This post was written by Buck and Claire Zabel but it’s written in Buck’s voice, and “I” here refers to Buck, because it’s about grantmaking that he might do. (Claire contributed in her personal capacity, not as an Open Phil grantmaker). 

In addition to accepting applications for EA groups in some locations as part of my EAIF grantmaking, I am interested in evaluating applications from people who run groups (in-person or online, full-time or part-time) on a variety of related topics, including:

  • Reading groups, eg for The Precipice or Scout Mindset
  • Groups at companies, online-only groups, and other groups not based in particular geographic locations or universities.
  • Groups discussing blogs or forums that are popular with EAs, such as Slate Star Codex / Astral Codex Ten or LessWrong.
  • Longtermist-only, AI-centric or biosafety-centric groups, animal welfare groups, or other groups that address only a single EA cause area. (I might refer these applications to the Long-Term Future Fund or the Animal Welfare Fund as appropriate; both of these funds have confirmed to me that they’re interested in making grants of this type.)

I also welcome applications from people who do or want to do work for existing groups, or group organizers who want funding to hire someone else to work with them. Eg: 

  • Maintaining or overhauling group websites, if you think this is worthwhile for your particular group
  • Working 10hrs/week on a student group
  • Running group mailing lists

In cases where the project/expense isn’t a good fit for the EA Funds, but I think it’s worth supporting, I am likely able to offer alternative sources of funds.

I might stop doing this if someone appears who’s able to commit more time and thought to funding and supporting these kinds of groups, but for the time being I want to offer folks who want to work on these kinds of things a chance to request support.

I think that people who put serious time into creating high-quality groups deserve compensation for the time they put in, so please don’t let thoughts like “I only work on this for 10 hours a week” or “I’m happy to do this in a volunteer capacity” discourage you from applying. If you’re unsure if something is a reasonable fit, feel free to email me (bshlegeris@gmail.com) and ask before applying. Depending on your cost of living, ask for a rate of $20-50 per hour (this includes employer's payroll tax and would correspond to ~$15-40/h gross salary).

The EAIF application form is here; you should also feel free to email me any questions you have about this.

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Hey Buck, I guess I'm curious because you linked to the EAIF form down the bottom, but the latest payout report didn't include any payouts to Less Wrong or ASX groups. Perhaps you could clarify?

[I am a fund manager at the EAIF.] From memory, this is simply because we received no or almost no application from such groups in the relevant period, i.e. May to August. Since September, I believe we made:

  • One small grant to a rationality group,
  • One small grant to an animal-focused group, and
  • Referred a medium grant for organizing ACX groups to a private funder.

Again, this is from memory, so I might have forgotten about a few cases. Qualitatively, it definitely is still the case that we're getting almost no applications from non-EA-branded groups; like I'm very confident we got >25 grant applications from EA groups since September, but less than three applications each for animal, rationality, ACX, etc. groups.

I find that surprising. Any thoughts on why that might be? Do you think that groups don't know that they can apply or that most groups aren't really doing much in the way of activities that would benefit from funding?

I don't really have relevant data – my guess is the effect is 65% due to simply fewer such groups existing in the first place, and 35% due to such groups being less aware that they can apply for funding. 

(Though I think this split depends a lot on how broad we consider the relevant population of groups to be – e.g., if we counted all university groups having anything to do with animal welfare, whether or not they are particularly effectiveness-minded, then the claim that fewer such groups exist may be false.)

But my guess is very uncertain since I have very little familiarity with what kind of groups are existing at universities in the English-speaking world, so I'd be very interested in hearing from someone who might have a more informed impression.

Oh this is interesting! Sent you an email :)