CHARITY DRIVE KICK OFF

I am excited to announce the launch of the fifth annual charity drive, DoubleUpDrive.com! Last year, we raised over $4.5 MILLION, and I am very excited to see what we can do this year!

How it works: Like in years past, if you donate money to any of the following ten charities, and you forward your receipt to receipts@doubleupdrive.com, we will match your donation, up to $1,140,000 total. This doubles the effectiveness and the impact of your giving.
(Please note that I do not personally manage the above email address, if you need to contact me regarding the drive, please message Dan@DoubleUpDrive.com)

Join the Matching Team?
Part of the beauty of this drive is how easy it is for others to participate. Each year, we have had participants  join in to add more funds to be matched. Last year Fedor Holz generously contributed $250,000 towards Give Directly. If you would like to discuss joining from the matching side, please email me at Dan@DoubleUpDrive.com



Our matching breakdown is $914,000 towards “Current Funds” (Charities 1-8 on the list below) and $200,000 towards “Future Funds” (Charities 9-10 on the list).


For donations larger than $10,000 please contact us first. We want to discuss whether we are affecting your donation habits, before matching very large amounts.

Here are the 10 charities:

 

    1. Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program
    2. GiveDirectly
    3. Hellen Keller International’s Vitamin A Supplementation Program
    4. Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion**
    5. StrongMinds.org*
    6. Massachusetts Bail Fund
    7. The Good Food Institute
    8. Animal Charity Evaluator Effective Animal Advocacy Fund
    9. Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)
    10. REG Fund

 

 

 

*Dan’s favorites for this year’s drive

We spent a lot of time trying to pick the most effective, most valuable charities across a range of important issues. Below, I’ve written a bit about each charity and why we decided to include them in this year’s drive:

1) Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program: Malaria is still a major problem in low- and middle-income countries, but it is preventable. 500,000 people per year die, and 400 million fall ill. Prevention is cheap and effective. Last year we included AMF, but GiveWell told us that it currently views donations to Malaria Consortium as higher priority than donations to AMF. GiveWell is a top authority on ranking the effectiveness of charitable giving, and we were happy to defer to them for a decision such as this. Note that AMF is still great and we were close to including it instead.

2) GiveDirectly: Gives money to the extremely poor, and allow them to decide what to do with it. For 65 cents per day, you can support someone in Kenya. Donations have the added benefit of generally supporting the research studies that GiveDirectly carries out. GiveWell told me that GiveDirectly’s management and organization is amongst the best for charitable giving. I also like and admire the simplicity of their model.

3) Hellen Keller International’s Vitamin A Supplementation Program: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 250 million pre-school children are Vitamin A deficient. This silent syndrome compromises immune system function, leaving young children unable to fight common childhood infections such as measles or diarrhea. Vitamin A deficiency is also the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness in developing countries, with up to 500,000 children going blind because of it each year. In addition, half of these children will die within a year of losing their sight. For $1.35, you can fund delivery of a Vitamin A supplement.

4) Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion: Charities’ funding needs change over time, depending on the opportunities they have to work in new locations, the amount of funding they received from donors, and other factors. This option enables GiveWell to grant funding to the top charity or top charities on their list that they believe can use the funds most effectively, at the time the funds are disbursed. I think you can make the strong argument that this the most effective thing you can do with your money.

5) StrongMinds.org: For years, I’ve wanted to include a mental health charity. But I never found one that seemed similarly cost-effective to the top GiveWell Charities. This is because treating mental health is hard and expensive. Compare this to buying Malaria nets, Vitamin A supplements, or just giving someone 65 cents a day! This year, we found a very interesting project that I am thrilled to include. The basic premise is that they organize group therapy for depressed women in Uganda for 12 weeks. Over 70 percent of these women are depression-free after 6 months.

I also especially enjoy supporting the cause of slightly smaller operations, as my personal effect feels more tangible. Their budget for 2019 is only $3,000,000.

6) Massachusetts Bail Fund: Imagine you get arrested for a misdemeanor crime. If you’re unable to pay bail, you sit in jail, sometimes for many days, while waiting for a judge. This can have all sort of collateral consequences on jobs, school, housing, etc. and thus contributes to the widening socioeconomic gap in the U.S. MBF posts bail, up to $500, so that people who have not yet been been convicted of a crime do not have their lives destroyed over small matters.

Sharing a statistic they sent me from  in 2016: “A little under half of all our cases have closed and we’ve been able to get the money back and use it again. Half of the closed cases were dismissed – meaning, so far, a quarter of all our clients have had their cases dismissed outright. They would have been held in jail indefinitely for no reason – and likely would have plead guilty to something in order to get out of jail.“

Here is a great blog post by Slate Star Codex discussing the merits of Bail Funds (including some cost effectiveness estimates).

7) The Good Food Institute: In their own words: “We work with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs to make groundbreaking good food a reality. We focus on clean meat and plant-based alternatives to animal products- foods that are more delicious, safer to eat, and better for the planet than their animal counterparts. Their website: http://www.gfi.org/

Animal Charity Evaluators just went live with their 2018 Top Charity recommendations, and GFI earned this top honor yet again! Their detailed evaluation of is here

8) Animal Charity Evaluator Effective Animal Advocacy Fund. ACE is also doing a matching drive, which means every $100 you donate becomes $400 after we match it and they match it! ACE has found a bunch of smaller projects they think are interesting and worth endorsing. Some of these are experimental, or just generally too small (i.e. it doesn’t make sense for a big organization to endorse a small project that only requires $50,000 in funding). ACE is also considered a top resource in evaluating animal charities, so I have extra confidence in them.
Quick Disclosure: My personal money is only going to the funds above. I think these are among the most efficient causes out there. I do not believe the “future funds” are as good of a use of resources at this time. Many smart, effective altruists do not agree with this assessment. Given I can barely operate my Apple TV, I don’t think my opinion should mean a ton here.

9) Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI): Conducts mathematical research to ensure that smarter-than-human AI has a positive impact. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking have all spoken out about the risks of artificial intelligence.  This WaitButWhy piece did a great, but super long, explanation of how this could become an issue.

10 ) REG Fund: This fund, run by Raising for Effective Giving, identifies and supports policy and research efforts in AI alignment and safety. While most organizations in the field focus on extinction risks, the REG fund prioritizes reducing the likelihood of outcomes that entail immense and prolonged suffering, so called s-risks. Given the relative neglectedness of this topic in the field, the marginal impact of your support could be large.

 



“I Want to Help, WHAT DO I DO”

  • Help us get the word out. Post on social media, tell your friends.
  • Thoughtfully choose the person you think is the best fit, and talk with them or connect us. Getting us in touch with the right people is how this blows up; who knows who that connection will be? The drive changed massively when Stefan introduced me to the Crowley brothers two years ago. The next connection could be the one that takes this drive to the next level.
  • Make as much of a contribution as you can afford. We had 714 contributors last year. I think it would be awesome to get that up over 1000 this year. Even the tiniest amounts make a difference – no amount is too small.

    Personal Motivations for Donating

I’ve gone through several existential crises about my future as a poker player, mostly being uncomfortable playing a negative sum game which doesn’t contribute to society. Largely in part due to this drive, all those concerns have dissipated. I still genuinely love to play poker, and am thrilled that due to this drive, I can use my favorite thing to make a tremendous impact on the world.




Thanks for reading and the consideration,

Dan

 

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