BERI’s Organization Grants program focuses on making grants to organizations, rather than to individuals. Currently, all organizations receiving grants from BERI must be 501(c)(3)s. In the future, BERI may work to increase its capacity to make grants to other types of organizations.
BERI selects organizations based on their expected value to BERI’s mission: to improve human civilization’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing. Right now, BERI is focused on achieving its mission by working to reduce existential risks related to AI, because we believe this work is our main comparative advantage, but we’re open to supporting work on other existential risks as well, provided we can gather enough expertise to know that the work is likely to be good.
What is the process for obtaining an organization grant from BERI?
- Expression of interest. An organization may express interest in applying for a grant (e.g., by emailing email@example.com) or BERI may reach out proactively.
- Basic information gathering. If BERI believes the organization is a promising applicant, BERI will assign a staff member to serve as a grant investigator. The grant investigator will email the prospective grantee a set of grant investigation questions for written response.If the prospective grantee is well-known to BERI, we may abbreviate this step.
- Further investigation. The grant investigator may then conduct additional investigation (online research, talking to others in the x-risk ecosystem, asking for a call with the prospective grantee, etc.) to inform BERI’s decision.
- Grants Committee decision. The grant investigator will draft an internal grant proposal to BERI’s Grants Committee (more detail below), who will review and approve or reject the grant.
- Notification and logistics. The prospective grantee will be notified of the decision. If a decision has been made in favor of a grant, we will put the prospective grantee in touch with our Operations and Finance Manager to sort out the logistics of transferring the funds.
How long will it take to receive an organization grant from BERI?
This depends on how many other grants we are investigating at the same time and how quickly we receive responses to our questions. We expect that the process will typically take 1-3 months for most grantees. Organization-level interventions on existential risk are significant decisions that we think are deserving of our time, attention, and information-gathering to decide upon.
Who decides on the organization grants BERI makes?
Almost all organization grants that BERI has made so far have been funded from BERI’s “First Grants Fund”, established by donations from philanthropist Jaan Tallinn. Grants from that fund are recommended to BERI’s Board of Directors by consensus from BERI’s “First Grants Fund Committee”, comprising:
- Andrew Critch (BERI’s Executive Director),
- Kenzi Amodei (Special Projects and Management Consulting for BERI), and
- Jaan Tallinn (volunteer committee member).
What are the grants that BERI has made under this program?
Organizations that BERI has made grants to are listed below; note that this list may not be comprehensive.
- 2017-09-13: a $100,000 general support grant to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute
- 2017-10-27: a $100,000 general support grant to the Future of Life Institute
- 2017-10-27: a $50,000 general support grant to the Future of Life Institute
- 2017-12-15: a $25,000 general support grant to the Institute for Philosophical Research (no website)
- 2017-12-18: a $20,000 grant to the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for the support of the 2018 conference on AI, Ethics, and Society
- 2017-12-27: a $100,000 general support grant to the Center for Applied Rationality
- 2017-12-28: a $100,000 general support grant to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute
- 2018-01-24: a $25,000 grant to the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs for the general support of the charitable, educational, and scientific activities of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute.
- 2018-01-26: a $800,000 general support grant to the Center for Applied Rationality
- 2018-02-08: a $100,000 grant to the Center for Applied Rationality for the support of activities to develop and improve the website LessWrong 2.0.
- 2018-03-30: a $5,000 grant to the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for the support of the 2018 AAAI Spring Symposium on AI and Society: Ethics, Safety and Trustworthiness in Intelligent Agents.
- 2018-04-06: a $200,000 grant to Cambridge in America for the support of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
- 2018-04-10: a $300,000 general support grant to the Future of Life Institute
- 2018-07-12: a $50,000 grant to Theiss Research. We expect the grant will be used to support Carrick Flynn’s research with Prof. Allan DaFoe at the Future of Humanity Institute.
- 2018-07-24: a $300,000 general support grant to the Center for Applied Rationality
- 2018-07-24: a $400,000 gift to the UC Berkeley Foundation. We expect the gift will be used to support Dr. Andrew Critch’s work at the Center for Human-compatible AI.
- 2018-09-04: a $150,000 grant to the Center for Applied Rationality for the support of activities to develop and improve the website LessWrong 2.0.
- 2018-09-07: a $50,000 general support grant to the Institute for Philosophical Research (no website).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is BERI open to provide grants pending an organization’s status change to a 501(c)(3)?
We prefer to wait until 501(c)(3) status is obtained before evaluating an organization for a grant. We believe that sometimes organizations change their structure or mission in the course of becoming a 501(c)(3), and an evaluation before that shift may not accurately represent the entity that would ultimately receive funding from BERI.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.