I know it’s been a while since my last update. A lot has been happening over the last couple of months. The Open Philanthropy Project have given CEA a grant of $2.5 million to support our work, we’ve begun running trial periods with new staff and just ran both the the EA Global San Francisco conference and a small event for EA community leaders.
You can read about some of our plans for the grant in our announcement and more about the Open Philanthropy Project will be assessing us on in theirs.
Broadly speaking, we will be spending approximately half of the money we’re receiving from Open Philanthropy on regranting to promising work in the community, either directly through EA Grants or via separate grants to local groups. There are many talented people in the effective altruism community and we believe providing them with funding to try promising projects and share what they learn could be really impactful.
The rest of the funding will be going towards increasing staff salaries and hiring new staff, particularly to increase our events team capacity. Now that the community has grown we no longer know each other in person. This means sharing all the nuance of the different considerations is much harder. We’re currently thinking about how we can both create online content that gives people an in-depth understanding of important EA concepts but also create events that really help increase people’s understanding of and commitment to effective altruism.
After an intensive hiring process we’ve offered month trial positions to four people, one to work on events and three developers. These are two areas where we are especially bottlenecked as a team.
As we added people to the team we also needed to add structure in order to ensure we have capacity to give all our staff have the support and direction they need. I’m pleased to announce that Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg, who has been taking on more and more of our US operations, has stepped up to manage our operations team. This team consists of Caitlin Elizondo and Kathryn Mecrow, our new office managers in the US and UK respectively. Larissa Hesketh-Rowe our communications specialist will manage our Community Development Team which includes our events, Giving What We Can, community and local group support. This is an important step for us both in improving our efficiency as an organisation and our focus in particular areas. We do have further to go on this but this is an important step.
At this year’s conference we focused on doing good together; the importance of trying a hits based or portfolio approach to doing good.
In the early days of the EA community we had a few bright people with unusual ideas but little resources with which to effect change. This meant that every individual really needed to focus on how can I do the most good. As the community has grown we had a lot more resources available both in terms of money and talent with which to make a difference. Instead of thinking about how can I do the most good, we now need to start thinking how can we do the most good.
With more people in the community and money to support promising projects we can specialise. We can explore new paths to impact in higher risk areas like policy or entrepreneurship and share what we learn with a lot more people (making the knowledge more useful). We also have a lot more people to cooperate with and so poor interactions between people can have greater negative effects.
This was also some of the motivation behind us organising small events to bring together leaders in the EA community, to ensure we’re cooperating more on an organisational level and can tackle challenges and make progress on disagreements together.
At CEA protecting and supporting the effective altruism community in this way as it grows is a big part of what we see as our role.