1. Can I apply for a grant?

In general, we expect to identify most giving opportunities via proactive searching and networking.

We expect to fund very few proposals that come to us via unsolicited contact. As such, we have no formal process for accepting such proposals and may not respond to inquiries.

If you would like to suggest that we consider a grant — whether for your project or someone else’s — please contact us. We publish a good deal of information on the types of work we seek to fund and why. We recommend reviewing this information before contacting us. A good starting point is our list of focus areas.

2. Opportunities for funding

While we almost never fund unsolicited proposals, we do run programs that solicit funding requests from individuals, groups, and organizations. If any of these sound like a good fit, we strongly encourage you to apply!

2.1 The Century Fellowship

This fellowship is a two-year program that supports early-career individuals who want to work on challenges the world could face this century, and which could have a lasting and significant impact on the long-term future.

Fellows receive base funding starting at $100,000 per year, a health insurance stipend, and additional funding to spend on personal productivity improvements and travel to relevant events. They are also eligible for assistance in starting a new project, including seed funding, funding for collaborators, and access to legal and tax advice.

See the full post for the application link and more details on the program. Applications are due by December 31st, 2022, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time, and will be assessed on a rolling basis.

2.2 The University Organizer Fellowship

This fellowship provides funding for individuals who want to direct or support university student groups focused on topics relevant to improving the long-term future, including effective altruism, longtermism, rationality, or specific cause areas. Individuals are eligible for funding at any university and may apply without a particular university in mind.

Fellows receive a salary, funding for group expenses, and additional funding to spend on personal productivity improvements and travel to relevant events.

You can also use this program to request additional funding for your group without applying for the fellowship.

See the full post for the application link and more details on the program. There is no application deadline; we will assess applications on a rolling basis.

2.3 Early-career funding for individuals interested in improving the long-term future

This program aims to provide support for individuals to pursue education or projects that will position them to improve the long-term future.

See the full post for the application link and more details on the program. Applications are open until further notice and will be assessed on a rolling basis.

2.4 Request for proposals to grow the community of people motivated to improve the long-term future

We are seeking proposals for two kinds of projects:

  • Programs that engage with young people who seem well-suited to building aptitudes that will help them to improve the long-term future.
  • Programs that share high-quality, nuanced content related to improving the long-term future with a wide audience.

You can apply to create a project or seriously explore an idea. If you aren’t interested in starting something yourself, you can also apply as a potential collaborator on someone else’s project.

See the full post for application links and more details on the program. There is no application deadline; we will assess applications on a rolling basis.

2.5 Course development grants

This program aims to provide support to academics for the development of university courses (including online courses) on a range of topics related to Open Philanthropy’s work to improve the long-term future. While we are primarily looking to fund new courses, we are also accepting proposals from applicants who want to convert in-person courses into freely-available online courses.

See the full post for application links and more details on the program. There is no application deadline; we will assess applications on a rolling basis.

2.6 Undergraduate scholarships

This program aims to provide support for promising and altruistically-minded students who:

  • Have demonstrated exceptional academic merit
  • Are interested in using their careers to do as much good as possible
  • Hope to start an undergraduate degree at a top university in the US or UK
  • Do not qualify as domestic students at those universities for the purposes of admission and financial aid

Applications are due by August 15, 2022, at 11:59 pm PST. You can apply, and see more details, via the scholarship page.

2.7 Cause Exploration Prizes

We are awarding over $120,000 in prizes writing on questions that will help us explore new areas.

We’re most interested in responses to our open prompt: “What new cause area should Open Philanthropy consider funding?”

We also have prompts in the following areas:

Submissions are due Thursday, August 4, 2022, at 11 pm PDT. For more details, see the official website.

2.8 Technology Policy Fellowship

We are running a US policy fellowship program focused on high-priority emerging technologies, especially AI and biotechnology. Selected applicants will receive policy-focused training and mentorship and be supported in matching with a host organization for a full-time, fully-funded fellowship based in the Washington, DC area.

Applications are due Sept 15th, 2022, by 11:59 p.m. PST. You can apply via this form. If you’d like to be notified about upcoming, live information sessions about the fellowship, sign up here.

3. What is your process for evaluating potential grants?

Our process for evaluating potential grants is evolving, and it varies quite a bit from case to case.

When we are considering a grant, one of our staff will serve as the primary investigator and contact person for the potential grantee. This person will explain the process we intend to follow for evaluating the particular grant and answer any questions. In general, our process involves the following:

  • The investigator will have one or more initial conversations with the potential grantee, to get a basic picture of the case for the grant.
  • The investigator will aim to answer key questions about the grant, through a mix of conversations with the potential grantee, requests for written materials, and conversations with others. The depth with which we investigate potential grants varies; it will be higher for grants that are larger and/or likely to require more involvement from our staff.
  • The investigator will write up their view of the case for the grant, so that they can discuss it internally and come to a decision.
  • Grants typically will be recommended to the Open Philanthropy Project fund, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. In some cases, we make grants directly from the Open Philanthropy Project 501(c)(3) or make recommendations to Good Ventures, the Open Philanthropy Action Fund (a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization), or to other entities.
  • Throughout the process, the investigator will aim to keep the grantee posted on the likelihood of receiving a grant, the likely timeline, and the likely amount of investigation that will be needed.

4. Do you require grantees to share information publicly? Are you willing to keep some information confidential?

We seek to share a significant amount of information about our work, and the work we support, publicly. All else equal, we prefer making grants about which we can share more information.

With that said, we aim to balance our commitment to information-sharing with our commitment to maximizing our impact and building strong and productive partnerships. That means:

  • We never share private information from another organization or individual without permission.
  • We share drafts of our grant writeups (upon request) and blog posts with the people and organizations discussed therein and invite their suggestions.
  • We work with our partners to make key information public without unnecessarily undermining their work.
  • We write more thoroughly about major decisions and grants than minor ones.
  • If we encountered an outstanding giving opportunity where the costs of information sharing significantly outweighed the benefits, we would fund the opportunity and refrain from discussing it. But because we believe the benefits of information sharing are substantial, we would set the bar accordingly high.