Preemptively pledging $5k for when Greg accepts the transfer and I'm able to add to Joel's existing offer (at which point I'll write up my thoughts in more detail).
The Good Ancestors Project (GAP) is an influential Australian charity dedicated to crafting and implementing evidence-based policy proposals to shape a brighter, sustainable future. Over its inaugural year, GAP has achieved noteworthy successes, including the expansion of a $5 billion disaster readiness fund, pivotal reforms in charity law, and vigorous advocacy for stringent AI risk assessments within government circles.
Here is GAP’s website, which documents most of the work made public to date.
GAP's mission revolves around:
Develop and promote clear, actionable policy proposals founded on empirical evidence.
Cultivate and leverage relationships with politicians and public servants for effective policy implementation.
Drive public support for these initiatives through media engagement and community activation.
The requested funding will serve to:
Retain key talent, notably GAP's CEO Greg Sadler, whose expertise and relationships are instrumental to the charity's success.
Finance ongoing and upcoming campaigns, including the pivotal biosecurity campaign targeting a Royal Commission.
Facilitate essential operational activities like travel for campaigns.
Potentially hire researchers to craft further policy proposals.
Leading the team is GAP’s CEO, Greg Sadler, a seasoned professional with 15 years in the Australian public service. He has notably served as the senior national security adviser to the Home Affairs Minister. Beyond his public service accolades, Greg is the Secretary of Effective Altruism Australia and holds board positions on several impact-focused charities.
Under his leadership, GAP has spearheaded three major campaigns in its inaugural year:
Successfully persuading government to expand a $5 billion disaster readiness fund to include catastrophic disasters.
Leveraging a relationship with the Charity Minister, Andrew Leigh MP, to drive reforms to charity law to allow charities to better work on X-risk and animal welfare.
Pressing government to take the risks of AI seriously, including in international forums and standards development bodies.
Inadequate resources hindering ongoing and future campaigns, and/or forcing Greg Sadler’s return to public service.
GAP operates with an existing runway of approximately $400k AUD but requires additional funding of $80k USD. This amount is pivotal to sustain the project. Should GAP cease operations before June 30, 2024, the granted funds will be returned.
2 months ago
In my regrantor bio, I wrote that my “edge as a regrantor [...] comes from having an unusually large professional network.” This grant is primarily a bet on that network — when I asked people I trust about projects they are unusually excited about, the Good Ancestors Project received a very strong recommendation.
The case in favor seems clean:
Greg Sadler is a very senior public servant who deeply understands Australian government. This means he is more likely to have considerable influence.
He has already had some reasonably significant wins; above pre-funding expectations.
Without additional funding, he might soon return to his previous position.
This makes it more likely that the impact of this grant is counterfactual.
I take Greg’s revealed preferences (wanting to continue with GAP if possible) to reveal that he believes that returning to his previous position would be a less impactful option.
The effect on incentives from not funding senior professionals who make bold moves into more impactful work (and exceed expectations for this work) when the funding winds change seems awful.
Greg has tentatively agreed that “[i]f GAP stops operating before 30 June 2024 (or some similar date) it will return this grant.”
I leave the exact details to be worked out with Austin.
This was somewhat important to me. Manifund dollars will likely be necessary but insufficient for GAP to continue; I wanted to make sure that the funding wouldn’t be wasted if GAP wasn’t able to raise remaining funds.
I do not sense that there is much negative selection going on here.
My main reservation is presumably the same reservation that other grantmakers have had — the Australian government is not an unusually important actor with regards to making advanced AI safe or ending pandemics. To me, this seems like a pretty severe reservation; I worry that I am not triaging sufficiently hard.
The incentives point above weighed on me quite heavily when thinking about this grant. At one point (not now) I thought it would be the pivotal consideration. But I distrust my reasoning here for two reasons:
My regrant is a very blunt instrument against this problem, and
It is more reasonable for implicit contracts to be broken in extreme circumstances unforeseen by both parties, and the FTX disaster (with its effects on the remaining funding environment) is one such circumstance.
Lastly, I’m a little concerned that making this regrant will prevent me from making offers that I am even more excited about in the near future.
Less of a process, more of a cloud of reasons:
$10k is the smallest amount that felt respectful of Greg’s time.
$10k is ~40% of my remaining budget; I have other projects that I would like to fund.
Greg was happy to receive $10k even though it is significantly below his total ask (which I would not be able to cover using my regranting budget).
Please disclose e.g. any romantic, professional, financial, housemate, or familial relationships you have with the grant recipient(s).