an advisor or do you need to move (of other people's money) 100K a year?

re conflict of interest concerns: I'd go ahead and apply for both membership as a donor and for funding for your project. Others may do the same. We are still considering how to weigh COI concerns against potential value of allowing those applications in, and plan to arrive at a more conclusive policy before deciding whether or not to admit members/applications. 

Re referring other applications: similar to above, though I think there's less conflict here and would perhaps unfairly limit many good applications if we excluded merely because you are well acquainted with an applicant, so I would encourage them to apply and encourage you to encourage them too :)

Re $100K minimum: you do not need to donate $100K+ yourself, as long as you are in one way or another influencing $100K+ that could reasonably be expected to go toward applications from our circle. So advisors or grant-makers moving money to meta things are okay, although we prefer to maintain more distance from OP and EA Funds grant-makers. It is also ok if you expect to move slightly below $100K/year or you are uncertain how much it'll be – it'll be more of a judgement call from our circle there as to who we admit.

Since we're just getting started, we expect much of our plans and policies will change, though.

All clear Gage, thanks! Our application is in and I'll send the opportunity to some who I think should apply. I'll also apply as a member. I believe I'll have poor judgement on some areas (and be clear about that) but might add something meaningful to others like business models, economic viability and marketing.

Happy to see this. I've been concerned about the meta space not getting attention, hope this helps there. 

Great to see more independent actors moving into this space! Is there any interaction between MCF and Non-Linear Network?

Very cool, I will definitely apply on behalf of my company

Incidentally, I asked in a previous post: "Has there been meta-evaluator work to establish which of the evaluators/advisors qualifies as an effective charity?" So I'm happy to see this initiative   

Just applied for TBCT! Incredibly happy to see this get set up. What a gift for this community it could be

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