Catherine Low

Community Health Associate @ Centre for Effective Altruism
Working (15+ years of experience)
1846Oxford, UKJoined Jun 2015


I'm one of the contact people for the EA community (alongside Julia Wise):

I'm the main contact for community health support for EA groups, and I also works on assessing and mitigating risks to the EA community. 

I initially studied a lot of physics, then was a high school teacher for 11 years before moving full time into EA community building. I ran local and national EA groups and worked on EA outreach projects ,  before joining CEA’s Groups Team in early 2020 to support EA groups worldwide. I started working for the Community Health team mid 2021. 


I've loved being a participant in several of JohnW's Wits and Wagers events, and have run it a couple of times myself since. It is my favourite evening retreat activity. Better than karaoke IMO!

Happy Pineapple user here!
I found myself in pressing need of an assistant, and was particularly wanting to hire someone with context about the EA community. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of talented people that had signed up to Pineapple's list (including several people I had worked with through my former role doing Group Support with CEA). My colleague and I looked through the details of all the available people, and sent a short trial task to several people on the list. We then gave one person a (paid) work trial, and then hired them. The process took much less time than running an open hiring round and I'm incredibly happy with how it is going with this hire, so using Pineapple worked out brilliantly for me.   

Oh wow! This is  fantastic news. Both because he'll have influence on the $29.4 billion :O!, and that his appointment might reflect a bigger change in USAID policy in general. 

Oh, how could I have forgotten the onion test! I'll add that in. Thanks 

I'm glad that FLI put this FAQ out, but I'm nervous that several commenters are swinging from one opinion (boo, FLI) to the opposite (FLI is fine! Folks who condemned FLI were too hasty!) too quickly.  

This FAQ only slightly changed my opinion on FLI's grantmaking process. My best guess is that  something went very wrong with this particular grant process. My reasoning:

I'd be surprised if FLI's due diligence step is intended to be a substantial part of the assessment process. My guess it that due diligence might usually be more about formalities like answering - can we legally pay this person? Is the person is who they say they are? And not - Is this a good grant to make?

It seems like FLI would be creating a huge hassle  if they regularly sent out "intention to issue a grant" to prospective grantees (with the $ amount especially), only to withdraw support later. It would be harmful for the prospective grantees by giving them false hopes (could cause them to change their plans thinking the money is coming), and annoying for the grant maker because I suspect they'd be asked to explain why they changed their mind.  

If indeed FLI does regularly reject grants at due diligence stage, that would update me towards thinking nothing went too badly with this particular grant (and I'd like to know their reasons for doing that as I'm probably missing something). 

Note - I'm speaking for myself not CEA (where I work).

In addition to the groups listed on the forum that Holly mentioned, here is a long list of EA Facebook Groups you could check out (this list is quite dated so many groups might be inactive). 

Hey Maya, I'm Catherine -  one of the contact people on CEA's community health team (along with Julia Wise). I'm so so sorry to hear about your experiences, and the experiences of your friends. I share your sadness and much of your anger too. I’ll PM you, as I think it could be helpful for me to chat with you about the specific problems (if you are able to share more detail) and possible steps. 

If anyone else reading this comment who has encountered similar problems in the EA community, I would be very grateful to hear from you too. Here is more info on what we do.

Ways to get in touch with Julia and me : 

Hey AllAmericanBreakfast. I'm Catherine from the Community Health team. I'm so so sorry to hear that your friend was raped. If at all possible, I want to make sure they have support, justice, and that the perpetrator doesn't have the opportunity to do this again. It doesn't matter if your friend doesn't identify as EA, if your friend, or the perpetrator are  involved in the EA community in anyway we're here to do our best to help.  I'll reach out via PM.


I’m so sorry to hear about your negative experiences in EA community meetups. It is totally not okay for people to feel pressured or manipulated into sexual relationships. The community health team at CEA is available to talk, and will try to help resolve the situation. You can use this form to contact the team (you can be anonymous) or contact Julia Wise or Catherine Low  directly. 

If a crime has been committed (or you have reason to suspect a crime has been committed), we encourage people to report the crime to the police.

In the future I’d also be happy to talk with community members about the codes of conducts and other processes that CEA and the wider EA community has in place, and listen to their suggestions. 

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