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Previously: Launching the meta charity funding circle (MCF)Summary of Our First Grant Round and Path ForwardLaunching the 2nd round
 

Meta Charity Funders (MCF) is a funding circle that aims to fund charitable projects working one level removed from direct impact. 
 

We think this post will be relevant for people who want to apply to MCF in the future and people who want to better understand the EA Meta funding landscape. The post is written by the MCF organisers (all authors of this post). Some of our members might not agree with everything said.  

Summary

We received 109 applications and ultimately funded 11 projects: “AI Assurance Tech Report”, an anonymous AI safety field-building initiative, an anonymous effective giving organization, an anonymous UHNWI initiative, EA Indonesia, EA New Zealand, EA Philippines, EA UK, Founders Pledge, Giving Multiplier, and High Impact Athletes. In total, our members granted $2,043,176 in this round, which is a significant step up from the $686,580 that was given in the last round. The next grant round will open in late August 2024, and we will welcome similar applications as in the last round. We are especially excited about initiatives targeting ultra-high-net-worth-individuals and are excited to fund such initiatives. However, we want to stress that we believe the skillset to do this well is rare.

Information for the next round

The next round will open in late August, with grants given out in late November. The application form will remain open but don’t expect your application to be processed before September. 

If you want to join Meta Charity Funders as a donor, please fill in this form. Note that the minimum expected annual donation is $100,000. However, there is no obligation to donate if you don’t think the opportunities presented are good enough, and during your first year, you are free to observe. If you have any questions, please contact us at metacharityfunders@gmail.com.

Check out our website to learn more about Meta Charity Funders and stay up-to-date with the new funding round.

How to increase your chances of success when applying

First, read Summary of Our First Grant Round and Path Forward.

We generally felt that the applications this round were of higher quality than the last round, and we believe this was partly due to the information we shared in the last grant round. Fewer initiatives were desk rejected, and we had a larger pool of grants that we considered during the meetings.

We still want to strongly encourage all applicants to spend time on their Theories of Change as this is where you set out your path to impact. The clearer you make the connection between us providing you funding and you making a positive impact on the world, the more likely you are to get funded. 

Grants we made

Below we will provide a summary of the projects we ended up funding as stated by the applicants themselves, the extent to which we have chosen to fund them, their request, and our reasoning. Note that all funding decisions are made by individual members, and therefore do not necessarily reflect the priorities of the funding circle in its entirety.

General comments:

  • On local EA Orgs: Due to a re-focus from CEA, it has recently become difficult for smaller EA organizations to get funded. As such, some funders have chosen to cover the budgets of some local EA orgs.
  • On anonymity: Some organizations we have funded have chosen to remain anonymous. While we prefer to disclose what we fund openly, we made exceptions in these cases, since we agreed that it would be better all things considered. 
  • We include the "of $X" to indicate that the grantees might still be looking for additional funds and encourage other funders to reach out to orgs that have not yet been fully funded. 

AI Assurance Technology Report ($30,000 of $30,000)

"Researching, writing, and publishing a standalone report on the market size and business case to invest in AI safety, security, and compliance startups (i.e., the AI Assurance Tech Market). We are targeting entrepreneurs, VCs, Impact Investors, LPs, and policymakers, in order to expedite market-based, private-sector actions towards AI risk mitigation."

Reasons for funding

  • We believe this report fills an important role as one of the first reports of its kind
  • Making the case that for-profit AI safety investments can open up the field to significantly larger funding pools, but this has to be done very carefully, and we believe the team was well suited for the job
  • We could fill an urgent funding need


Anonymous AI safety field-building initiative ($1,000,000 of $1,300,000)

Reasons for funding

  • We have strong reasons to believe this initiative will be beneficial for the world 
  • We believe we are among the best suited to fund this


Anonymous effective giving organization (£300,000 of £300,000)

Reasons for funding

  • We believe this organization does a good job of bringing in more funds to the EA community


Anonymous UHNWI Initiative  ($27,000 of $27,000)

"This project seeks to direct more funding to the most promising high-leverage initiatives tackling large and neglected problems. We aim to do this by 1) training major philanthropists to become ambassadors and encourage other UHNWIs to give effectively, and by 2) offering free-of-charge support and training to the most promising advisory orgs catering to UHNWIs with a high appetite for risk."

Reasons for funding

  • We are generally very excited about UHNW advising as it has asymmetric upside and believe EA is currently not doing enough of it
  • Very relevant team associated with the project 
  • They are only seeking funding to run a 6-month pilot, as such, it’s a low price tag.
     

EA Indonesia ($18,028 of $18,028)

"This project will fund a 0.5 FTE lead community builder (LCB) for the Effective Altruism Indonesia community group over two years. Community building in Indonesia is tractable, neglected, and highly impactful. The first-ever EA community group has been recently established in Indonesia. It has had several successes, largely guided by the leadership of an expat. He will be leaving Indonesia soon. A new LCB is urgently needed to ensure continuity and growth of the EA community in Indonesia. Failure to fill this role could result in the gradual dissolution of the community, and would waste the built-up momentum."

Reasons for funding

  • New EA community that has been gaining momentum in one of the world's largest countries
  • Indonesia consistently ranks as the most generous country according to the World Giving Index
  • Competitive cost

EA New Zealand ($50,000 of $80,000)

"Effective Altruism New Zealand (EA NZ) is seeking funding to sustain and expand our effective giving initiative, which currently directs around $1M NZD (~$0.6M USD) p.a. to effective charities. Impact is expected to grow further with strategic investment in marketing and donor retention, and there is considerable potential to expand reach within Aotearoa (New Zealand)’s philanthropic landscape, leveraging the nation's high rates of per-capita giving."

Reasons for funding 

  • EA NZ is the main organization driving community building in NZ
  • They have done a good job at community building, mostly with volunteers
  • They have only one employee and operate cost-effectively
  • In addition to community building, they have raised increasing amounts of funds with a high multiplier


EA Philippines ($43,000 of $43,000)

"Founded in 2018, Effective Altruism Philippines is home to a thriving community of Filipinos who use evidence, reason, and compassion to maximize their social impact with their careers and resources. We support a diverse network of Filipino EAs, consisting of three university student chapters in Manila, an emerging city chapter in the Mindanao region, and at least 14 various EA-aligned initiatives and organizations working on animal welfare, AI safety, global health and development, and more."

Reasons for funding

  • Probably the most successful community builders in the global south, having created a vibrant community, with 14 EA orgs started
  • They were not given renewed funding by EAIF in late 2023, as such our funding seems particularly important to keep them afloat 
  • Competitive cost


EA UK ($25,000 of $45,000)

"EA UK focuses on coordination in areas neglected by other EA organizations in the UK. This includes helping professionals figure out how they could be impactful in their careers and giving, connecting EA orgs to potential hires/funding, and being an entry point for people on the edge of EA. We also support the EA Finance network and global development EA coordination projects."

Reasons for funding

  • As a result of CEA scaling funding back sharply, EA UK was deciding whether to continue in current form or partially shutdown / or do a pretty hard pivot that seemed negative
  • The ‘hub’ that is the UK’s EA community has strengthened substantially over the past several years, and it continues to be home to a healthy diversity of perspectives. Some credit for this goes to EA UK
     

Founders Pledge ($400,000 of $400,000)

"FP has never been more effective in moving money to the charities making the most difference in the world. In 2023, we empowered our community to give a record $84.4m to our high-impact funding opportunities, which means that for every $1 invested in FP, $10.80 was distributed to our recommended charities. These achievements were accomplished amid a challenging fundraising environment, principally due to poor market conditions negatively impacting the liquidity of our members."

Reasons for funding

  • Trusted partner by many founders and established within the field
  • Likely that their biggest wins lie in the future. Despite this, they still have a solid multiplier

Giving Multiplier ($20,000 of $80,000)

"Giving Multiplier aims to promote wiser charitable giving by introducing people to expert-recommended, highly effective charities. To achieve this, we created an online platform (launched: November 2020) that allows people to donate to any charity they enjoy supporting and a high-impact charity. We then add to each donation by providing matching funds on top — the greater the proportion allocated to the effective charity, the higher the matching rate. Our platform allows people to both “give with their head and their heart”. We have empirically demonstrated this concept as an evidence-based strategy to increase the amount and effectiveness of people’s donation decisions while leaving our donors emotionally fulfilled. Further, the matching funds provide an additional incentive to use our platform, while allowing purely effectiveness-minded donors to support us by donating to the matching funds itself, creating a self-sustaining system of giving."

Reasons for funding 

  • Giving Multiplier (GM) has a novel and promising approach to nudge donors towards effective giving
  • In addition to their giving platform, they also inform audiences about effective giving through their appearances on podcasts and through other marketing means
  • They will have their first employed manager, who plans to develop more evidence of their impact and grow the volume of GM
  • Our grant is preceding their “real” fundraising. It is needed to do some marketing and improve the website before the giving season

High Impact Athletes ($50,000 of $200,000)

"Professional athletes earn ~$20 billion per year in the USA alone and, as a collective, are the most influential cultural figures of our time* with individual audiences that can number in the millions. Before HIA, ~zero of the world’s athletes were directing their philanthropy to high-impact charities. We have a proven track record in recruiting athletes to HIA, educating them about effective giving, and engaging them on the giving journey. Now we want to take the next step, using campaigns to leverage their platforms and fanbases to raise significant funds and awareness for the world’s best charities."

Reasons for funding

  • We believe this grant has a lot of information value given HIA’s unique approach and their ability to reach new audiences
  • The team has good, relevant connections and they are likely the only EAs that could do this type of work

Ending remarks

Again, all funding decisions are made personally by individual circle members and do not necessarily reflect the priorities of the funding circle in its entirety. For any information about funding or membership, please reach out to metacharityfunders@gmail.com!


 

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I am surprised by all the largest grants being anonymous. Curious about the reasoning here.

Great to hear the second round was successful. Given an anonymous AI org is taking up half of the budget, I wonder what the overall approach of the org is, what makes you think you're the best-suited funder for it, or what reasons led to granting anonymity to the organization. If there's anything you'd be willing to share on any of these, it'd be greatly appreciated!

Unfortunately, we can’t share much. In some cases, applicants have a preference for anonymity, for one reason or another and we have to respect their wishes to maintain trust and integrity in our application process.

In an investigative reporting setting, it is common to see the reason why anonymity was requested and granted, e.g. someone “requested anonymity to avoid potential retribution from their employer.” There is also a general norm around trusting quoted sources that can be verified over anonymous comments. I think these norms have evolved because they are useful for credibility.

I understand! Out of curiosity, does whether the organization want to stay anonymous factor into the decision in any way?

Applicants' wishes are usually aligned with our assessments, so far we haven't deviated from the wishes of the applicants we ultimately choose to fund. 

I think mhendric was asking whether an applicant's anonymity preferences affect their chance of getting funding

Ah, sorry that makes a lot more sense haha! 

All decisions are made by funders individually, so I can't speak for everyone, but overall I don't think it has influenced people much so far. 

Of course, if we thought applicants had bad reasons for wanting to remain anonymous then that would be a red flag. 

Thanks both, that's exactly what I meant to be asking.

For the EA Phillipines grant, curious if the $43k granted is inclusive of two donations made through Manifund? On https://manifund.org/projects/support-a-thriving-and-talented-community-of-ea-filipinos- , there were two large donations of 43000/4 = 10750, and I know that at least Anton was a participant in MCF.

This is totally fine fwiw (we're very happy to have these on Manifund!), I'm just checking so we don't double-assign credit for these donations.

Yes both of the larger donations where part of this grant.

Executive summary: Meta Charity Funders (MCF) granted $2,043,176 to 11 projects in their second funding round, a significant increase from the previous round, with plans to open the next round in late August 2024.

Key points:

  1. MCF funded a diverse set of projects, including AI safety initiatives, effective giving organizations, local EA groups, and initiatives targeting ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs).
  2. The quality of applications improved compared to the previous round, partly due to information shared by MCF. Clear Theories of Change are crucial for successful applications.
  3. Some smaller EA organizations received funding due to changes in CEA's funding priorities.
  4. Anonymity was granted to some organizations when deemed necessary, although MCF prefers open disclosure.
  5. The next funding round will open in late August 2024, with a minimum expected annual donation of $100,000 for new MCF members.
  6. MCF is particularly interested in funding initiatives targeting UHNWIs, but stresses the importance of having the right skillset for this work.

 

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

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