Kyle J. Lucchese

Managing Director @ Effective Altruism DC
579 karmaJoined Apr 2022Working (6-15 years)Washington, DC, USA



Hi! I'm Kyle (they/them).

Along with Andy Masley (Executive Director), I help run Effective Altruism DC. I am also a qualitative researcher of nonviolent resistance methods.

I might be helpful in discussions on the following subjects:

  • 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 a Bachelor's in Business Administration (Marketing/Management) and a Master's in International Affairs (Ethics/Human Rights, with regional specializations in East & Southeast Asia).


Thanks for your comment! The UNOS pairing and BOTEC are great callouts. Fortunately, Johns Hopkins Hospital is a part of the program network. As for the BOTEC: I am going to spend more time researching across sources (including interviews and with the donor team), but finding solid data to factor in has thus far been challenging.

Hi, Eugene. 

Thank you for sharing some of your story. It has been nice speaking with you on a couple of occasions. 

Here are some opportunities that come to mind:

  1. I would start with LSE's Financial Support Office. Explain your situation and how this is impacting your participation at the University. They are the audience most likely to be sympathetic to your situation. 
  2. Open Philanthropy offers a couple of opportunities that may be relevant:
    1. As you are a university group organizer, you might consider applying for the University Organizer Fellowship.
    2. Given your academic interests, performance, and attendance at a top school, consider applying for the Undergraduate Scholarship. The application deadline is August 18.
  3. The UK has a great scholarship portal.
  4. You might also read more about support for students from Ukraine in UK higher education. 
  5. I am unsure of your status in the UK, but you may qualify for support through Student Action for Refugees (STAR).

Please do reach out if it would be beneficial. I wish you the best in your journey! 

We received the following response to a survey, and I think it is relevant, given the topic of this episode:


Re: my impact. It wouldn’t let me put in my answer: -$100000. I’d pay to undo my involvement in EA. 

Context for survey analyzers:
Andy, -------, Kyle, --- are great overall. I hear great things about them whenever I run into people who go to EA events, and they are warm and welcoming. I mostly see them at social events and I like them. I appreciate what you do for people and the causes you care about!

Gender: I’ve had no problems at EA events. I know of one woman who was hit on several times after meeting a guy at an EA event, didn’t like it, and wasn’t sure how to handle it. Organizers helped and he stopped hitting on her when he was asked to stop. From what I know, organizers handled it well. Good work.

My impact: (long answer)
My impact clearly went down as my involvement in EA went up.
I pretty desperately wish I could *pay* ~1/3 of my net worth to undo the negative consequences of my EA involvement, and go back to being productive and happy in a perfectly good career that is low impact by EA calculus. It was way better for me, EA friends and colleagues, and the world 
when I unabashedly loved my old job and was a happy, productive human. 

I first got involved via an EA DC reading group and a CEA fellowship in 2020. I read and talked to EA “bigwigs” a bunch around the world and was convinced by rational arguments and EA people that I was Needed in EA and it was The Right Thing To Do for someone with my rational+altruistic values, so I left my “low impact” career. That went badly. I was not productive, generous, or happy anymore and that lasted years. A lot of EAs I knew were suffering and still doing the work though, so I kept on. It got bad eventually and I tried to go back to my old career (working with kids), but I psychologically am not able to perform as well in my previous career either anymore. I have no other equivalent options. My planned lines of retreat if EA things failed (family support and going back to my old career) are not viable for unexpected reasons. I care a lot about career performance, so this has crashed my mental health and self-confidence and finances too.
My remaining options (much lower pay for more hours in a less interesting career) are clearly worse for professional and altruistic goals than what I was doing before, and may not even be possible. My life plans mostly went backwards.

I don’t want organizers to feel bad. I do want someone else to have a different experience. I was a rational person but I was not strong enough against rational arguments that I Was Needed In EA. I can instead point to ways that my head was convinced (via BOTECs, 80k, etc) to override clear data from my heart about what was not good for me personally to do. 

What would have helped instead:
- asking me and others about Agreeableness or Neuroticism and present strong counterarguments to EA thought for those of us who are high in one or both
- Ask me where else I’m already volunteering or donating and *encourage me* to keep doing that. At first, only ask me to work on EA projects without dropping any other things. See how that goes first. 
- Regularly present the counterargument to the EA approach of Maximizing Good at Scale via Your Career. Stop telling me I’m Needed in EA without first encouraging me to improve my current path a bit and see if that sticks. Find someone smart to be in regular conversation with new EAs and organizers who can remind people to *be patient*. Yes you may have short timelines, but I’m not ok with being collateral damage for the cause. Wait to see if people who contribute their time to other causes will *independently* choose to work on EA projects in a way that seems better for their life overall, before asking them to stop contributing time elsewhere to give to EA. 
- Practice humility and gratitude aloud and often for people who keep the world running outside of EA. I’m really glad EAs are trying to keep it all from disappearing, but we do still need a bunch of other people who are keeping civilization running in the meantime. It’s a collaboration. Say that kind of thing aloud often to balance out this sort of thing — 
- I overheard an AI-related EA organizer once say, “That would be stupid!” because someone suggested they should stop working unproductively on EA projects that were also making them miserable. Afaik, that was years ago and they are still unproductive and miserable. I heard another well-liked EA say to a friend who was considering a great non-EA job, “That’s nice, but what does that have to do with saving the world?” 
I get where comes from but it’s not smart or healthy. People are different; they should not all do EA things. 

Many EA organizers seem convinced that what worked well for them will work for others, and that anyone smart and interested in EA who is uncertain or unsatisfied with their current career should be nudged or pulled into an impact-oriented career (impact according to EA definitions). ‘The potential stress will be worth it!”

This is wrong. With some people (like me!) it is Bad for the world when we leave our existing careers.

I wish we told people this earlier and often:
When people are bored or unsatisfied with their job or the scope of their impact, that’s not necessarily a sign that EA will be better for them.

Boredom and frustration and inefficiency are part of a lot adult jobs, even EA jobs! It’s part of adulthood for most people to be bored and annoyed with the limited impact of their work sometimes, and when EAs are allergic to that fact, it’s at least partly a negative symptom of being a youth movement. It doesn’t always go deeper than that. 

I admire people who shoulder ‘boredom for a cause.’ I admire and am thankful for people who make that cause “being able to care of and support myself and my family, plus maybe a few other people.”
It takes a lot of work to get to that point and sustain it for a lot of people in today’s economy. I’m thankful to people who find ways to give within work, and then ‘do more’ to give back outside of work after they’re professionally stable. They often have accumulated wisdom and slack in their life that I no longer have, which they can share with others. 

I was seriously an all-around better person with a better life before I chose to prioritize EA goals over my other goals. That may be true for others too. 
No one wanted it to turn out that way. But it did. 

While EA orgs and work in EA cause areas sometimes are really cool, and it’s satisfying to choose problems to work on carefully and to be around lots of motivated people. But a lot of those orgs are also young and inexperienced still testing out healthy workplace culture and trying to do too many things. EA org staff are busy and their analysis of their impact is often not actually much deeper than a BOTEC and a prayer. I want people to learn that EA work is not necessarily Better or worth the sacrifice, even by EA metrics!

For many people, the Best Career Answer, the Most Good answer for them and for the world is for them to stay excited about the ways they can find satisfaction with the impacts they can have on colleagues and customers in their current career, set some clear professional and personal goals, gain skills to incrementally increase efficacy at work, draw self-esteem from being an ethical and reliable adult professional with interesting/useful hobbies, and increase the sources of satisfaction they have outside of work, including via donating or volunteering for things related to their areas of expertise.

This is not the sexy, prestigious, most ambitious answer that most EAs want for themselves. That’s ok, some EA-sympathetic people should go against the grain and truly decide for themselves what is Good for them. Healthy and smart EAs really really hope people will do that. People need to see and hear this message.

“EA Lite” (having a bit more impact wherever you are) has some good tools for thinking about work satisfaction. God, I’d be excited for the future of EA thinkers if there was at least one prominent, funded, ex-EA or EA-adjacent advocate who was working a “regular job” and creating content in the EA Lite vein for prospective and flailing EAs who really need to consider this line of thought for themselves. 

For example, in Intro to EA Career content, get successful EA-adjacent people with “regular jobs” to regularly and persuasively argue that “EA says it’s rational to maximize how much good your job does. Conventional wisdom is not that. It may go badly for you to try to do that. Really consider conventional wisdom before you discard it. Conventional wisdom and data on life satisfaction data that jobs can be just stable jobs that support your goals, and Good Careers can take lots of forms.”…. Get someone successful who actually believes this to say it. 

*Then* get someone successful who believes 80K stuff to present that. 

Lastly, I know EAs are not going to evangelize fewer career changes. “Plan changes” are incentivized as a measure of impact and most EAs believe that what they believe is Good. But my plans changed and it was bad. How is that counted? I wanted that to be counted in this survey. It’s a number that should be credited to CEA and 80K too really, not solely EA DC. It was CEA fellowships, 80K, EA reading groups, and EAG(x)s as much as DC EA that got to me.

I am pretty [expletive] up now but I hope others figure out how to be less so. 

Whoever reads this has permission to publish it in whole or in part somewhere.

Firstly - thank you for stepping up at this crucial time for the EA community, Ben. I can only imagine how challenging it must be.

Some thoughts about the Strategy Fortnight: I think it was a good experiment on a platform that many in the community value highly (significantly more than I do). I enjoyed many of the posts, especially Will's. It seems to have improved the quality and coordination of more targeted, constructive posts, and it increased short-term engagement around one particular initiative/topic. Still, those most likely to contribute in this manner are those who have strong connections in the community (or are regular Forum users; just look at who published the top posts). I see this as one piece of the community engagement/feedback puzzle (the EA Community Survey is another great example). 

I would love to see additional initiatives experimented with. Just to name a few: A parliamentary model of decision-making across EA organizations (this is a bit complicated to explain succinctly; I would be happy to discuss it further); quarterly public/live meetings/events from each large organization in the EA space that are designed to increase transparency and engagement/feedback; and a leadership summit for EA org leaders to coordinate on cross-community strategy and develop a comprehensive risk assessment (of current and future risks to organizations and "the EA brand") and relevant mechanisms to address these risks.

Thanks for your thoughtfulness about how to improve the community!

Is there a particular country or region that you prefer the advocacy work target/take place in (e.g. U.S., E.U., A.U., Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc.)?

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to speak or work with you directly, but your personal and professional reputations speak volumes.

I am sorry to hear about the toll this has taken on you; I hope this transition supports you on a healing journey. That you shared this and recognized what was needed is a testament to your leadership and care. 

Thanks for all you've done for CEA and for the community. I wish you very well and look forward to seeing where your journey takes you. If I can somehow be supportive, please never hesitate to reach out. 

I appreciate your attention to the language here. Having personal experience of not being believed or supported (outside of EA), I know how challenging it can be to try to keep going, let alone consider relative impact. I was quick to endorse the spirit of the overall message (which was, at least in part, informed by my knowledge of those involved) and should have noted my own reservations with some of the language. 

Thank you for writing this post and for your important work, Catherine, Anu, and Łukasz.

We (me and the rest of the EA DC team) are always trying to learn and make our community more inclusive. If I can somehow support you or your work, please do let me know. 

If you would like to contribute to one or several sections, that would also be helpful!

Load more