IrenaK

Chairperson of the Czech EA Association, CFAR alumna and mentor. Experienced career coach.

Topic Contributions

Comments

Some clarifications on the Future Fund's approach to grantmaking

My two cents about why people may be concerned about the decision-making process without having concrete details:
For instance, the initially advertised decision timeline of 2 weeks. While I appreciate the fast pace and the benefits that come with it, a complex system of review and decision-making is almost impossible to achieve at that timeline, especially given the interest in the program. 

Moreover, that deadline was not met for all projects which is both good because clearly more time was needed and also bad because applicants' expectations were not met and they needed to potentially change their plans for the projects because of the dealy. Additionally, it signals FTX's poor understanding of either its capacity or the complexity of the grant-making process. Lack of either doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

EAG & EAGx lodging considerations

I'm not aware of anything, in particular, happening in Prague that weekend that would explain the hotels in the downtown area being full. Prague is a very popular city that is coming back from two bad winters with COVID so it seems that people are simply eager to visit.

We did put together a guide on public transportation so people are comfortable booking outside of the city center and also had a couchsurfing table for people to advertise and look for spare accommodation.

We decided to do the conference in the city center because we think it is a beautiful area that we wanted to share with our attendees. There seems to be an existing tension in the community on whether to do conferences in large convention centers at an arbitrary location or in unique spaces which are an inherent part of the conference experience.

We were considering doing a group order for accommodation to help out the attendees but we did not have enough capacity on the team to do it. I've done this for another conference in the past and it is A LOT of work to assign people, deal with changes, communicate with the hotel etc. 

Apply for EAGxPrague by April 30th!

You pay for the ticket at the registration stage depending on what you can afford. The baseline price is 50 EUR and then you can apply a 25%, 50%, or 75% discount. You can also ask for financial assistance to be able to attend the conference.

Apply for EAGxPrague by April 30th!

Ha, amusing indeed! Fixed now. :) 

Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship

This is a great initiative! I just want to point out that if this is aimed at international students, it is quite difficult to accurately estimate their GPA. Also, they would not need to do for UK applications. You will be able to understand their academic performance from the transcript but requiring a GPA may not give you the information you are looking for.

AMA: Lewis Bollard, Open Philanthropy

Hi Lewis, since this is AMA, this one is not EA related.

I've spend most of my teenage and college years as a competitive international debater. How do you look back at your debate experience? The good and the bad. Would you recommend that EAs (and more people in general) take up debate? Or would you rather see it be replaced with some other form of structured discussion?

Also, the WUDC finals are one of my favorite competitive debates of all time, I would often use it when coaching my teams. I'd love to hear your take on it. What was it like for you to prop a topic which was already quite broadly opposed in society (making abortion illegal)? And what was going through your mind when you heard James present their definition and approach (that a fetus may very well be alive since conception but the mother has a right to kill it regardless)?

Boundaries of Empathy and Their Consequences

In my experience is not so much that they person does not grasp the ethical argument through empathy, many people do. The reason they do not change their behaviour is mostly because it is normalized in society. People do not usually realize it in the moment and so it is not what you would often hear as an answer but uppon reflection, that is what many vegetarians realize - they did understand they were acting wrong but it seemed like it was not a big deal because everyone was doing it.

Structure EA organizations as WSDNs?

I do not have experience with WSDNs but based on your description, the Czech Association for EA seems to have this model. The structure is such that people sign up to be members, members elect leadership and leadership reports back to the members.

The biggest difference seems to be that our members are not only employees but volunteers or general supporters.

What's the median amount a grantmaker gives per year?

I do not know this article but here are my thoughts on this problem, having worked at a private foundation myself.

The amount of money awarded per staff lies on a scale. On one end a foundation could just make 1 massive grant a year to one organization. On the other end, make millions of super small grants. As organizations navigate this scale from one extreme to the other, in my experience these are some of their considerations:

  • Diversifying the portfolio of grants - if one does not succeed, there are still many to possibly have high impact
  • Limited expertise of staff
  • Limited responsibility of staff - it seems that more staff are a better system of checks and balances where corruption or poor judgement are discovered easily
  • Field saturation - in my foundation, there were certain areas that we have kind of already funded to what we believed was their maximum potential. If we suddenly had twice the money, we would not have given it to the same area. We would need to research and justify a new cause area.
  • Ultimately, I think that there is a sense of "wanting to know something the others do not know" or being original in some way. One could have a foundation that simply funds high quality proposals that were not funded simply due to lack of resources by other funders. Super efficient, just needs a small grants and operations team. Yet, it lacks mission and is generally unappealing to the board and founders.

Who in EA enjoys managing people?
Answer by IrenaKApr 11, 201913

Me. But also a TON of people outside of the community. I have been a storng advocate for EA orgs hiring outside of the community for senior management roles.

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