February 2017: $46,400 to the Good Food Institute


October 2015: $20,000 to Raising for Effective Giving

This year I spent a lot more time than usual considering where to donate, and I settled on Raising for Effective Giving. I wrote up the details of my process; see the linked article for how I came to this decision.

May 2015: $3000 to Animal Charity Evaluators

2014 was the first year where I had earned more than a few hundred dollars in income, so I felt comfortable donating a larger amount of money in 2015. (Previous donations were really my parents’ money.) I signed the Giving What We Can pledge promising to donate 20% of my lifetime income; I donated more than 10% but less than 20% this year since I was still a student and wasn’t working full-time.

Once again, Stanford EA decided to collectively donate to a charity, although we did not partner with the Arrillaga-Andreesen Foundation. We had a lot of internal disagreements, but I believe these points all represented the majority view:

The two most popular choices were The Humane League and Animal Charity Evaluators. I felt highly uncertain between these two, but weakly favored THL. I did not see that ACE had a strong case that additional money donated to them would improve the quality of their recommendations.

We came to a consensus on our four top choices (THL, ACE, SCI, and a four-way split between MIRI/FHI/FLI/CSER) and voted between them. I voted for THL; ACE got the most votes. I felt sufficiently uncertain about my preference for THL that I decided to follow the group decision and donate to ACE.

May 2014: $500 to The Humane League

Stanford Effective Altruism partnered with the Arrillaga-Andreesen Foundation; we were to make a grant to some charity, which the foundation would match up to $2000. We decided that we wanted to give to a charity with reasonable evidence of effectiveness, and we were fairly confident in ACE’s recommendation of The Humane League, so we decided to choose it as our grantee. We collectively raised $5000, to which I contributed $500.

2011-2013: Intermission

During this period I discovered GiveWell and considered donating to their top charities. Then I found Brian Tomasik’s essay arguing that we should donate to vegetarian advocacy (at the time he endorsed this as the most effective cause area). I thought that this might be more effective than GiveWell top charities but felt uncomfortable with the lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness. I did not donate any money during this period.

I joined Stanford Effective Altruism in 2012 (at the time called Stanford THINK). I did not donate any money until later but this gave me a platform for in-person discussion about effective charity.

2009-2010: Various donations

During this period I had the intuition that it was important to donate to global poverty and to find effective charities but I gave only cursory thought to what makes a charity effective. I made a few small donations (up to $200) to charities that I thought were reasonably effective.