[ Question ]

What are some good charities to donate to regarding systemic racial injustice?

by warrenjordan 1 min read2nd Jun 202024 comments


Crossposting from the Effective Altruism community on Reddit. Thought it may be helpful to have a discussion here as well for those who don't frequent r/EffectiveAltruism.

For those who are thinking about how they can leverage their donations towards this cause area, where should we be donating to?

Bail funds are getting the most media attention right now, with the Minnesota Freedom Fund receiving $20M. With that, I'm not sure if there is a funding need right now for bail funds, compared to other neglected organizations in the same cause area. I'm also not sure on how to compare effectiveness or tractability between organizations.

Note: I understand that there are more effective cause areas such as malaria or x-risk. However, many of my non-EA peers want to donate in this specific cause area and I feel like I could help them choose the most effective charity. I, too, would like to donate to this cause area, but still maintain my usual donations to EA charities.

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It's really disappointing to see this post repeatedly down-voted without any responses. When people approach the EA community and ask about the most effective way to deal with an issue they care about, surely there's a better way to respond than "I think there are more pressing causes so I'm not even going to dignify your polite request with a polite response".

In answer to the question, there's not been a huge amount of EA research on this, mostly because, for several reasons, it tends to be more cost-effective to focus on the world's poorest countries if you intend on helping people today. However:

My position on this topic remains the same as in that the other similar question that came up recently: namely, that I suspect that the same "developing-world multiplier" applies to tackling racism (and discrimination more broadly) as to most other near-term cause areas, and one would probably be better off looking for opportunities there than focusing on very high-profile cases in the US.

But, if one is really fixed on spending in the developed world, I agree that OpenPhil's criminal-justice-reform grantees are a good place to start.

I think there are two tacks to take here, depending on whether your goal is reducing racial disparities or addressing discrimination itself.

1. Because of the heavy focus on poverty in developing countries, donations to normal EA charities also serve to reduce international racial disparities. The development gap between Africa and the rest of the world is strongly tied to colonial policies designed to enrich European countries at the expense of majority-black countries.

2. If you want to focus on racial discrimination, I'd suggest charities aiming to provide help to refugees of genocides. In this case, I'd suggest donating to GiveDirectly's refugee assistance programs, which aim to provide those fleeing racial, ethnic, and religious genocides with enough money to survive.

I think we're in such an early stage with limited access to data that my intuition is - make some experiments and monitor closely, plus look for 'meta' opportunities that multiply impact - giving to ActBlue itself to scale up is a bet that they will facilitate a lot more than the tens of millions of $ they have raised already, and is acknowledging that better opportunities may arise in the near future (but will still be funded through that platform)

In terms of personal, counterfactual donations in addition to my 'normal' EA donations this year, to facilitate a conversation about this issue, I have:

  • donated $50 to ActBlue, to support their operations and technical services. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/supportactblue
  • donated $50 to ActBlue’s 11 suggested orgs on their recent post “Support orgs fighting against racism and police brutality” https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ab_mn ... these include: Black Lives Matter Global Network
    Reclaim the Block
    National Bail Out
    Black Visions Collective
    NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
    The National Police Accountability Project
    Color of Change Education Fund
    Unicorn Riot
    Campaign Zero
    Advancement Project
    The Marshall Project

Edit: My intuition is that US criminal justice dysfunction is an undervalued global risk, as it contributes to political instability, but I would very much welcome more careful thought into why that may or may not be the case :)