The Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF) is an independent, non-profit think tank and project incubator looking for the best ways to help as many individuals as possible.
Operating at the intersection of ethics, science, and economics, we seek to answer the following questions:
What matters most?
Where can we help the greatest number of individuals?
How do we put our limited resources to the most helpful use?
This investigative model forms the basis of a global, rapidly growing movement known as Effective Altruism. Our use of this approach has so far led us to focus on the following areas:
- Evidence-based poverty reduction
- Reducing animal suffering, especially in factory farms
- Mapping the opportunities and risks of future technologies such as artificial intelligence
- Promoting Effective Altruism, primarily in the German-speaking world
All of our projects share the common goal of preventing and reducing suffering. In one way, this seems obvious, since most humanitarian projects—whether they focus on helping the extremely poor, rescuing animals in need, or ending large-scale injustice and oppression—largely do so in order to protect complete strangers from needless suffering.
Despite sharing this common goal to varying degrees, humanitarian endeavors tend to focus on single causes. This is by all means a very good thing, as it has led to today’s wide variety of problem-solving organizations, many of which are highly skilled and specialized in their area.
There are, however, comparatively few groups working on the core problem of preventing and reducing suffering, regardless of where and when it takes place, and whom it affects. This is the niche that we aim to fill.
EAF was founded in August of 2015 by a young, interdisciplinary team in Basel, Switzerland. Until then, EAS’s activities had been taking place under GBS Schweiz, an organization founded in 2013 as a regional chapter of the German humanist group Giordano Bruno Foundation (Giordano-Bruno-Stiftung, or GBS).
GBS Schweiz initially concentrated on formulating an ethical system based on rationality and evolutionary humanism. Over time, however, this grew into to a more specific focus on Effective Altruism, thus leading to the eventual creation of EAF as a separate organization.
The Giordano-Bruno-Stiftung (GBS) is a think tank for humanism and enlightenment located in Germany. It is orientated towards the principles of evolutionary humanism and is supported by numerous renowned academics, philosophers and artists. Around 6000 members currently support the social concerns and projects of gbs. In cooperation with the then GBS Schweiz, gbs launched the project Effective Altruism.
The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is a coalition of projects located in Oxford which promotes the spread of Effective Altruism globally and has founded several projects (see below).
Giving What We Can (GWWC) is a CEA project with a focus on the reduction of extreme poverty. It evaluates charities in view of their effectiveness and cultivates a culture of donation. Over 1800 people globally have taken the pledge to donate at least 10% of their income to cost-effective charities. To date, GWWC has influenced the donation of $15 million as well as future donations of over $700 million pledged.
80,000 Hours, also a CEA project, evaluates the potential impact of different career paths and offers a comprehensive introduction to ethical career choice. Countless effective altruists have used the information of 80,000 hours to reconsider their careers altruistically.
GiveWell evaluates charities in the fields of global poverty and health in terms of cost-effectiveness. In 2015 GiveWell research influenced donations of over $100 million.
Further Partners: Socrethics Foundation