-We recommended well over $100 million worth of grants in 2018. The bulk of these came from our major current focus areas: potential risks of advanced AI, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, criminal justice reform, farm animal welfare, scientific research, and effective altruism. Additionally, we recommended ~$70 million in grants to GiveWell’s top charities and incubation grants.
-We continue to believe there are hints of impact in the causes where our giving is most mature and near-term: criminal justice reform and farm animal welfare. This coming year, a major priority is to develop our impact evaluation function and thereby apply more scrutiny to our progress to date.
-Another major priority will be developing a “worldview investigations” function, which will seek to examine and document — and seek more debate, both internal and external, on — debatable views we hold that play a key role in our cause prioritization.
-A major focus for 2018 was increasing our research capacity. Our research analyst recruiting program was a full-year effort, starting with our announcement of new openings in February and ending with hiring five full-time research-focused staff by December. There are a number of functions that we think Open Phil still needs to develop in order to be a fully mature grantmaker, and we believe our expanded research team will help us develop those functions.
-We also increased and professionalized our operations capacity. Beth Jones, our director of operations, joined Open Phil in May. Beth’s arrival allowed Morgan Davis to transition into a new role beginning to build our impact evaluation function.
-Like last year, we maintained a high level of grantmaking and made significant progress on increasing capacity and improving operations. We still believe we have room for further development on these fronts, and that we have more work to do in sharpening our thinking on cause prioritization and worldview diversification before we seek to increase our annual giving much more.