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Despite the complicated and imperfect origins of American Thanksgiving, what's worth preserving is the moment it offers for society to step back and count our blessings. And in this moment, I want to express my gratitude to the EA community. 

It’s been a hard year for EA, and many of us have felt increasing levels of disillusionment. Still, a huge thank you to each of you for being part of this messy, but beautiful family.

What I love about EA is that at our core, we are people who look around and see a world is world is messed up and kind of shitty. But also, when we see this mess, we deeply feel a moral responsibility to do something about it. And rather than falling into despair, we are optimistic enough to think we can actually do something about it.

This more than anything else is what I think makes this a special community, a group of people who still think we can work together to build a better world.  More than anything else, thank you for that. 

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Transitioning from the general to the specific, I want to express gratitude to the EA community for enabling my work with Vida Plena, a mental health organization I founded in Ecuador. I am certain that without EA's support, Vida Plena would not exist.

As a backstory, Vida Plena had been an idea bouncing around in my head for a few years. Finally, due to the pandemic, I decided to give it a try. My plan was to burn through all my personal savings, hoping it would be enough to get us off the ground and attract the attention of some traditional international development organizations for long-term funding. It was a significant long shot, but the best I had.

Then came EA.

In 2021 I started working operations for the Happier Lives Institute, which was my first real baptism into EA. I told HLI from the start that my priority was going to be Vida Plena, and they still hired me- even giving me significant amounts of flexibility. This would never happen in the highly competitive traditional nonprofit world. But as Micheal Plant generously told me then: EA is about seeking the greatest impact, so if that is Vida Plena, they would be there for me for it. Since then, the HLI team has continued to support me with research help, feedback, and much love (although to be clear, not money).  Thank you especially to Samuel Dupret for countless hours on our predictive CEA and Barry Grimes for giving all the comms support. Peter, I so appreciate all our long walks and chats.

Then the broader EA community stepped up and supported this project financially. When Vida Plena was still just an idea in my head, two exceptional individuals I met at EAG London 2021 stepped up and promised me the funding needed to run our pilot. This was the encouragement I needed to go from “I really think I want to do this” to “Well, now I have to do it.”  It’s a very scary step to launch something new, but knowing that they believed in me enough to put their own money behind the idea was overwhelming. To these individuals, you know who you are—I can't express my gratitude enough. The fact that you trusted an almost stranger still deeply moves me.

And with that, I need to say thank you to everyone who put in so much work to organize EAG, and all the people who financed it to bring so many people together.  I would have never met these angel donors if it wasn’t for the CEA team and volunteers. 

Next, I need to thank Joey Savoie and the whole Charity Entrepreneurship team. Although they rejected my application the first year (encouragement to keep trying for anyone else who’s not made it), the next year they took a risk to include me and my co-founder, Anita Kaslin, in the Incubator Program with our outside-the-box idea. And you haven’t stopped supporting us since. A special thanks to Patrick, Steve, Ula, and especially my dear friend, Judith. A huge thank you to the CE Seed Funding network, who gave us the boost to really get off the ground running. 

I love the CE community. I really do. Nowhere else have I found such a determined, giving group of doers.  People who make shit happen out in the world. And who are so exceptionally generous. With their time, their connections, sharing ideas and resources. I’m in a random corner of the world just doing my thing in Quito, but the group calls and messages help me feel connected to something bigger.  Especially appreciate everyone in my CE cohort, especially the other exceptional women, Sarah (Maternal Health Initiative) and Rachel (Kaya Guides). You guys are rocking in, and I’m so inspired by you both.

There are so many other people in the wider CE family that need to be thanked too: 

  • Sophie Gulliver and Erik Hausen for the M&E support
  • Melanie Basnek at Rethink Priorities for doing the analysis of our pilot results
  • Thank you, Jack Rafferty for all the hours of encouragement.  
  • Simon Newstead and his exceptional coaching through GoalsWon. I’m so glad you’re real and not an AI bot like my friends were trying to convince me. You literally send me encouragement every day. Even my mom doesn’t do that.

Extra special thanks to the Mental Health Funding Circle (started by Joey and CE) for supporting mental health initiatives like ours. This exceptional group of funders stepped up to support us last year and again this coming year. Cannot thank you enough.

And everyone from the wider EA world:

  • Dan Mindus for being behind us for over a year of mentoring, coaching, and constant cheerleading. You’re helping me figure out how to be a grown-up leader and focus on what needs to be done. 
  • Julia Karbing for all the countless hours of design support on the pilot report and now the additional countless hours to build our data collection system. I would cry without you. You also win for being our first in-person volunteer.
  • Suzy Shepherd for taking my shaking footage and turning it into something beautiful in this video about one of our participants. 
  • All in Awe for helping us design our website 
  • Lily Chamberlin and Good Impressions for helping us expand our reach and get the word out.
  • JD and EACH, love getting to connect with people who also share the same faith.
  • Sidney Callaway and her team at U. Chicago
  • Sandra Malagón and Ángela María Aristizábal for all your work creating the Hispano Hablantes community. EAGx Mexico is the best EA conference. Hands down.
  • Plus so many other people who made time to meet with me at an EAG or take a call and share their advice and experience. The sum of all your wisdom has put Vida Plena on a better path.
  • Lastly, I can’t say enough thanks to Rob and the 80k hours team for introducing me to EA at all – I never would have found this crazy world if it wasn’t for too many Google searches leading to one of your career posts. 

Finally, thank you to all the individuals who have donated to us and continue to do so month after month. Your commitment makes our work possible.

To sum all this upthank you, dear reader, for coming along all the way here to the end of this post. Again, I am so grateful for this community of people, who in the face of so many opportunities to fall into bitter despair, still desperately hold on to the crazy optimism that this tattered world can in fact be made better and that it is within our power to do so.  Carry on, carry on.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:14 AM

What a sweet post 💙

Thank you also to you for setting up Vida Plena! By putting so much work into setting up a new organization you've helped a lot of people.

Thank you Stephen, I feel really blessed to get to be part of this team, and grateful for all the people who trust us to help them.

Thank you Joy, this means a lot to the whole CE Team <3 

:) 

so appreciate you and everyone there.

Executive summary: The author expresses gratitude to the effective altruism community for enabling the launch and continued operations of their mental health organization Vida Plena in Ecuador.

Key points:

  1. The author appreciates the EA community's shared belief that the world's problems can be solved through collaborative effort.
  2. Multiple EA groups provided critical support for Vida Plena, including funding, expertise, and connections.
  3. Key supporters include Happier Lives Institute, Charity Entrepreneurship, the Mental Health Funding Circle, and many dedicated individuals.
  4. The author thanks the broader EA community for bringing people together and enabling unlikely connections and opportunities.
  5. Ongoing funding from EA partners and individuals enables Vida Plena's mental health programs in Ecuador.
  6. The author expresses optimism that the EA community can drive progress despite challenges.

 

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

What a wholesome post - you're the best, Joy!

This is a very nice post. Keep up the great work Joy