KarolinaSarek

Karolina is co-founder and Director of Programs at Charity Entrepreneurship. She also serves as a Fund Manager at the EA Animal Welfare Fund, and as a board member and consultant for various EA nonprofits and think tanks.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karolinasarek/

Topic Contributions

Comments

How many EAs failed in high risk, high reward projects?

CE has been incubating around 5 charities per year (with plans to scale in the future), so far the success rate is as follow:

  • 2/5 estimated to reach or exceed the cost-effectiveness of the strongest charities in their fields 
  •  2/5 make progress, but remain small-scale or have an unclear cost-effectiveness
  •  1/5 shut down in their first 24 months without having a significant impact

I spoke about it briefly in this post and would love to find the time to elaborate more. 


 

What are effective ways to help Ukrainians right now?

[EDITED] Thanks for support! If all things lined up go through, the request is covered. 

What are effective ways to help Ukrainians right now?

[UPDATE] Thanks for support! If all things lined up go through, the request is covered. 

I have a donation opportunity that from a quick judgment, seems very neglected, potentially important and tractable; it also needs donations ASAP (the earlier the donation, the higher the impact). It is a higher risk and a higher reward; not everyone will be interested. Please message me if you are interested, and I can explain on a quick Signal call. 

What are effective ways to help Ukrainians right now?

[Update 27.02.22, 01:12 am CET] For now things are on standby. Everyone is relatively safe. I’m dealing  with incoming request from community members and others as they come. Feel free to keep them coming. 

[Update 26.02.22, 3:40 pm CET] Things are moving. For now, everyone seems to be relatively safe and in contact. If you know anyone else (EA or non-EA) who need any sort of support, please connect me directly with those people.
___
I'm Polish and I'm in Poland right now and helping a couple of people to get out from Ukraine. I'm also in contact with EAs if they decide to leave. 

For those that have EA or non-EA friends there, you can let them know that:
I'm able to help directly and/or help find a) transport from UA-PL border (can help in 99% of cases) b) a car and driver to Lviv and other cities in Ukraine that are very close to the border to pick people up if needed (80%) c) a place to stay temporary in all major cities in Poland (97%) and long-term (30%) d) coordinate information sharing (99%) e) some other ways as well (e.g. once in Poland help with prescription medication etc. ), so just fire away if there is anything not on this list. 

On an individual level so far, I found that the biggest bottleneck is accurate information (to make an informed decision whether to leave or not; and how to do it) and safe transport within Ukraine. Once people get to UA-PL, we can find help easily. 

I don't want to give my phone/Signal/Whatsapp/Telegram number here, nor my Facebook because there were already some attempts to hack my accounts (the day before invasion and every day since then), but PM me, and I'll give you my details that you could pass to your friend (or other close ones) in Ukraine. 

I don't know whether it is cost-effective to help people in Ukraine compared to typical EA interventions, but I believe that it is important to build a truly supportive EA community. 

Opportunity to start a high-impact nonprofit - applications for the 2022-23 Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Programs are now open!

Thanks, Alex! 

If you or anyone else has questions about participating in the program when you have or are expecting children or have other dependents feel free to reach out to me, we can discuss your situation and what support we offer. 

Aaron Gertler's Shortform

"Visions" - another song he released in 2021 gives me very strong EA vibes. Lyrics include:

Visions
Imagining the worlds that could be
Shaping a mosaic of fates
For all sentient beings
[...]

Visions
Avoidable suffering and pain
We are patiently inching our way
Toward unreachable utopias

Visions
Enslaved by the forces of nature
Elevated by mindless replicators
Challenged to steer our collective destiny

Visions
Look at the magic of reality
While accepting with all honesty
That we can't know for sure what's next

No, we can't know for sure what's next
But that we're in this together
We are here together

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

How has the EA fund grown over the years?

You can check the donations made through all the funds on our website. Below I pasted a graph illustrating AWF’s growth over the last three years: 

Do you have a sense of what percentage of overall EA Animal Welfare giving is being done through the fund as opposed to direct donations from EAs to orgs?

I’m not aware of any comparison data of that sort, but a couple of sources (mainly EA Survey) may give us some approximate answers.

EA Survey 2019 Series: Donation Data quotes the following amount of donations made by EA community members who filled out the EA Survey. Note however, that $87,385.50 of that amount was donated to EA Animal Welfare Fund. 


Out of that following organizations received funding:

  • ACE 132,222.80
  • THL 128,012.00
  • EA Animal Welfare Fund: 87,385.50
  • GFI 85,778.53
  • Mercy For Animals: 29,705.96

Those numbers add up to 463,104.79, so something is not right with the data. But it gives us a ballpark number. 

Lewis Bollard provided another interesting piece of data in one of his newsletters, where he estimated a Farmed Animal Advocacy Groups and Team’s Revenue by Year. Note however, that those estimates are from 2014 and 2016, so before AWF launched. 

 

Lastly, for comparison data from Lewis Bollard’s newsletter released in 2018 claiming that “Since the start of 2016, the Open Philanthropy Project has approved 82 farm animal welfare grants totaling $47M to 50 grantees in 24 countries.” 

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

Similarly to LTFF, we solicit applications via an open process advertised on relevant sites, Facebook groups, and by individually reaching out to promising candidates. Additionally, we create an RFP and distribute it accordingly, which I believe LTFF decided not to do. Although similarly to LTFF, at AWF applications are initially triaged, rejecting applications that are out of scope or clearly below the bar for funding, we reject <5% instead of 40% of applications at that stage. The remaining applications are assigned to a primary and secondary fund manager with relevant, compatible expertise.

From the LTFF: 

The assigned fund manager will read the application in detail, and often reaches out to interview the applicant or ask clarifying questions. In addition, they may read prior work produced by the applicant, reach out to the applicant's references, or consult external experts in the area. They produce a brief write-up summarizing their thinking, and assign a vote to the application.

This is applicable to AWF as well. However, before the primary reviewer assigns their vote, they notify the secondary reviewer and ask for their input. We’re also a bit less likely to reach out to interview the applicant. 

What follows is voting by all fund managers. As outlined in another question by Marcus, we grade all applications with the same scoring system. For the prior round, after the review of the primary and secondary investigator and we've all read their conclusions, each grant manager gave a score (excluding cases of conflict of interests) of +5 to -5, with +5 being the strongest possible endorsement of positive impact, and -5 being a grant with an anti-endorsement that's actively harmful to a significant degree. We then averaged across scores, approving those at the very top, and dismissing those at the bottom, largely discussing only those grants that are around the threshold of 2.5 unless anyone wanted to actively make the case for or against something outside of these bounds (the size and scope of other grants, particularly the large grants we approve, is also discussed).

Similarly to LTFF, 

we provide feedback to a subset of applications (both approved and rejected) where we believe our perspective could be particularly beneficial for the applicant's work in the future,

however, we only provide feedback if asked by a grantee. 

We don’t have any immediate plans to write a longer post about the process outside of this AMA. However, we are generally planning to increase communication of the fund’s approach, so that is something we could potentially draft in the future unless other higher priority write-up will take precedence. 

Animal Welfare Fund: Ask us anything!

I would expect that people with deep expertise in software engineering may have a better understanding of how they can apply those skills than a person without such background. We are always keen to hear people's ideas, so you can encourage others to think of an impactful project and apply to the fund! 

One example of an idea we funded in this category was a prototype algorithm that identifies the exact location and number of animals in each Iowa egg farm based on Google Earth data developed by Charles He. 

One of the projects I would be keen to see is an interactive data visualization of issues faced by different animals in different countries and conditions, similar to what GDP Compare created to aggregate and visualize sources of DALYs lost due to different conditions in humans. Maybe some software engineering skills could be helpful in research on wild animals, e.g. tracking patterns of behaviors. Again, I have very low confidence in those ideas, so they should be treated as creative brainstorming rather than a recommendation. :)

Lastly, I would recommend checking out services offered by Animal Advocacy Careers, including their job board and career coaching. They may be aware of some opportunities available for people with a background in software engineering.

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