Open Philanthropy (organization)

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Open Philanthropy
Open Philanthropy Project.jpg
FoundedJune 2017; 3 years ago (2017-06)
FoundersHolden Karnofsky
Dustin Moskovitz
Cari Tuna
Area served
MethodGrants, funding, research
Chief Executive Officer
Holden Karnofsky
Cari Tuna

Open Philanthropy (formerly called the Open Philanthropy Project) is a research and grantmaking foundation. It aims to make grants and to share its findings openly.[1] Open Philanthropy identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes their findings online. Its current chief executive officer is Holden Karnofsky and its main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz.


Open Philanthropy was originally incubated as a partnership between Good Ventures, Tuna and Moskovitz's foundation, and GiveWell, a charity evaluator founded by Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld.[2] The partnership named itself the "Open Philanthropy Project" in 2014, and began operating independently in 2017.[3][4]

Focus areas[edit]

Open Philanthropy defines a 'cause' as "the field around a particular problem or opportunity—such as reforming the criminal justice system, preventing pandemics, or reducing the burden of Alzheimer's disease—in which it is necessary to develop expertise and networks to make good giving decisions."[5] According to Open Philanthropy, the choice of a focus area—defined as a high-priority cause—is among the most important choice a philanthropist makes.

Open Philanthropy prioritizes causes that score particularly highly on some combination of the following three criteria:[6]

  • Importance. How many individuals are affected, and how deeply?
  • Neglectedness. How many resources are already being allocated?
  • Tractability. How easily can further progress be made?

As of August 2019, Open Philanthropy has selected focus areas primarily from the following four categories:[7]

  1. U.S. policy.[8] Focus areas: criminal justice reform,[9] farm animal welfare, macroeconomic stabilization policy, immigration policy and land use reform.
  2. Global catastrophic risks.[10] Focus areas: biosecurity and pandemic preparedness and potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence.
  3. Scientific research.[11][12] Focus areas: human health and wellbeing, scientific innovation, science supporting biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, transformative basic science, science policy and infrastructure, and other scientific research areas.
  4. Global health and development.[13] No focus areas yet identified.


As of August 2019, Open Philanthropy has made around 650 grants to over 370 unique organizations, disbursing a total of $857 million.[14] Notable grantees include Deworm the World Initiative ($69.5m), the Malaria Consortium ($59.5m), the Center for Security and Emerging Technology ($55m), GiveDirectly ($54.8m), the Against Malaria Foundation ($49.2m), OpenAI ($30m), the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative ($23.5m) the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security ($18.9m), Sherlock Biosciences ($17.5m), The Humane League ($17.3m), Helen Keller International ($13.7m), the Nuclear Threat Initiative ($11.9m), the Future of Humanity Institute ($12m), the Centre for Effective Altruism ($12.9m), and 80,000 Hours ($6.4m).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vision & Values". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  2. ^ Matthews, Dylan (24 April 2015). "You have $8 billion. You want to do as much good as possible. What do you do?". Vox.
  3. ^ "Who We Are". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  4. ^ Moses, Sue-Lynn (20 August 2014). "Here's What Philanthropy Looks Like When Millennials From Tech and Finance Get Together". Inside Philanthropy.
  5. ^ "Cause Selection". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  6. ^ Matthews, Dylan (30 October 2018). "Billionaires are spending their fortunes reshaping America's schools. It isn't working". Vox.
  7. ^ "Focus Areas". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  8. ^ "U.S. Policy". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  9. ^ Rojc, Philip (15 July 2019). "Quantitative Advocacy: How an Effective Altruist Funder Backs Criminal Justice Reform". Inside Philanthropy.
  10. ^ "Global Catastrophic Risks". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  11. ^ "Scientific Research". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  12. ^ Callaway, Ewen (20 December 2017). "Facebook billionaire pours funds into high-risk research". Nature.
  13. ^ "Global Health & Development". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  14. ^ "Grants Database". Open Philanthropy. Retrieved 19 September 2019.

External links[edit]