This document recaps EA Israel’s and the Israeli effective altruism community progress in 2022, and lays out EA Israel’s plans for 2023 (we know that 2023 started a couple months ago, but figured better late than never). We wrote the post in order to increase transparency about EA Israel’s activities, share our thoughts with the global community, and as an opportunity to reflect, strategize and celebrate.
Updates to our existing strategy
- We’re placing an increased emphasis on supporting, incubating and launching new projects and organizations
- We’re investing in our operations, in order to be able to scale our programs, support community members’ initiatives and mature into a professional workplace to support staff development and retention
- We’re presenting our work and value proposition clearly and in a way that’s easily understood by the team, community, and general public
Achievements by Israeli EA community
We asked community members to briefly share their personal progress this year.
EA Israel’s Progress
EA Israel’s work can be divided into four verticals:
1. Teaching tools about effective social action and introducing Israelis to effective altruism
- Through an accredited university course, university groups, year-long fellowships, short intro fellowships (“crash courses”) for young professionals, newsletter and social media and large public events, along with onboarding new community members.
2. Helping community members take action and maximize their social impact
- Incubating sub-groups (based on cause area / profession)
- Impact acceleration programs and services
- Support for community members and projects
3. Increasing the effectiveness of donations in Israel
- Preparing for the launch of Effective Giving Israel
- Launching the Maximum Impact Program, a program that works with nonprofits to create and publish cost-effectiveness reports at scale (22 reports in the pilot) with the goal of making Israeli philanthropy effectiveness-oriented and evidence-based
- Counterfactually raise 500k ILS for high-impact nonprofits
4. Infrastructure to enable continued growth
- We’re setting ourselves up to be a well-run, high-capability organization
- We’re supporting a thriving and healthy community
We also discuss some of the major challenges of 2022:
- FTX’s crash
- Staff turnover and the difficulties of transitioning from a volunteer-based group to a funded nonprofit
2023 Annual Plan (requisite Miro board included)
Effective Altruism Israel’s vision is one where all Israelis who are interested in maximizing their social impact have access to the people and the resources they need to help others, using their careers, projects, and donations.
In 2023 EA Israel will continue to focus on its 4 core areas,
- Teaching tools about effective social action and growing the EA Israel community
- Core objectives: scale and optimize outreach programs
- Supporting impactful action
- Core objectives: incubate new sub-groups; launch new impact-assistance programs with potential to scale; provide operational support for projects, orgs and individuals
- Effective donations
- Core objectives: Launch Effective Giving Israel; improve, scale and run second round of local nonprofit evaluation program
- Organizational and community infrastructure
- Core objectives: support growth of outwards-facing programs; implement M&E systems; streamline internal processes and operations; improve male / female community ratio and support a thriving and healthy community
Here’s a visual map of our current and planned projects and services, where projects in italics are planned projects, and if you scroll down you’ll see our services mapped out relative to our target audiences. Note that the impact / cost scale is very speculative, and is useful mostly for generating discussion and thought, not as a bottom line.
2022 was a very exciting year for Effective Altruism Israel, with lots of growth, both in the Israeli EA community and within the EA Israel registered nonprofit. EA Israel started the year with 2 part-time staff members and ended with a team of 7; concurrently, the community doubled in size to ~80 volunteers and 100 highly engaged EAs. Gidi, EA Israel’s first CEO, left the team in October to lead VIVID, an impact-focused startup, and was replaced by me, Ezra. I feel blessed by the opportunity to work with the amazing Israeli effective altruism community, and I plan to continue to grow the community and to its impact.
Updates to our Strategy
We’ve previously published a detailed strategy with our community building approach laid out, and Gidi gave a talk on this topic at EAG London (slides and video here). Our mission is building and supporting an outward-facing community that is trying to do the maximum good in the world. We don’t believe that “growing the EA community” is a cause area in and of itself - it is a means to an end, with that end being a much better world. That being said, we have a lot of faith in the power and people of the community, and we see our role as crucial to helping the community reach its potential and stay focused on solving critical problems.
Some strategy updates from the past year:
- The Israeli EA community has launched 6 impact-focused organizations in the past 2 years (details below), with a few more in the pipeline. This has led us to believe that our highest value activity is enabling the launch of high-impact independent projects.
- As we grew to become a more established organization, we’ve put more focus on operational capacity and organizational excellence,
- Building on our work on EA messaging, we aim to build EA Israel into a nonprofit organization whose work can be appreciated by non-EA donors and the general public. If our message is understood only by the EA community, that’s a poor indication of the way it’s communicated. Improving our messaging will also enable us to raise funds from more diverse sources and thus be more resilient to shocks. Also, we’re interested in raising money with lower opportunity costs than EA funders. That being said, we want to be careful about not losing our integrity or “watering down” the uniqueness of EA, and aren’t aiming to become mainstream - just understandable.
Israeli EA community achievements
Before presenting what EA Israel has done in 2022, we’d like to share some highlights of our community members’ efforts. Since our goal is to support a community aimed at doing the most good, the achievements of the community are, in a way, more important than those of the organization.
Some highlights include:
- Three community members from ALTER started a project to resolve iodine deficiency in Israel by promoting salt iodization.
- Gidi Kadosh started VIVID, an EA startup aspiring to solve the implementation gap of personal change, and scale effective self-improvement.
- One community member spent 2022 looking for a high-impact entrepreneurship opportunity that would match his skills, and ended up launching a for-profit Earn-To-Give startup with the intention of donating 80% of profits. He’s already raised seed funding and is now hiring.
- Mentaleap, a reading and hackathon group for EA-Israel members who are interested in reducing AI risk by reverse engineering neural networks, was launched.
- Other members are doing charity evaluation, have discovered cost-effective ways for early diagnosis of disease, are doing applied and theoretical AI safety work, are working on improving COVID testing and vaccines, have started businesses promoting EA, and more. You can find more community members and details in the appendix.
EA Israel’s direct work
EA Israel’s work can be divided into four verticals:
- Teaching tools about effective social action and introducing Israelis to effective altruism
- Helping individuals in the community take action and maximize their social impact
- Increasing the effectiveness of donations in Israel
- Community and organizational infrastructure that enables continued growth
(note: some activities have some overlap between verticals - such as events targeted at a specific career, which can be both introductory and help people take action)
Teaching tools about effective social action and introducing Israelis to effective altruism
We currently have the following programs for teaching tools on the topics of effective social action and as an introduction to EA and EA principles. These also serve as an entry point to the community:
- Academic activities - this year we incubated university groups at two leading universities, Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Each student group is led by two talented organizers - Noam Shwartz and Yair Kabakovitch in Tel Aviv, and Eitan Ahiman and Omri Sheffer at Hebrew U. The Tel Aviv group also received a grant from OpenPhil’s University Organizer Fellowship. The university groups run yearly intro fellowships, which include a theoretical part in the first semester and a practical part of establishing a project in the second semester. Moreover, their main focus is to help students choose an impact-focused career, an impactful choice that is challenging for students. Most of the events they held dealt with this field (e.g. an online event with a wide career panel in a variety of cause areas.The Tel Aviv group also ran a career planning workshop in the mental health field, with professional facilitation. The events and the workshops are run independently of EA Israel, and we support them with weekly guidance calls, advice, fiscal sponsorship, and social media expertise. Together the groups have 25 fellows in their intro fellowships, who are launching about 10 side-projects, and who have reached over 120 other students in workshops, events and group meetings. We’ve also run intro fellowships and events at other universities, and aim to incubate independent groups at 2-3 more universities in the coming year.
- University course - two community members created a university course based on the principles of Effective Altruism, which was the top-rated course at Tel Aviv University, and which is now being developed into a scaled-up model to expose significantly more people to academic level EA content.
- Crash courses - we created a new format for intro fellowships, ‘Crash Courses’, that acquaints people with EA in 4-5 meetings. These crash courses are aimed mostly at young professionals, but can serve as an entry point for anyone interested in EA. We also created an advanced crash course, also called a ‘methodologies workshop’, which aims to help community members get hands-on experience with performing cost-effectiveness analyses, building theories of change, using weighted factor models and tools for analyzing crucial considerations. We ran 9 crash courses with 59 graduates.
- Newsletter and social media - we send out a periodic newsletter and publish events and content on our social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn). All together, we have approximately 2.5k followers and subscribers across the different platforms. Toward the end of 2022, Carole Bibas, a community member, began working for us part time, focusing exclusively on our social media. We hope to significantly improve our metrics over the coming year and create much more buzz and interest in EA principles.
- Public events - we held a variety of events open to the public about effective careers, impact-entrepreneurship, cause areas, mentoring, and more. We had around 20 events, with approximately 500 participants. During the first half of the year, we also ran a monthly virtual discussion group on EA topics called “Talking Effectiveness”, which received positive reviews, but weren’t able to maintain it due to personnel turnover.
Pictured: an event on high-impact entrepreneurship
(the slide says “Feedback and Measurement” in Hebrew)
Onboarding new community members – following initial interest from our broad outreach, we have an intake form on our website with various options (learn more, volunteer, request for career consulting, etc), and we initiate 1-1 calls with individuals interested in joining the community to smooth their integration into the community and to identify ways for them to contribute. From our experience, finding good opportunities for people to contribute to is one of the best ways to get them involved and excited.
In 2023, we plan to build on our past successes and improve, streamline and scale our active outreach channels. We aim to:
- Incubate 3 new university groups
- Run 3 intro fellowships at universities, with 45 graduates
- Run 10 crash courses, with 100 graduates
- Increase the consistency and quality of our newsletter and improve the quality and quantity of our social media presence. Our goal is to publish 8 newsletters, with a 150% growth in subscribers and clicks; and to grow the number of Facebook group followers by 2x and LinkedIn by 5x.
- We aim to run 6 large events and 12 smaller events open to the public, with an emphasis on using the events to launch projects, sub-groups and other follow-up activities. We’re de-emphasizing one-off events, since we’re not convinced of the strength of the theory of change for events that don’t have a clear ask or goal.
- Grow to 150 highly involved community members
Helping community members take action and maximize their social impact
This year was the first time the Israeli EA community grew to a size that allowed for the growth of smaller sub-groups and communities. Two community members founded an Impact Tech Entrepreneurship community, which ran a number of events of over 70 people per event, and grew to around 100 participants (however, progress has stalled lately and it’s not clear whether it will continue). Another member is running an AI Safety group that has regular reading group meetings and has participated in two AI Safety hackathons, and we organized an “AI Safety co-working day” at the community office so that people interested in the field can work together.
We also initiated and supported events on specific cause-areas, such as biology, mental health, democracy + tech, animal welfare, and biosecurity, many of which were hosted by EAs visiting from other countries (shout out to Karolina Sarek, Fazl Barel, Emma Buckland, and Andrew Snyder-Beattie). We plan to grow these groups into independent communities of their own.
Side note - if you’re interested in visiting Israel, please reach out so we can introduce you to our community; we love hosting visitors (spring is lovely here).
Pictured: event with Karolina Sarek
Impact acceleration programs and services
We still have some uncertainty about the best ways to help Israelis maximize their social impact, so in 2022, we ran a number of services and programs aimed at gathering more information about the best ways to do so and about how potential large-scale programs might look.
Our programs and services in 2022 included:
- A volunteer operated a career consulting program - we offer career consulting on our website, where we match high-potential consultees with community members who have relevant experience who’ve we’ve lightly trained in career consulting (see our guide here)
- A job-matching form where people can submit their CVs and be matched to relevant EA jobs
- A career-focused community retreat (with three community babies in attendance)
- Encouraging community members to apply to EAG and EAGx’s and helping them prepare, with 48 community members attending throughout 2022
- Promoting EA opportunities, such as Charity Entrepreneurship’s incubation program and coaching
- A grant writer to help community members apply for grants
Pictured: career-focused community retreat
We were also awarded a grant from the FTX Future Fund to run two joint programs with LEAD, a social leadership development nonprofit. The programs were aimed at helping community members launch new projects and at introducing EA concepts to successful social entrepreneurs, who would then launch new initiatives. Unfortunately, the project is now on hold due to lack of funding. If anyone is interested in exploring new ways to accelerate the launch of high-impact projects, we think that LEAD’s method (which until now hasn’t been utilized for high-impact causes) is extremely promising as an enabler, and we’re looking for new funding sources.
Support for community members and projects
As a registered nonprofit with paid staff, EA Israel has a comparative advantage in providing certain services to the Israeli EA community, and we think such practical support can often be extremely impactful. For that reason, in 2022 we provided:
- A co-working space for EAs working on projects and for meetups on EA topics
- Fiscal sponsorship and employer of record for grantees from EA funders
- Organizing retreats (we had 3 this year, 1 of which was volunteer run and subsidized by EA Israel). Our most recent community retreat, in late November, had an 8.5 NPS and was attended by 60 community members
- Organizational support for other EA orgs in Israel, including ALTER, VIVID and Probably Good, and a new org (that hasn’t yet been announced) aimed at promoting high-quality EA content at scale
- We also built new community health guidelines and protocols, which we hope will enable us to grow quickly while maintaining a level of comfort and safety for all members
In 2023, conditional on finding leaders, we plan to incubate sub-groups in animal welfare, global health, biosecurity and democracy + tech, that will meet regularly and provide a network and peer support. We hope to provide support for the topic specific communities through mentorship, fiscal sponsorship, networking, operational assistance, and more, to make it easier for new groups to form.
We’ve launched a needs assessment survey aimed at our most engaged members to better understand what we can do to increase their impact. The goal of the survey is to identify the main bottlenecks preventing highly engaged community members from taking action and to help us design services and programs accordingly (results forthcoming). After receiving the results, we’ll match them with our list of potential projects and launch 1-3 programs this year with the goal of significantly increasing time spent on high-impact projects by Israelis.
We want to systematize and scale our other impact assistance services, such as grant writing support, EAG / EAGx attendance (although we expect a significant decrease in overall numbers due to CEA not covering travel expenses), publishing opportunities, and more. We plan to run 2 community retreats and 2 smaller, more focused retreats, contingent on funding.
We aim to continue our support for projects and individuals, and optimize and promote the support we offer in order to increase the number of orgs and individuals utilizing our support. Our operational systems will need to scale accordingly, which we’re already actively working on.
We also plan to run some women-only events in order to increase community diversity and achieve a more balanced male/female ratio. We believe this will help the community grow in a more healthy and balanced fashion.
Increasing the effectiveness of donations in Israel
To date, we’ve published a guide to effective donations in Hebrew (which is a top Google hit when searching for effective donations), have published 1 cost-effectiveness analysis of a nonprofit and have run philanthropic advising sessions at a small scale.
Effective Giving Israel
Toward the end of 2022 EA Israel received tax exempt status, and we’ve begun setting up infrastructure allowing Israelis to donate to high-impact nonprofits (GiveWell, GWWC recommended charities) via EA Israel and be recognized as tax-deductible by the Israeli tax authorities, similar to Effektiv-Spenden and other sites around the world. Israelis would be able to learn about the importance of effectiveness in giving and donate to high-impact nonprofits via EA Israel’s infrastructure, while receiving a 35% tax-rebate from the Israeli tax authorities.
Maximum Impact Program: Israeli Charity Evaluation
We also launched a nonprofit evaluation program in Israel, called the Maximum Impact Program, and the pilot will end in June. Our main goal is to change Israeli philanthropy to be significantly more effective and evidence-based. Although we haven’t yet done a final analysis, we believe the pilot program will be very successful and will put us on track to reaching our main goal, for the following reasons:
- We will publish 22 cost-effectiveness analyses on Israeli nonprofits, becoming the first public database on nonprofit effectiveness in Israel.
- Some of the nonprofits being evaluated have the potential to be very high-impact relative to the average Israeli nonprofit (and potentially GiveDirectly, such as an Israeli nonprofit that runs WASH programs in Ethiopia), and we believe we’ll be able to significantly improve their scaling and fundraising efforts.
- We’ve built an extensive set of templates and how-tos for nonprofits or volunteers who are interested in cost-effectiveness but lack relevant expertise. These tools can be used to run programs in other countries or as the basis for a university course.
- We’ve received requests from many other nonprofits interested in participating in the next round of the program.
- We’ve engaged the local EA community around the project, with 15-20 active volunteers from the community, and have onboarded 10 academic researchers to the EA community through the program.
- We’ve built an impressive team of advisors. Our judges panel includes Dan Stein (IDInsight, GivingGreen), Karolina Sarek (Charity Entrepreneurship), Annalia Schlosser (empirical economist), Asaf Kovo (chief economist at Israel Innovation Authority) and Omer Snir (VP at leading Israeli nonprofit research group). We also have advisors and collaborators from GiveWell, SoGive, Happier Lives Institute, Suvita, Israel Impact Partners, Social Finance Israel, and other Israeli and Jewish philanthropic groups.
We’ve had initial interest from Israeli and Jewish donors (both foundations and private donors) about supporting the program and using our product, which we’ll be pursuing in the coming months. Our current plan for 2023 is to scale the program in order to identify the most effective nonprofits in Israel, export the program to another EA community operating in a country with a focus on local donations (if you’re an EA community leader who’d be interested in trying to start something similar - please reach out!), and adding local nonprofits to our effective-giving website. The website will present both local nonprofits who’ve published research on their effectiveness as well as EA recommended high-impact nonprofits, with a donation option.
We’re looking for funding! Our pilot program was funded by the Infrastructure Fund and a private Israeli donor, and we have 2 qualified staff members who built the program from scratch. In order to hit our goals for 2023, we need funding for salaries and operational costs. If you’re a funder or know of someone who might be interested in supporting our work, again - please reach out! We’ll also publish a forum post with more detail later on - stay tuned.
Pictured: presenting the Maximum Impact Program at EAGx Singapore
Infrastructure to enable continued growth
In 2022, our staff went through significant change and growth, as mentioned above. We began to put much more effort into becoming a professional organization with a strong and defined culture, professional development opportunities, strong ops and internal systems, and good governance. Some of our main activities include revamping our financial processes and budget (including successfully receiving tax-deductible status), setting up a professional development course for CBG grantees and moving to a new office (which doubles as a community co-working and small events space). We also began using OKRs and KPIs and having clear Areas of Responsibility in order to run more efficiently and hit our targets (we use The Great CEO Within and the Manager’s Handbook for inspiration).
We set up quarterly board meetings to provide oversight, tweaked our board membership, and we began publishing a summary of the board meetings and having a community Q&A session about them in order to improve transparency.
Improving our operations and professional excellence is an ongoing process. We try and hit the right balance between doing things “the right way” and between “getting things done”, or between sustainability and growth.
In 2023 we want to achieve the following goals:
- Set up an M&E system and improve our CRM
- Move all internal processes to Clickup
- Ensure that all projects have clear goals, timelines and owners
- Build an 18-month professional development plan for each staff member
- Implement budget tracking software and improved payment systems
FTX’s crash has affected EA Israel’s work in a number of ways:
- A major community building project had been financed by FTX Future Fund and had to be frozen; however, there were no serious repercussions beyond a missed opportunity. EA Israel has a signed contract with FTX but hadn’t received the money, so we didn’t have to deal with clawbacks etc.
- Some key partners and community members received or were set to receive funding from FTX, and we supported them as best as we can in non-financial ways.
- PR wise, EA is now more well-known, but not necessarily positively. We consulted with a number of different people about how to respond and closely followed how EA is presented in local news, but ultimately decided to keep a low profile until the FTX story died down.
- We increased our emphasis on good governance, updating our financial systems to ensure operating runway, and reactivating the board.
Staff turnover and the difficulties of transitioning from a volunteer-based group to a funded nonprofit
- EA Israel began a transition to a funded nonprofit in mid-2021 and continued the trend throughout 2022. This has led to both significant growth and some discontinuity with previously highly involved volunteers or volunteer led projects. Today, there is a lower ratio of fewer highly involved volunteers to community members than there was previously, and some volunteer-led projects haven’t been able to maintain continuity.
- There has been significant staff turnover throughout the year, slowing our growth. We are recruiting 2-3 new staff members in the first half of 2023, and plan to have a high bar for expected continuity, in order to reduce turnover rate. We have also made some changes to our recruitment strategy and team culture to put together a team that’s built to last.
Effective Altruism Israel’s vision is one where all Israelis who are interested in maximizing their social impact have access to the people and the resources they need to help others through their careers, projects, and donations. To recap:
In 2023 EA Israel will continue to focus on its 4 core areas:
- Teaching tools about effective social action and growing the EA Israel community
- Supporting impactful action
- Effective donations
- Organizational and community infrastructure
Here’s a visual map of our current and planned projects and services, where projects in italics are planned projects. Note that the impact / cost scale is very speculative, and is useful mostly for generating discussion and thought, not as a bottom line.
If you scroll down in the visual map, you’ll see our services mapped out relative to our target audiences.
By the end of 2023, we aim to offer the following services:
- Teaching tools and community growth
- Core objectives: optimize existing programs by significantly improving consistency, quality and scale
- A book or other key content translated to Hebrew
- University groups at Tel Aviv University, HUJI, BGU, Technion, Reichman
- A consistent and engaging marketing presence (newsletter, website, social media)
- Regular and scheduled introductory and advanced crash courses
- Planned EAGx conference for spring 2024*
- Additional accredited university course about EA*
- Effective donations
- Core objectives: Launch Effective Giving Israel and raise 500k ILS; improve, scale and run second round of local nonprofit evaluation program
- Counterfactually raise 500k ILS for high-impact nonprofits
- An improved round of the Maximum impact program, where we will attempt to identify and evaluate the most effective nonprofits in Israel and engage with leading Israeli foundations about the importance of effectiveness
- Refining the model of the Maximum Impact program as a large off-the-shelf project for other city / national groups.
- Effective giving website (as explained above)
- Effective giving outreach events (with GWWC, Givewell, FP, etc)
- Export maximum impact to an additional EA community (potentially Sweden, Turkey or India)*
- Supporting impactful action
- Core objectives: Counterfactually influence 20 or more career transitions per year towards high-impact work and organizations
- A research report on the main bottlenecks preventing community members from taking action and 1-2 programs to address the bottlenecks
- 1 program to enable high-impact entrepreneurship and project launch
- A revamped and scaled career consultation program (20 calls per month)
- A job & volunteer matching service
- Cause area specific groups in biosecurity, animal welfare, AI safety, GH&D and impact-tech
- Regular calls and a retreat for sub-group leaders
- A system for providing regular check-ins and support to individual community members (today it’s relatively ad-hoc)
- Providing operational infrastructure for community members (fiscal sponsorship, co-working space, grant writing assistance)
- Core objectives: build EA Israel ops and professional culture to be top-notch and support a thriving and healthy community
- 4 full-time-equivalent staff members on the community team, 2 full time staff members on the donations team
- A CRM / M&E system
- A professional development system
- A working planning system (OKRs, KPIs, project planning)
- Publishing board meetings and organizing an online Q&A session for community members to increase transparency
- A community events pipeline with scheduled and consistent events run by community members
- A more balanced male / female ratio in the community
- Our community health coordinator will support community health, ensure adherence to our sexual harassment policy, and publish a code of conduct
* Projects with an asterisk are more speculative and contingent on personnel fit and the ecosystem.
Projects in Italics are planned for the upcoming year.
We believe that of the three outward facing core areas (not infrastructure), teaching tools and growth is the most well developed, and needs to be optimized so as to require less effort and to run more consistently and efficiently, and in order to scale. Our work on effective donations currently consists only of Maximum Impact, and our work on supporting action is still ad-hoc. Since we believe that building a strong community requires a balance between growth and action, we want to invest more resources this year in the donations and impactful action areas.
Closing remarks and thank yous
Feedback - let us know what you think!
The contents of this document are important to the way we operate, and we are sincerely looking for feedback.We do some things differently than the mainstream (if there is such a thing) community builders, and we’d love to exchange thoughts and ideas and challenge our approach more deeply.
If you’ve read through the whole post, you’ll have noticed that there were some calls to action sprinkled in. Here’s a wrap up:
- People thinking of visiting Israel - come! Let us know! We’d love to host you.
- Funders - we have two programs looking for funding:
- A project aimed at helping highly skilled people launch projects or undergo career changes, with expert facilitators trained in helping people overcome internal obstacles
- The Maximum Impact program, which does local cost effectiveness research, is building an off-the-shelf effectiveness research kit for other communities to use, and works with local donors to increase their effectiveness.
- Community leaders who are interested in local charity research - we’re developing a ready-made program and kit for you. Please let us know if this is something you’d be interested in, so we can develop it further with a specific audience in mind.
- Community leaders looking for advice in ops, hiring, goal setting, strategy, content building, or anything else - drop us a line, we’d be happy to talk.
Pictured: on a hike with an EA visiting Israel
Reflecting on what we’ve done over the past year was a great way to generate focus and motivation moving forward, but especially it made me realize how many thoughtful, kind, talented, insightful and driven people are involved in the work we do. Literally everything here was a group or community effort.
Special thanks to our board - Omer, Mor, Edo, and Gidi, and former board members, Sella and Assaf.
To the EA Israel 2022 team members - this is your work more than mine - Guy T, Michal, Yonatan S, Rona, Yuval and Adi.
To our volunteers in 2022 (I’m afraid I’ll forget someone so please call me out if I do) - Alon, Arye, Arbel, Dan, David, Daniel, Dvir, Dvir, Guy, Haroon, Ido, Ido, Itay, Jonathan, Joseph, Karen, Lev, Levav, Liat, Lior, Matan, Maya, Maytav, Merav, Michael, Nadav, Nahum, Neta, Niki, Nir, Noam, Omri, Ofir, Orr, Ron, Shiraz, Shahar, Sarel, Sean, Shay, Smadar, Soof, Tal, Tom, Tomer, Yair, Yam, Yochay, Yovel, Yael, Yonatan, Yossi, Yishai, Yuval, Yuval - for your work on our website, content, courses, projects, partnerships, community, research, feedback, and much more. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
And to our community members, whose passion to think deeply about how to make the world a better place and change their lives to do so is what makes us come to work in the morning.
Much of the credit for this post goes to Michal, Rona, Guy, Yonatan, Gidi, Edo and Sella. Thank you for your help!
Appendix: some Israeli EA community achievements
- ALTER - reducing iodine deficiency:
- Rona Tobolsky, David Manheim and Naham Shapiro started a project to resolve iodine deficiency in Israel by promoting salt iodization.
- Salt iodization is a well-known, evidence-based health intervention considered cost-effective by Givewell. The provision of iodized salt is recommended by the WHO and implemented in more than 80% of countries around the world.
- Israel is one of 25 countries still classified as iodine deficient in 2021. In 2017, 85 percent of pregnant women and 62 percent of school-age children had insufficient iodine intake, which may cause impaired neurological development and loss of up to 15 IQ points. Recent results persistently failed below the WHO’s adequacy range for iodine.
- We are establishing a network of local and international public health professionals advocating for iodization and working with the Israeli Ministry of Health, the salt industry, public health academics and international NGOs to fill the gaps needed to mandate iodization.
- Gidi Kadosh - Started VIVID, an EA startup aspiring to solve the implementation gap of personal change, and scale effective self-improvement. VIVID was focusing on the product and infrastructure since its inception, and plans to collaborate with EA wellbeing professionals mid-2023.
- Probably Good
- One community member
- Spent 2022 looking for a high-impact entrepreneurship opportunity that would match his skills, and ended up launching a for-profit Earn-To-Give startup with the intention of donating 50-80% of earnings. He’s already raised seed funding and his hiring.
- Yuval Shapira
- Started a small independent lecturing for-profit company named 'Real Impact'. Hosted paid lectures in startups, 'mechinot', ect. Was granted an Infrastructure Fund grant for the business, still considering the option in light of counterfactual possibilities. Would love to hear suggestions mostly for improving finance, business and team-working skills.
- Ido Gedanken
- Joined an impact venture capital named Jimpact investing in impact oriented startups. Led a research on possibilities to invest in for-profit AI safety startups. If anybody wants to connect me to any impact startup that we should consider, I would love to chat.
- Edo Arad
- Together with Cecilia Tilli, I’ve led an online “improving science group” for a couple of years. We had a good run, but we mostly let it die out. There are a lot of great people in EA interested in these areas, so I hope to find someone who’d be interested in picking this up.
- This year was mostly a transition from “being burned out and unproductive” to “being less burned out and a little bit productive”. I’ve started 2022 by joining a cool tech company’s data science research team, which was fun.
- Joined ALTER’s board, as an expert signer.
- As of Oct 22, I’ve started working full time with EA Israel as an independent research and project manager, funded by EAIF.
- I’m terribly grateful to Shay Ben Moshe for agreeing to serve as my manager in practice. He has helped me a lot with project prioritization and resolving random challenges.
- My initial idea list: link. I’ve mostly been working on tech entrepreneurship stuff and helping EA Israel.
- Tech Entrepreneurship. I’ve worked with Yuval Ginor on evaluating a water-quality monitoring startup. Together with Yossi Tamarov we have been talking to many people in this space and the Israeli impact entrepreneurship environment, made some good connections and learned a lot about his field. We have set up a weekly long coworking session, and we have some interesting projects ahead of us.
- Almost solved AI safety with Yonatan Cale :)
- My current focus is in doing more prioritization research.
- Mentaleap is a reading and hackathon group for EA-Israel members who are interested in reducing AI risk by reverse engineering neural networks (https://mentaleap.ai). It consists of world-class information security specialists, AI researchers, and neuroscientists. The group meets every two-three weeks to discuss papers and participate in online hackathons. It has 7 permanent members and more than 40 participants.
- Matan Levine
- I am an MD-PhD student, studying disease dynamics and the transitions between different health conditions over time using machine learning tools and NLP approaches (at the Kishony lab). I took part in the Hi-Med fellowship and am having thoughts about how to make the highest impact as a physician or a researcher.
- As of the beginning of 2022 I’ve still studied (since 2020) COVID-19 PCR-tests and vaccines, and more precisely, their effect on the viral load and transmission, which helped (hopefully) to decision makers.
- I also facilitated an EA crash course at the Technion, with 6 highly motivated and talented participants. Looking forward to see the progress and expansion of EA here, as this is (as far as I know) the first encounter of the community in this academic institute.
- Shay Ben Moshe
- I kept looking for promising opportunities for my career, mostly for founding a new organization (whether for- or non-profit). After not finding other ideas I am excited about, I started looking more deeply into AI safety and forming my updated opinions on the matter, and am currently considering transitioning to working on technical AI safety full-time.
- I worked as a software engineering consultant for arXiv.org (the de-facto standard open-access repository for preprints and papers in exact sciences), assisting them with their cloud migration and system redesign.
- Since the last quarter of 2022, I have been volunteering in managing and assisting Edo Arad's work as a full-time independent researcher, see above for more details.
- I have worked with unit 8200 in the IDF on trying to establish a new team using their comparative advantages to have a meaningful impact on climate change mitigation. Unfortunately, this has not come to fruition.
- I continued giving career consultation sessions to members of EA Israel and others interested in increasing the impact of their careers.
- Michael Latowicki
- I’m promoting the creation of a crowdsourced predictive modeling platform. The platform would ideally consist of these parts: 1. a machine-readable catalog of continuously-updated publicly accessible datasets, 2. a library of predictive models 3. An automatic system for scoring the predictive power of models based on incoming data, and 4. A prediction market for expressing incentivized views about the predictive quality of those models. The envisioned system is intended to inform public opinion, to facilitate predictive social science and policy analysis, and to democratize science.
- Carole Bibas
- Started to work at the Modern Agriculture Foundation as the COO. We lead a few projects that are aimed at advancing the Israeli alternative proteins ecosystem. The biggest project is our Better Plate Track accelerator, that accelerates startups in the field. We also advance gender diversity through a new initiative “Israeli Women in Foodtech Awards”. Happy to hear if you know of any women who deserve to be one of them.
- During my maternity leave, I applied to the CE program. I didn’t make it to the end, but got to the last stage, which gave me access to a smaller course “Capacity Ventures” that helped me figure out what I should do with my life, basically. That is how I decided to enroll in the MIT Micromasters program MicroMasters Program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. I basically learn how to assess social interventions. Maybe in the future, if I pass all the classes, and find money, I will study the entire master program.
- I joined Maximum Impact as a researcher and currently work on two cost-effectiveness analyses. One within the Modern Agriculture Foundation, the second with an org called Green Course. It is harder and more demanding than I thought and I hope to be able to deliver interesting insights.
- I joined the EA Israel team in a small capacity to help with the social media efforts, and if needed, I help community members submit grant applications for their projects.
- I sometimes volunteer with EA for Jews. For Rosh Hashana, I designed an EA-focused Seder handbook and maybe will lead a session at EAG London for Shabbath ( although I didn’t get funded for attending the conference, so the money part may be an issue)
- Vanessa Kosoy
- Worked on upcoming paper about regret bounds for multi-armed bandits with imprecise probability (part of my research programme in theory of intelligent agents for existential AI safety)
- Developed “Physicalist Superimitation”: a theoretical approach to aligning AI, based on infra-Bayesian physicalism (currently only explained in short-forms and online talks)
- Mentored four AI safety scholars in the SERI MATS programme
- Published a prize on contributions to the learning-theoretic research agenda
- Hired a scientific writer (Brittany Gelb) to write a better presentation of the infra-Bayesianism research project by Alexander Appel and myself, and started working with her
- Participated in the “Alignable Structures” research workshop organized by EA Philadelphia
- Yovel Rom
- I’m an ML researcher working in a medical start- up named AEYE Health.
- As part of my work I researched cheap, scalable ways to diagnose disease through retinal images. I discovered a way to diagnose diabetes through retinal images, resulting in potential saving of 200,000 QALY per year in the US alone if applied widely.
- Additionally, I worked on ways to diagnose and screen various other eye conditions, potentially resulting in huge QALY earnings when they’ll be approved and applied.
- Arranged and participated in a team in the Technical AI Alignment Fundamentals, trying to boost the AI safety community in Israel.
- Worked on replicating Chris Olah’s work in weight visualization with Itay Yona, trying to get into AI safety research.
- Lior Oppenheim
- Consulted for Tevel B'Tzedek regarding agricultural-training based projects in rural Zambia and helped in assessing their cost-effectiveness