I try to follow the principles of effective altruism: an ethical system focused on improving the world using scientific evidence and careful reasoning. I donate roughly 10% of any money I earn.
I’ve made my donations public, as a way of showing what “giving 10%” can look like. I’m not the most analytical donor you’ll find, and I don’t claim to have found the perfect charity, but I think that what I’ve given has helped others a lot more than it would have helped me.
Why Do I Give?
I’ve lived a very fortunate life. I was born into a well-off American family, the son of two parents with college degrees. I attended a famous university. I didn’t deserve any of this; if I’d been born somewhere else, my life would have gone very differently. I give because I want to share the results of my luck with the less fortunate.
I also give because I think that human happiness is the best thing in the world (in all its forms: love, excitement, satisfaction…). I already have a good, satisfying life, so I don’t need to buy more happiness. Instead, I can use money to help many other people live happier lives. This strikes me as a fantastic opportunity.
If you’d like to know more about my giving, or if you’re interested in effective altruism, let’s talk!
|2021||3250||Multiple organizations (43% EA Infrastructure Fund)||~4% of pre-tax income.
I'm currently "bundling" my donations — donating every other year so that I can increase my tax benefits. (The charities I support do more good per dollar than my government.)
This means that my 2021 donations were haphazard and opportunistic; I focused on random opportunities I stumbled across, without a greater plan in mind.
To keep up with my pledge, I should donate at least 16% of my pre-tax income in 2022.
|2020||29025||Multiple organizations (93% GiveWell)||~23% of pre-tax income.
I placed highly in several high-value Magic: the Gathering tournaments this year, leading to an income spike. I pledged 50% of my winnings to GiveWell, which made up almost all of the year's donations.
|2019||8898||Multiple organizations (56% GiveWell)||~12% of pre-tax income.
$6998 was eligible for this year's Giving Tuesday Facebook donation match, of which $4499 was actually matched. (The last donation was made a few seconds too late, because the matching funds run out fast.)
|2018||4625||Multiple organizations (43% GiveWell)||~11% of pre-tax income.
I spent most of the year freelancing, but started a full-time job at the end of October.
$4000 of this was matched by Facebook, making the year's total donation ~$8600 (minus the impact of whatever donations Facebook would have matched if I hadn't used some of their limited match funds).
|2017||3150||Multiple organizations (65% CEA)||~8% of pre-tax income.
I left my job in December 2016 to move and get married, so money was a bit more precarious this year. Spent the year freelancing and planning a wedding.
|2016||8100||Multiple organizations (40% AMF)||~11% of pre-tax income.
This was my first full year working a salaried job.
|2015||3150||Multiple organizations (50% GiveWell)||~8% of pre-tax income.
I started my first-ever full-time job in July.
|2014||1685||Multiple organizations (40% GiveWell)||~9% of pre-tax income.
This was my first year as a Giving What We Can member. I was a full-time student throughout the year.
I also keep a spreadsheet with details on every donation I’ve ever made.
This page was inspired by Peter Hurford.