All of JoanGass's Comments + Replies

CEA’s Community Building Grants are becoming more targeted; the EA Infrastructure Fund will start evaluating grants for some EA groups

Thanks for your comments Mathias, 

Just to echo your point about supporting university groups - beyond supporting a subset of university groups with full-time organizers via the CBG program, we just released a job posting for someone to help us develop a scalable university support program that I think is high impact. This will further support volunteer-led university groups. 

> I don't have any a priori reason to believe that Austin and Warsaw have much less 'ea-potential' than Stockholm and Prague. It seems to me that many places have po... (read more)

CEA update: Q1 2021

For the large EA Virtual Program round, at first we were worried about having enough facilitators. But then we actually had quite a number of volunteer facilitators (over 100!) so then we focused on getting more participants. In the end we ended up having participant demand that matched available facilitators. As we mentioned, we're working to build more operations capacity for the virtual programs version of our fellowship. Once we do this, we hope to be able to offer them on a more consistent basis so more people can sign up.

CEA update: Q1 2021

On #1 and #2: In our report in footnote 5 where we reported this data we said:  "As some students leave fellowships before finishing, and fellowships are run independently through groups, our estimates of the number of fellowships in Q4 and participants across Q1 / Q4 are somewhat uncertain."

I do think the benefits of reporting estimates are more valuable than only reporting precise information, but we do try to add additional detail about where the uncertainty comes from. I'll keep this comment in mind when we do our Q2 report as well. 

2BrianTan7moYeah estimates are probably better than nothing. Maybe making the caveat/uncertainties about the data more easily seen, i.e. as asterisks beside some numbers on the fellowship data table, rather than as a footnote might help. But yeah it's a minor thing!
CEA update: Q1 2021

Hi Brian, 

Great to hear about your enthusiasm for fellowships! 

  1. Q1 data - we count fellowships based on when they start
  2. We collect data on this at the end of each fellowship, so the non-EAVP participant numbers in the report are guesses based on Marie’s conversations with group leaders. For groups Huw was not in touch with on a regular basis, Marie assumed an average of around 12 participants/group, so it’s possible that the number is higher based on EA Philippines numbers (although a number of fellowships are smaller than 12 participants).
  3. Marie is
... (read more)
4BrianTan7moOn #1 and 2: Got it! I guess CEA should be more cautious (i.e. by putting significant caveats or not reporting the data yet) then about reporting participant data for non-EA Virtual Programs participants, since you collect data at the end of fellowships, and the data are just guesses before then. On #3-5: Great!
Which Community Building Projects Get Funded?

We'll be releasing a write up of our 2019 review and 2020 plans in the near future, and will include historic spending for EA Grants and CBGs in 2019, as well as our projected spending in 2020. We spent $688,875 on CBGs in 2018. Because we didn’t have a separate accounting line item for EA Grants in 2018 and did not have consolidated internal documentation, it would take some time to come up with a specific amount. From our quick estimates, it is unlikely our EA grants spending was more than $1M, which would indicate we spent significantly less... (read more)

2AnonymousEAForumAccount2yThanks for this Joan! I may have some followup questions related to this, but will wait to see if they’re addressed by the forthcoming writeup as I want to be respectful of your time. I look forward to reading it!
Which Community Building Projects Get Funded?

CEA’s Community Building Grants Program is planning to continue. You can see our most recent update about it here.

2Milan_Griffes2yOh right, thanks! Also just saw this good comment [] on the same topic.
Which Community Building Projects Get Funded?

I’m Joan Gass, the Managing Director at CEA.

First, thank you for such a detailed, thoughtful criticism of CEA’s projects. It’s really valuable to hear from people about how we can improve our programs. This is also timely: we've recently hired a permanent Executive Director and we’re thinking through our strategy for this upcoming year.

CEA’s work, and CEA’s staff, have historically been mostly based in and focused on community building work in the US and the UK. We think that it may sometimes be legitimate t... (read more)

Re: information being up to date on websites being a signal that CEA is making progress on this problem...

I was glad to see that the Meta Fund page was updated to include a link where people can apply. And more generally, I’m happy CEA is working to improve EA Funds and expect the recent design changes to the EA Funds pages to improve users’ experience.

However, I’m quite frustrated that the new “Grantmaking and Impact” section is written in a way that’s likely to be confusing or misleading for donors. In the OP, I ... (read more)

I agree that your list of “signals that we are making progress on this problem” would all be positive developments. And I recognize that since CEA is resetting some of its strategy, it’s a difficult time to make firm commitments, especially around short-term priorities.

However, there’s one near-term step that I think would be relatively easy and particularly high impact. I’d love to see CEA publish how much money it has regranted through EA Grants and CBG in 2018 and 2019, and a rough estimated range for how much it expe... (read more)

2AnonymousEAForumAccount2yThe management team system has been in place for over a year, so I think it’s pretty problematic that the Meta Fund’s team remains so concentrated geographically. Could you explain some of the specific steps that have been (or will be) taken to find managers from a wider set of locations? I’m not really clear on how the manager selection process actually works, and how much of a role CEA takes relative to the Chair and other managers. And while I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, I’d be happy to set up a form where community members can nominate potential managers from a different location.

I agree with your “Reasons for the current concentration of funding” directionally, but I’m somewhat skeptical about how much of the concentration they explain.

Some of the reasons you provide for concentration in London (founders effects, concentration of EA organizations) would also apply to the Bay, and some of your explanations for concentration in Europe-ex-London (long established groups, prevalence of elite schools) would also apply to the east coast of the US.

I think the application data you provided (thank you!) offers another... (read more)

4AnonymousEAForumAccount2yThanks for this thoughtful reply Joan. I appreciate your willingness to engage with the issues I’ve raised. I’ll respond separately to several of the specific points you made for easier threading.

The Local Group Organizers Survey is now out here.

I will add that looking at the % of groups in each region somewhat understates Europe's size as a proportion of the community. 50% (88/176) of groups are in Europe, but European groups account for somewhat higher percentages of individuals who engaged with an EA group (62.25%), new attendees (71.94%), and group members considered "highly engaged in the EA community" (56.56%). As such the amount of funding that we might expect to see going to Europe were things proportionate, might well be higher than 50%.


... (read more)
1lucy.ea82yI heard the podcast before, but it helped to go through it again. I learnt about LAYS (Learning Adjusted Years of Schooling) and went through the links for articles, interesting stuff. Thanks.
Time sensitive actions to move billions in global health funding [Effective Altruism Lobbying]

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comments.

Representatives actually are responsive to resident, not just citizens. If you don't live in the US, you're right that US representatives won't be responsive. However, if you do live in the US, even if you're not a US citizen, your voice does matter.

In terms of the counterfactual use of funds, our assessment is based on the belief that funding for vaccines, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (through GAVI and the Global Fund) is one of the most cost effective - if not the most cost effective - use of funds. It's the same ... (read more)