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Our Approach

Our approach to funding is somewhat different from the approach that people often associate with foundation grantmaking.

This page explains how. We hope it encourages people outside of the traditional non-profit world to work with us.

We try to make it fast and easy to apply for funding

We aim to respond quickly, ask for the information that is needed and no more, and keep you posted on when to expect a final decision. We are inspired by Fast Grants and aim to arrive at decisions on most proposals within 14 days. For larger and more complex decisions that require more time, we’ll provide an update on what to expect by then.

We’re open to private sector norms

We welcome applications from for-profits, non-profits, and hybrid organizations; we appreciate that structuring as a for-profit can help increase recruitment and improve sustainability.

Non-profit salaries are traditionally quite modest. However, we don’t want modest salaries to stand in the way of progress on humanity’s most pressing problems. So we’re supportive of paying private sector salaries when that will provide the best incentives.

What we care about is how much good you can do with the funding we provide.

We’re willing to take bets

It’s okay if you think your project will probably fail, as long as the upside is big enough if you do succeed.

We’re aiming to scale

We’re particularly interested in funding massively scalable projects: projects that could scale up to productively spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year. 

Tech startups start small and then rapidly scale. We’d like to see that in philanthropy too. GiveDirectly is a model example in global development. But we’re currently short on massively scalable projects that address our areas of interest.

We want to change that. We’ll try to seed lots of promising new projects, and then help the best ones scale quickly.

To be clear, we don’t assume that the best project ideas are always massively scalable. We think the Alignment Research Center is a great example of an outstanding project that isn’t. If you’ve got an awesome idea for a non-scalable project, that’s great—we encourage you to pursue it, and to apply for funding if you need it.