We are seeking proposals from applicants interested in growing the community of people motivated to improve the long-term future via the kinds of projects described below.
Applications are open until further notice and will be assessed on a rolling basis. If we plan to stop accepting applications, we will indicate it on this page at least a month ahead of time.
See this post for additional details about our thinking on these projects.
Proposals we are interested in
Programs that engage with promising young people
We are seeking proposals for programs that engage with young people who seem particularly promising in terms of their ability to improve the long-term future (and may have interest in doing so).
Here, by “particularly promising”, we mean young people who seem well-suited to building aptitudes that have high potential for improving the long-term future. Examples from the linked post include aptitudes for conducting research, advancing into top institutional roles, founding or supporting organizations, communicating ideas, and building communities of people with similar interests and goals, among others. Downstream, we hope these individuals will be fits for what we believe to be priority paths for improving the long-term future, such as AI alignment research, technical and policy work reducing risks from advances in synthetic biology, career paths involving senior roles in the national security community, and roles writing and speaking about relevant ideas, among others.
We’re interested in supporting a wide range of possible programs, including summer or winter camps, scholarship or fellowship programs, seminars, conferences, workshops, and retreats. We think programs with the following characteristics are most likely to be highly impactful:
- They engage people ages 15 - 25 who seem particularly promising in terms of their ability to improve the long-term future, for example people who are unusually gifted in STEM, economics, philosophy, writing, speaking, or debate.
- They cover effective altruism (EA), rationality, longtermism, global catastrophic risks, or related topics.
- They involve having interested young people interact with people currently working to improve the long-term future.
Examples of such programs that Open Philanthropy has supported include SPARC, ESPR, the SERI and FHI summer research programs, and the recent EA Debate Championship. However, we think there is room for many more such programs.
We especially encourage program ideas which:
- Have the potential to engage a large number of people (hundreds to tens of thousands) per year, though we think starting out with smaller groups can be a good way to gain experience with this kind of work.
- Engage with groups of people who don’t have many ways to enter relevant intellectual communities (e.g. they are not in areas with high concentrations of people motivated to improve the long-term future).
- Include staff who have experience working with members of the groups they hope to engage with—in particular, experience talking with young people about new ideas while being respectful of their intellectual autonomy and encouraging independent intellectual development.
We encourage people to have a low bar for submitting proposals to our program, but note that we view this as a sensitive area: we think programs like these have the potential to do harm by putting young people in environments where they could have negative experiences. Nicole Ross at the Centre for Effective Altruism (email [email protected]) is available to provide advice on these kinds of risks.
Projects aiming at widespread dissemination of relevant high-quality content
We are also seeking proposals for projects that aim to share high-quality, nuanced content related to improving the long-term future with large numbers of people. Projects could cover wide areas such as effective altruism, rationality, longtermism, or global catastrophic risk reduction, or they could have a more specific focus. We’re interested in supporting people both to create original content and to find new ways to share existing content.
Potential project types include:
- YouTube channels
- Massive open online courses (MOOCs)
- New magazines, webzines, blogs, and media verticals
- Books, including fiction
- Strategic promotion of existing content (with the permission of the creators of the content, or their representatives), especially those that have historically drawn in promising individuals
We encourage projects that involve content in major world languages other than English, especially by native speakers of those languages—we think projects in other languages are especially likely to reach people who haven’t had as many opportunities to engage with these ideas.
We would like interested people to have a low bar for submitting a proposal, but we think projects that misrepresent relevant ideas or present them uncarefully can do harm by alienating individuals who would have been sympathetic to them otherwise. We also think it’s important to be cognizant of potential political and social risks that come with content creation and dissemination projects in different countries. Nicole Ross at the Centre for Effective Altruism (email [email protected]) is available to provide advice on these kinds of risks.
If you think you might want to implement either of the kinds of outreach projects listed above, please submit a brief pre-proposal here. If we are interested in supporting your project, we will reach out to you and invite you to submit more information. We encourage submissions from people who are uncertain if they want to found a new project and just want funding to seriously explore an idea. If it would be useful for applicants developing their proposals, we are open to funding them to do full-time project development work for 3 months. We are happy to look at multiple pre-proposals from applicants who have several different project ideas.
We may also be able to help some applicants (e.g. by introducing them to potential collaborators, giving them feedback about plans and strategy, providing legal assistance, etc.) or be able to help find others who can. We are open to and encourage highly ambitious proposals for projects that would require annual budgets of millions of dollars, including proposals to scale existing projects that are still relatively small.
We intend to reply to all applications within two months. We have also been in touch with the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund and the Long-Term Future Fund, and they have expressed interest in funding proposals in the areas we describe below. If you want, you can choose to have them also receive your application via the same form we are using.
There is no deadline to apply; rather, we will leave this form open indefinitely until we decide that this program isn’t worth running, or that we’ve funded enough work in this space. If that happens, we will update this post noting that we plan to close the form at least a month ahead of time.
If you aren’t interested in starting something yourself, but you would be interested in collaborating on or helping with the kinds of outreach projects listed above (either full or part-time), let us know here. We will connect you to project leads if we feel like there is a good fit for your skills and interests.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].