Recent press about our work

  1. In the Media

    Inside Philanthropy: This Powerhouse Funder Is New to Scientific Research. Where Are Grants Going?

    "While [the Open Philanthropy Project] describes itself as being in an exploratory process in regard to scientific research, the grants that it's recommended in the past six months offer important hints about its emerging interests. … On closer examination, [one grant] matches several of the OPP's key stated aims: fund areas that affect lots of people, that may be somewhat neglected in by other funders, and contain a substantial element of fundamental science."

  2. In the Media

    Nonprofit Chronicles: A Story About Fish, and Unconventional Philanthropy

    "Yet this is precisely the kind of problem that foundations are uniquely suited to take on. At the very least,  the willingness of the Open Philanthropy Project to take on the quixotic cause of fish welfare reflects an admirable willingness of those who work there to chart its own path. … Put another way, the biggest liability of foundations — their lack of accountability, which can lead to insular thinking and ineffective grantmaking — can be turned into a valuable asset if foundations seize opportunities to embrace risk, take on unpopular causes or ideas or tackle problems that will take years or decades to solve. Today it might be fish welfare."

  3. In the Media

    Inside Philanthropy: Research Funder Knocks on the NIH’s Door Looking for Ideas—And Big Grants Flow

    "If this sounds like a unique approach to science philanthropy, it is. But it’s this kind of curiosity in action we’ve come to expect from the Open Philanthropy Project. … The organization has a rare zeal for efficiency and bang-for-the-buck, as well as transparency, as it exhaustively documents its activities through blog posts and other shared documents. The same is true for these NIH-related grants, so you can read much more about the process they used to vet the large number of applications on the blog. It's hard to think of another funder that's so candid about how the sausage gets made."

  4. In the Media

    Nature: Facebook Billionaire Pours Funds Into High-Risk Research

    "Open Phil, based in San Francisco, California, acknowledges the high odds of failure of the basic research it funds and, for a private funder, publishes brutally honest assessments of its projects. These range from developing lab-made meat alternatives to a controversial genetic-engineering technology called gene drive. For its latest funding round, it asked scientists whose grant applications had been rejected by an NIH competition for risky research to dust off their proposals. Some 120 researchers resubmitted their requests, and the project awarded $10.8 million to four teams."

  5. In the Media

    The Economist: Locking Up More People Does Not Reduce Crime

    "David Roodman, an economist working for the Open Philanthropy Project, has recently carried out an exhaustive review, replication and analysis of papers and articles on the impact of locking people up in America. The five word summary of his work might be: America has a sentencing problem. … He concludes that "the best estimate of the impact of additional incarceration on crime in the United States today is zero"—there is at least as much evidence suggesting that decarceration reduces crime as increases it."

  6. In the Media

    Vox: A Massive Review of the Evidence Shows Letting People Out of Prison Doesn’t Increase Crime

    "When the Open Philanthropy Project began a grant program for criminal justice reform, it asked itself a tricky question: Are we doing the right thing? … In came David Roodman, who runs critical evidence reviews. Open Philanthropy got him to review the evidence on how decarceration efforts — which seek to reduce prison sentences and the number of people in prison — would impact crime. … The result is a really extensive, in-depth review of the research, spanning more than 140 pages."