We believe that people have equal intrinsic value regardless of the circumstances of their birth, and that animals’ lives have value, too. We believe economic development and technological innovation have greatly increased human well-being. We’re optimistic that this trend will continue, and we hope to play a part in accelerating it. We’re motivated by our vision of a day when every person’s needs are met and each of us is empowered to shape our own life.
The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes our findings. We advise philanthropists on how to maximize the impact of their giving. Our main funding partners are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana. In 2016, we recommended over $100 million in grants (which have since been made), supporting work on criminal justice reform, farm animal welfare, global health and development, scientific research, and reduction of global catastrophic risks (including biosecurity and pandemic preparedness as well as potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence).
Openness is a core value of the Open Philanthropy Project in two important ways:
Open to many possibilities – the advice heard most often when the Open Philanthropy Project started giving was to “focus on something you’re passionate about.” In our case, we’re passionate about improving others’ lives as much as we can, and our level of excitement about an issue depends on how much good we believe we’ll accomplish by working on it. So, instead of starting with a predefined set of focus areas, we investigated a wide variety of causes where our philanthropy could help to improve others’ lives. We chose focus areas based on three criteria: importance, neglectedness, and tractability.
Open about our work – We believe philanthropy could have a greater impact by becoming more transparent. Very often, key discussions and decisions happen behind closed doors, and it’s difficult for outsiders to learn from and critique philanthropists’ work. We envision a world in which philanthropists increasingly document and share their research, reasoning, results, and mistakes to help each other learn more quickly and serve others more effectively. We aim to make it easy for new philanthropists and outsiders to learn about our giving.
To learn more about the organization, please visit Open Philanthropy Project website.
The Open Philanthropy Project began as a collaboration between Good Ventures and GiveWell with the purpose of identifying outstanding giving opportunities, making grants, following the results, and publishing its findings. While still in the formation process, it made the strategic decision to establish itself as an LLC by summer of 2017.
The Director of Operations is a newly created role in response to the Open Philanthropy Project’s growth plans and effort to become a distinct and separate entity. Reporting to the Executive Director and partnering with a world class, highly energized team, the Director of Operations will help the organization continue to scale its impact globally and deliver world-changing potential.
This is a young and fast growing initiative with ambitious plans for the future. It aggressively pursues philanthropic interventions and embraces a high risk / high reward approach. Last year, Open Philanthropy recommended over $100 million in grantmaking and expects this figure to grow significantly in the coming years. As a new position, the Director will help refine and implement the Open Philanthropy Project’s operations strategy as well as oversee its risk and compliance function, financial planning, office management, human resources, grants logistics, and IT / enterprise systems.
At the core of this role is the need to balance growth with practical and innovative solutions to scale in a healthy way and allow the team to do their best work. The Director will build processes and systems that are rooted in best practice, embrace creative thinking, and enable growth without stifling the culture and drive of the organization. The Director will also support annual planning and project management systems, ensuring work streams are synced up, moving in a common direction, and can accommodate the complex and vast-reaching nature of the grant portfolio.
Smoothing out process problems and bottlenecks, removing obstacles, and creating internal processes that continuously improve the organization’s grant-making and efficiency are the primary aims for this new position.
Operations Review & Strategy
The initial step to establish the Open Philanthropy Project as an independent organization is near completion. The new Director will be joining at an exciting time when much still needs to be done in order to fully bring operations into strategy. An immediate priority for the position is to map out the current operating environment and identify the infrastructure, systems, process, and facilities improvements that will form the basis of a future operating strategy / work plan. This effort includes ensuring all operational functions are self-sustained and no longer relying on support from its current fiscal host, GiveWell.
Risk & Compliance
With significant growth comes increased responsibility around risk management, compliance, and other legal and tax considerations. As Open Philanthropy scales its work and grant-making globally, the Director will need to conduct a risk audit of its operations and contracting activities, and then build a systematic and pragmatic approach to proactively assessing and monitoring risk and compliance exposure on an ongoing basis.
The Director will help lead a significant optimization project for the organization’s grants management operations (known internally as Grants Logistics). Open Philanthropy has access to a number of philanthropic investment / grant-making vehicles and its Grants Logistics function is primed for process and technology upgrades in order to accommodate the organization’s significant growth trajectory.
Website Content & Support
As the Open Philanthropy Project evolves, both strategically and programmatically, its website will require platform and content updates as well as ongoing maintenance. The Director will formulate and execute plans to ensure the website consistently reflects and keeps pace with the organization’s work.
The Ideal Candidate
The Open Philanthropy Project is seeking a Director of Operations who will be enthusiastic and passionate about effective altruism, and be attracted by the opportunity to help scale a renowned and highly influential philanthropic initiative. The ambitious and important work of Open Philanthropy requires innovative and daring contributors who will be tenacious in the pursuit of the organization’s goals. Candidates need the intellectual dynamism and business acumen to be effective in a start-up, entrepreneurial culture, yet have the rigor and discipline to apply knowledge and experience to build an operating environment where the organization can thrive and sustain itself for the long-term.
The Open Philanthropy Project won’t hesitate to radically change course if a new approach is determined to be the best way forward in order to accomplish its goals and mission. The Director must therefore be highly adaptable and flexible, embracing a culture that requires responsiveness and elasticity in the operating environment. The ideal candidate will be excited by opportunities to bring about efficiency gains in systems and processes, and who can focus on human-centered design solutions that align with what’s best for the organization’s culture and methods.
A commitment to openness and transparency is paramount – accessibility, integrity, and honesty are crucial elements of the organization’s culture, as is consistent and frequent communication at all levels in the organization. The team is collegial, open, and direct with each other. Candidates must be comfortable plugging into an environment where colleagues speak their minds, freely share their perspectives, challenge assumptions, and call out or acknowledge mistakes. Traditional communication and operating channels that rely on hierarchy and status are non-starters.
The new Director will be motivated by the immense opportunities to invest in building systems and structures in a growing organization that is results driven. Recommendations and proposals must be rooted in sound data and analysis. Open Philanthropy prides itself on healthy, intense, and heated debates around decisions, scrutiny of ideas, and a curiosity about exploring alternative models to traditional approaches. Candidates must thrive in this environment and readily engage in deep discussion and deliberation in order to get to the best answers and outcomes. The culture is analytically-oriented – testing ideas, building cases, seeking truths. As such, the Director must be agile in approach, embrace concrete details over abstract thoughts, and be aligned with pursuing impact through logic and data.
The Open Philanthropy Project’s high profile will require a Director of Operations who can quickly build trust, credibility, and respect. Self-motivation and a proactive mindset are critical. The Director must be able to coordinate and execute on successful projects with little guidance, knowing when to rely on other members of the leadership team and judiciously involving them in decision-making.
The Director must bring a combination of strategic thinking and hands-on capabilities. While grant-making and social investing activities are expected to grow substantially, the size of the team will remain small and nimble. Candidates should be looking for an environment where they can get their hands dirty, start initiatives from scratch, and move in and out of tactical and highly detailed work with ease. A track record designing and building an organizational framework that mitigates redundancies and dependencies, specifically in the context of working with multiple teams who have different needs, agendas, and priorities is highly desirable. The new Director will also have numerous and contemporary operating approaches in a toolset that can be applied in various ways to ensure the organization is working effectively and positioned for growth and change.
Candidates must have at least eight to ten years of progressively responsible operations experience with a special focus on building systems in new entities or growing businesses with high performing teams. This type of operational leadership experience could be from the private sector, business strategy consulting, successful startups, impact capital ventures, social enterprises, or foundations and NGOs. Specific expertise establishing new functional areas such as risk management, legal and compliance, human resources, and/or financial resources is highly desirable.
A proven ability to lead or influence teams in cross-functional and rapidly evolving operating environments is essential.