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Note: We (Andy and Elika) are posting this on the suggestion from this Forum post calling for more public guides for navigating EA hubs. This guide is not a representation of the views of everyone in the community. If you have suggestions for this guide or general feedback, please comment or message us.

 

If you are visiting or new to the DC area and are looking to get connected to the local EA community, this guide is a useful place to start. This guide is most helpful if you’re considering moving to DC and want to get more context on the community and culture. We’re not trying to convince you to move or to be fully comprehensive. 

DC is a great place with a vibrant EA community! We hope you enjoy it and are welcomed warmly! To encourage that, feel free to reach out to any local community organizers listed in the People section!

Overview

The Washington Metropolitan Area includes DC itself and other nearby cities in Virginia and Maryland. It's the sixth most populated metropolitan area in the US and contains many distinct neighborhoods. The EA scene in DC is spread across different neighborhoods and there isn’t one specific cluster of EA activity. 

DC is one of the most active EA hubs. There are a lot of people focused on each of the major EA cause areas, especially AI, biosecurity, animal welfare, and global health. Many of the EAs who live in DC are working on policy directly or indirectly. 

DC EA Culture

While we can’t speak for the view of everyone in our community, in our opinion, the EA culture in DC is great! Everyone is friendly, very motivated to do good, and works hard. Here’s a few bullet points on culture:

  • Things are a bit more private in DC.
    • Many in the community are less publicly affiliated with EA. There are a few reasons. The most common we’ve heard is that professionals are more hesitant to associate with any big ideas or belief systems that may not be popular in the places they work.
  • There’s a less intense EA culture.
    • EA DC’s members exist on a large spectrum of involvement with EA. While many members regularly use EA principles in their work and life, you’re likely to find fewer “all EA all the time” people than in other large EA hubs like the Bay Area. 
    • Many EA DC members work at non-EA organizations or do cause-specific work.
  • The community tends to be a bit older.
    • In the 2021 EA DC community survey, 50% of members were between 21-29 and 38% were between 30-39. 
  • Many people are spread across the DC suburbs, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
  • There are active groups focused on particular cause areas 
    • EA DC has active cause area meetup groups for AI, animal welfare, biosecurity, global health and development, and international security and foreign policy. To join a cause area meetup group just fill out this form or reach out to EA DC at Info@EffectiveAltruismDC.org.
  • It's generally a good EA network to know people in.
    • EAG have been hosted here.
    • EA DC has members working in many different areas of government and policy work and is well-connected to the broader DC political scene.
  • The community is more formal / professional than super social.
    • EA DC is primarily a professional community. A lot of members form friendships in the group, but the primary goal of the organizers is to spread EA thinking, help members network professionally, give members access to effective careers, and promote effective giving.
  • In comparison to places like the Bay Area, there is less overlap between the local rationalist groups and the EA group. 

EA groups and organizations

Meeting EAs in DC

The EA DC community is very spread out around the city and most people don’t work for an EA org, so there isn't a big in-one-office presence like in some other EA hubs. This means that your strategy for meeting EAs in DC might need to be different than how you meet them in other EA hubs. The best way to connect to a lot of EAs in the city quickly is to fill out the EA DC welcome form, the organizers can help you get connected to anyone in the group from there. You can also reach out to community members who have volunteered to be points of contact! A lot of EA DC discussion happens on the community Slack, joining and posting an intro on the Introductions channel is a great way to put your name out there!

If you’re looking for information on housing in DC check out the Housing section.

EA DC Events

EA DC runs regular events to help members connect with each other. To join for EA DC events sign up for the newsletter or check out the events page on the website. Events range from professional networking meetups to social events to book clubs to cause area-specific meetups and presentations.

  • The EA DC newsletterwebsiteFB groupSlack has a very up-to-date list of public events.
  • On the EA DC slack – there are cause area channels and an informal meetup channel, which you can use to plan events.

Coworking Spaces & Offices

There are currently no publicly-accessible co-working spaces for EAs, but this may change. EA DC is working on acquiring a coworking office but this is not finalized yet. Some EA / EA-adjacent organizations have offices, but they are not publicly accessible. If you’re interested in accessing EA coworking spaces in DC please email Info@EffectiveAltruismDC.org

People

Here are some community members who you can reach out to. If you want to be added to this list, message Andy or Kyle and they can connect you with others or provide you with our directoryEA DC aims to quickly connect new EAs in DC to lots of relevant community members. Please reach out to us at Info@EffectiveAltruismDC.org or fill out our welcome form if you would like to get connected to the community.

Andy Masley

Co-Director, EA DC

he/him

Andy@EffectiveAltruismDC.org // LinkedIn // Facebook // Calendly

I co-direct the EA DC community along with Kyle. I really like meeting new people in general and would be excited to chat about what you’re interested in! In my free time I like spending time with friends, books, movies, music, exercise, and exploring DC’s vegan food scene. I can also share my experience and thoughts on EA community building in DC and EA more broadly.

Kyle Lucchese

Co-Director, EA DC

they/them

Kyle@EffectiveAltruismDC.org // LinkedIn // Facebook // Calendly

In addition to my full-time role as Co-Director of EA DC, I am a qualitative researcher of non-violent resistance.

I might be helpful in discussions related to:

  • EA philosophy
  • EA community building
  • academic research,
  • Exploring impactful careers, effective giving, fields of study, and/or donations
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Non-directed kidney donation
  • Buddhism/mindfulness
  • Traveling/living outside of the U.S.
  • Or if you just need a friend to listen.

For context: I have degrees in Business Administration (Marketing/Management) and International Affairs (Ethics/Human Rights, with regional specializations in East & Southeast Asia).

Useful EA DC Links

EA Forum Pages - non-Facebook way to find out about events.

DC Recommendations:

Logistics

Housing

  • Where to find housing:
  • Some info on housing in DC:
  • This Commute Analysis Spreadsheet for people working in Tech/Nat Sec (“Hill” in spreadsheet = Congress)
  • Think Tanks are commonly located on “think tank row” which is Massachusetts Avenue NW between Thomas Circle and Dupont Circle.
  • DC vs Arlington:
    • Many DC-area professionals decide to live in Arlington. Living in Arlington is usually somewhat cheaper than in DC itself, and is generally nicer if you have a car because it's easier to get to everything (many of the highways connect in Arlington) and if you like to grocery shop at bigger stores.
    • Commutes from Arlington to DC can be short, though it depends where you work and the mode of transportation (e.g. if you work on the Hill, the commute from Arlington is quite long at ~45-60 minutes via subway, but can be shorter than other places closer in the city if driving, at around 12 minutes from Rosslyn). Refer to the above commute spreadsheet for more detail.
    • Many policy-relevant organizations are based in Arlington, most famously the Pentagon.

Transportation

  • You can take the DC Metro / Buses pretty much anywhere – including to/from the airport!
  • Uber and/or Lyft are great ride-share options – just plan for long pickup times.
  • We really recommend biking and walking!
  • Capital Bikeshare is the bike sharing system here (you can use the Lyft app to rent them too).

Airports

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
    • Fun fact: this is my (Elika’s) favorite airport.
    • You can take the Metro's Yellow and Blue lines directly to the airport! From Metrocenter (downtown DC) – it takes about 20 minutes. 
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD):
    • This airport is in Dulles, Virginia – it’s honestly not the most convenient to get into DC but many flights (especially international ones) fly into here
    • The best options for getting into the city are to:
      • Take the new metro from IAD into the city.
      • Take an Uber/Lyft.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI):
    • This airport is in Baltimore, which is a 45 minute drive from DC. Many people make the common mistake of thinking they are flying into ‘DC’ and then realize later they are flying into Baltimore.
    • If you fly into BWI and want to get to DC, you can:
      • take an Uber / Lyft.
      • Or take the train from BWI / Baltimore Penn Station to DC Union Station - it takes about 30-45 minutes and costs about $15.

Sightseeing

Nature

  • Rock Creek Park
    • A large park in the north of the city. Rock Creek Park is large enough that you feel like you’re miles away from the city when you’re there. 
  • Great Falls
    • Hiking trails near a large waterfall in the Potomac west of DC in Virginia/Maryland.
  • Visit Carderock for outdoor rock climbing, picnic, outdoor games, or hiking. Hike Billy Goat Trail C.
  • Go fossil hunting at Calvert Cliffs
  • Visit Dumbarton Oaks Gardens and the Museum
  • Hike Old Rag or the Waterfall Trail at Shenandoah Nat’l Park (pro tip: if you’re doing Old Rag, you must go early to avoid crowds at the top scrambling section and get parking).

Food: 

Places to Work/Coffee/Tea Shops:

Fun!


 

Suggestions for This Guide? Leave them in the comments!

Thanks to Harrison Durland and Kyle Lucchese for feedback and help on this!


 

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