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 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!


202323492Multiple (~75% GiveWell)
(all political donations)
Still "bundling" donations, but made some time-sensitive political contributions in 2022 to candidates who hold reasonable views on critical issues (mostly pandemic preparedness).
20213250Multiple organizations (43% EA Infrastructure Fund)Discussing income this year doesn't make sense, as I'm currently "bundling" my donations — donating every few years 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.
202029025Multiple 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.
20198898Multiple 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.)
20184625Multiple 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).
20173150Multiple 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.
20168100Multiple organizations (40% AMF)~11% of pre-tax income.

This was my first full year working a salaried job.
20153150Multiple organizations (50% GiveWell)~8% of pre-tax income.

I started my first-ever full-time job in July.
20141685Multiple 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.