Some of our grantmaking priorities fall outside of our four main categories. These include:
History of Philanthropy
We want to learn about what philanthropy has accomplished in the past, and where it’s fallen short of its goals, to inform our picture of what great giving looks like. We have commissioned a number of case studies and occasionally fund other work as well. For more, see our History of Philanthropy page.
We try to consider a broad range of possible approaches to doing good, with the ultimate aim of improving others’ lives as much as we can. The community around effective altruism stresses a broadly similar endeavor. We therefore think of Open Philanthropy as an effective altruist organization (while knowing that this term is subject to multiple interpretations, not all of which apply to us).
We’re interested in supporting organizations that seek to introduce people to the idea of doing as much good as possible, provide them with guidance in doing so, connect them with each other, and generally grow and empower the effective altruism community. To date, we believe that these organizations have increased the number of people donating to outstanding charities, and have also raised the profile of outstanding causes including farm animal welfare and important global catastrophic risks. Further work and community growth could lead to a greater number of people who are seeking to do as much good as possible while considering a broad range of possible approaches.
The work we fund in this area is primarily focused on identifying and supporting people who could be helpful partners, critics, and grantees in the long run, especially for work focused on global catastrophic risks. This program does not fund organizations focused primarily on raising money for effective charities or organizations primarily focused on animal welfare or global poverty (though organizations in these categories might qualify for support under another focus area, e.g. farm animal welfare). This program does not accept unsolicited proposals for new projects.
Claire Zabel leads our grantmaking in this area.
Occasionally we come across a giving opportunity that doesn’t fit into any pre-existing focus area, but nonetheless seems outstanding. We pursue a very small number of giving opportunities in this category, and our interest in them depends on how much staff capacity we have available.