This post is part of the Community Events Retrospective sequence.
Last year, we trialled grantmaking to support other events run by EA community members. We mostly supported small retreats for EA groups, particularly in regions outside of core EA hubs. Some examples include:
- EA Midwest "Next Steps" Retreat (retrospective)
- Strategic Philanthropy and Altruism Conference (at NYU Abu Dhabi)
- Australia and New Zealand Group Leaders Retreat
- African movement builders summit (Cape Town, South Africa)
- An AI Governance Student Retreat
- French X-Risk and Safe Technologies Summit (FERSTS)
- EA Norway national conference
We will now be winding down this grantmaking programme while maintaining our support for EAGx events which were also categorised as Community Events. This is because:
- As outlined in the first post in this sequence, we found that EAGx events were more cost-effective than the retreats we made grants to. With reduced funding available for EA community-building efforts as a result of the FTX bankruptcy, the funding bar is higher and we need to prioritise more aggressively.
- Other funders (such as the EA Infrastructure Fund, the CEA groups team and Open Philanthropy) also offer funding to support EA-aligned events, so resources will still be available for this kind of activity.
- We are increasingly excited about supporting cause-specific events alongside our EAGx portfolio. We’ll continue to support events aimed at reducing existential risk, and we’re excited to expand this program. We’ll be exploring and potentially expanding this service over the coming 6 months.
One more minor consideration which factored into this decision is that an events-specific funding programme meant that organisations were requesting additional marginal funding to run events, but it was hard to establish whether an event-specific grant was the best marginal use of funds for that organisation.
- In some cases, an organisation or EA group would apply for funding to run a retreat and I would need to contact the funder providing their general support to establish whether they thought running an event would be a good use of additional funds for that organisation, based on their overall assessment of their activities. Evaluating a single line item for a group or organisation is difficult, and I weakly think that grantmakers can form a clearer picture of an organisation’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities by evaluating them as a whole.
- To be clear, organisations and individuals can and should apply for the funding opportunities available to them and I do not think that any applicant to the Community Events Programme should not have applied.
We might continue to fund some small events, especially those being organised in the vicinity of EAG and EAGx events.
We want to emphasise that this decision does not imply that the events supported by this programme weren’t impactful or worth doing. Many events supported by the programme led to some really positive outcomes for the attendees, and some were the first EA community-building events in their respective regions (such as the African EA movement builders summit and the Strategic Philanthropy and Altruism Conference at NYU Abu Dhabi). We’d like to thank the event organisers for their hard work and dedication.