The Open Philanthropy Project is looking for a General Counsel to help us manage legal risks while ensuring we achieve our programmatic goals. We are currently a ~20-person organization giving away over $100 million per year. In the coming years we plan to grow giving substantially, and continue to broaden the types of grants we make. We also aspire to become a key source of giving recommendations - and a role model organization - for other major philanthropists.

Our General Counsel will be responsible for managing all our contracts and legal agreements and helping ensure we are compliant when giving for purposes such as lobbying, funding individuals and for-profit organizations, and international grants. This position will also involve working broadly across areas such as evaluating the legal structure of our giving vehicles, maintaining general organizational compliance, and assessing and managing risks. The ideal candidate is passionate about using their legal expertise to maximize our ability to do good and is comfortable with a fluid role in a dynamic environment.

About the Open Philanthropy Project

The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes our findings. Our main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana.

We aim to do as much good as possible with the resources we have. Rather than choose focus areas based on funders’ personal passions, we stress openness to many possibilities and have chosen our focus areas based on importance, neglectedness and tractability. We’re particularly interested in high-risk, high-reward giving that may be too unconventional or long-term for other funders. Our current giving areas include global health and development, scientific research, criminal justice reform, farm animal welfare, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, and potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence.

The Open Philanthropy Project is structured as a limited liability company (LLC). The Open Philanthropy Project LLC employs staff but it does not regularly make grants to other organizations. We typically recommend grants to the Open Philanthropy Project fund, a donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Support for the Open Philanthropy Project fund comes primarily from Cari and Dustin, though historically other donors have contributed as well. In some cases, the Open Philanthropy Project makes grant recommendations directly to Good Ventures, the Open Philanthropy Action Fund (a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization), or to other entities, including some that are not primarily funded or controlled by Dustin or Cari. Although the majority of our funding recommendations are directed to 501(c)(3) organizations, we also recommend contributions to other kinds of organizations when we believe that the programmatic benefits justify them.

The role

Duties for this role include:

  • Review all potential grants for compliance issues and collaborate with staff to develop solutions when needed.
  • Ensure that our contractor, employee, grant, and scholarship agreements are in line with our strategic goals and could serve as a model for others. Review external agreements and tailor our agreements to fit specific situations.
  • Develop a quantitative understanding of tax trade-offs between different giving vehicles.
  • Proactively help our organization navigate general legal considerations.

Desired skills and experience

  • Experience working in General Counsel’s office or corporate compliance department preferred.
  • Experience in 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) nonprofit law preferred.
  • Licensed to practice law in California.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, especially the ability to explain one’s views clearly.
  • Experience supervising legal work of others, such as external counsel preferred.
  • Able to scope legal risks and comfort providing rough estimates of likelihood and severity.

Personal characteristics we look for

  • Passion for the Open Philanthropy Project’s core values of impact maximization and openness.
  • Strong self-direction and self-motivation.
  • Directness and openness in giving and receiving feedback.
  • A drive to question and improve everything about the organization rather than taking it as given.
  • Comfort explaining and discussing decisions using clear, systematic frameworks.
  • Comfort seeking unconventional solutions and accepting a degree of risk.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. We don’t hesitate to radically change course if doing so is the best way to further our mission.

Additional information

This will be a full-time position, and the candidate can work from our San Francisco office or from a remote location.

We will consider sponsoring applications for work authorization for exceptional candidates.

As part of our dedication to equal employment opportunity and the diversity of our staff, the Open Philanthropy Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law. We especially encourage applications from women and minorities.

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at jobs@openphilanthropy.org.

To apply

Please send an email with a resume and brief cover letter explaining your interest in the position to jobs@openphilanthropy.org.