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Vision & Values

Open Philanthropy’s mission is to give as effectively as we can and share our findings openly so that anyone can build on our work. We aim to reflect the following values in our research and grantmaking:

Global humanitarianism

We believe that people have equal intrinsic value regardless of the circumstances of their birth, and that animals’ lives have value, too. We believe economic development and technological innovation have greatly increased human well-being. We’re optimistic that this trend will continue, and we hope to play a part in accelerating it. We’re motivated by our vision of a day when every person’s needs are met and each of us is empowered to shape our own life.

Risk tolerance and patience

We’re open to supporting high-risk, high-reward work, as well as work that could take a long time to pay off. But all else equal, we prefer to do good quickly because helping people empowers them to help themselves and others, meaning the good we accomplish compounds over time. We’re open to shorter-term, evidence-backed giving opportunities (such as GiveWell’s top charities) as well as very long-term, high-risk opportunities (such as efforts to reduce global catastrophic risks or change public policy). For more on the latter, see our post about hits-based giving.

Action in the face of uncertainty

We’ve attempted to outline the values that guide our philanthropy, though we remain uncertain on some fundamental questions. But we don’t believe we need to resolve such questions fully to take action.

Prior to beginning to operate independently in June 2017, Open Philanthropy was originally incubated as a partnership between the foundation Good Ventures and GiveWell. Both groups have their own statements of values that continue to inform our work: