Unfortunately, I don’t know the identity of the anonymous donor myself, so I can’t speak to their plans for 2020 and beyond.
The most relevant question might be: if EA Grants is going to collapse into EA Funds, what would that mean in terms of funding needs for EA Funds? EA Funds grew something like 30% last year. From 2018-2019, Funds grew by $1.3M (and growth was concentrated in the Meta, Long Term Future, and Animal Welfare Funds, all of which make grants to individuals). If this growth rate remained steady through 2020, we would expect the ‘funding gap’ created by EA Grants (at the historical level of Grants funding, under $1M per year) to be covered by organic growth in EA Funds. However, if the number of strong grant opportunities also continues to increase, organic growth could still leave a similar proportion of strong opportunities going unfunded. In that case, I’d encourage Fund teams to make that known and fundraise accordingly. Of course, it’s hard to predict how much the size of the total pool of opportunities will increase in 2020 and beyond.
I feel very uncertain. I wasn’t very involved with funding individuals and that ecosystem before taking on EA Grants, so it’s hard for me to speak to the changes over time.
I decided to mostly not donate this year, and instead save for future donations. Because of my role at CEA and the fact that I might not be doing as much grantmaking in the future (see "Update on CEA's EA Grants Program"), I think it's reasonably likely I'll come across some small grantmaking opportunities that otherwise might not be funded. I want the resources available to be opportunistic. If I don't come across any opportunities this year, I think I should reassess my donation plans.
I also cut down my allocation this year in order to cover some health expenses. I have a chronic illness and am doing a big health push right now, including seeing a doctor not covered by health insurance. I strongly think that people should take care of their health (physical and mental), so wanted to explicitly mention that here. My mom also passed away so I am allocating more money towards therapy and grief processing support, which I similarly endorse for others in this position.
We are still happy to help with hiring and to consider helping to fund the role if there's enough general funding. We haven't received new info from Greg about whether there is enough general funding that it's worth moving forward hiring, so we're currently on standby.
Thanks for the question! My exact role is still being nailed down, but as an example, I’m likely to work on things related to risk mitigation. E.g. coordinating advice on how to give a talk to foreign government officials. Another consideration that’s related to staff capacity and is an input into this decision, is the importance of narrowing down CEA’s scope to allow more focus for the organization.
I believe this has been fixed, but please let us know if you see any more issues.
Thanks for the comment! I agree. I think that whether this iteration makes sense will depend on what Funds can handle and what it looks like in the future. I do like this general idea of thinking creatively about how to best integrate EA Grants into EA Funds, and would be keen to hear more ideas if you have them.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree with most of your points, (though am a bit confused on your first one and would like to understand it better if you’d have the time to elaborate. EA Grants didn’t, when I was involved, have an overlapping funding mandate with CBGs, although I think that the distinction was a bit blurrier in the past). I am keen to work with others in the funding ecosystem so it can adapt in a good, healthy way. If you have more specific thoughts on how to make this happen, would love to hear them here or in a call.
As mentioned in another response, where the freed up resources go is dependent on donors. EA Grants never had (to my knowledge) multi-year commitments. For example, since I've started, it's been ~entirely funded by 1 anonymous donor. On funding, if the Meta Fund sees funding shortages, I hope that they will make that known to donors, so that donors can fund the Meta Fund accordingly. To my knowledge, this has not been the case to date, even though EA Grants has been somewhat limited in its disbursements this year.
Thanks for this thoughtful comment! I agree with many of the points you raise. A few responses/clarifications: