Charitable Donations

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 a lot of 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!

Donations

Date Amount Organization

Notes

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.

Thanks to Tableizer for helping me create this table. And thanks to Giving What We Can for getting me into the habit of helping others.

This page was inspired by Peter Hurford.