This is REG’s second annual transparency report (2014 report), intended to create transparency about where REG donations went in 2015, and how money raised for effective charities relates to money spent on REG operations.

In 2015, REG donors gave an overall amount of  $597,820 to effective charities, while REG’s expenses amounted to a total of $75,242 (mainly wages, travel expenses, and office supplies), equating a fund ratio of 1:8. We are satisfied with these numbers, given that throughout 2015, we have focused on efforts we expect to result in increased long-term donation volume, examples being the expansion into industries beyond poker and establishing partnerships with Matchbook.com and King’s Casino.

Allocation of unrestricted funds
Donors chose to make unrestricted donations for a total of $134,648, 22.5% of the total donation volume in 2015.  The REG board allocates unrestricted donations to the recommended charities according to its most up-to-date judgment, taking into account various considerations such as room for more funding (RFMF) and the latest research updates. Table 1 shows the allocation of unrestricted donations in 2015. For a detailed overview of the distribution of unrestricted donations for each quarter, please refer to the reports on money moved for Q1 2015, Q2, 2015, and Q3 & Q4 2015, respectively.
 

Table 1: Allocation of unrestricted donations in 2015

Charity Amount (in $)
Animal Ethics (AE) 20,594
Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR) 5,583.70
Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) 14,469.50
Deworm the World Initiative (DtWI) 14,469.50
Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) 44,877.85
New Incentives (NI) 10,224.30
Nonhuman Rights Project (NHRP) 10,224.30
The Great Ape Project (GAP) 14,204.85
Total 134,648

 

Fund allocation according to cause areas
REG donors support highly effective charities in different cause areas. These include effective poverty alleviation, animal advocacy, risks from emerging technologies, and caus- neutral charities that work in various areas. The appendix lists all charities that have received donations raised by REG in 2015 according to their respective cause area.

1. Poverty alleviation: $176,296 (29.5% of all donations raised) went to charities working on alleviating suffering from poverty-related causes. The largest single recipient in this cause area was the Against Malaria Foundation with $102,786 in donations. REG donors have thereby provided funds to buy more than 45,000 anti-malaria bednets to protect almost 69,000 people for up to four years from becoming infected with malaria. Statistically, they have thus saved 38 lives in 2015, according to data from GiveWell.

2. Animal charities: $61,166 (10.2%) of all donations went to charities reducing the suffering of animals. With $35,730, the single largest recipient in this cause area was Animal Ethics, a charity working on spreading anti-speciesist messages in public, academic, and professional spheres.

3. Risks from emerging technologies: $240,924 (40.3%) of the donations in 2015 were allocated to research on the safety of artificial intelligence. The development of an artificial general intelligence (AGI) has been identified as a potential threat on a global scale. The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) does foundational mathematical research to ensure smarter-than-human artificial intelligence has a positive impact.

4. Cause-neutral meta-charities: $119,434 (20%) of REG donations in 2015 went to organizations that do not focus on a specific cause area but support charities doing direct work in different areas (like REG does). By doing so, they aim to multiply their positive impact on the world. The cause- neutral meta-charity receiving the largest share of REG donations in 2015 was REG’s parent organization, the Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF; formerly GBS Switzerland).

Appendix: Recipient Charities 2015

A. Poverty Alleviation

Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)
Malaria kills more than a million people each year. AMF facilitates the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to protect families at night, when mosquitoes are most active. The large-scale distributions are monitored closely to guarantee that the nets reach their destination and are used the right way. The evidence is strong that insecticide-treated bed nets reduce child mortality and malaria cases, making AMF GiveWell’s top pick for saving lives.

Deworm the World Initiative (DtWI) Over 870 million preschool- and school-age children are at risk of parasitic worm infection. The Deworm the World Initiative works with governments around the world to develop and implement national school-based deworming programs. These leverage existing infrastructure, result in treatment coverage of over 80% of at-risk children, and reduce costs to less than USD 50 cents per child per year.

GiveDirectly
GiveDirectly transfers money directly to the world’s extreme poor in Kenya and Uganda, who then spend it on what is most important to them. Evidence suggests that these transfers generate large income gains for these households. The money is invested in e.g. housing, important equipment or education for children. GiveDirectly is currently one of GiveWell’s top-rated charities.

New Incentives (NI)
New Incentives provides poor women with HIV or at-risk pregnancies in rural West Africa with conditional cash transfers (CCTs). Individuals earn these small, predictable sums of money on the condition that they deliver at a health clinic and get required medications. The money allows the women to afford food, transport and other basic services, which not only prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV and neonatal mortality, but also helps fight poverty.

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
A top recommendation by GiveWell, focusing on deworming children in schools. SCI supports programs that treat parasitic worm infections, which cause short-term symptoms such as anemia as well as longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat and the benefits are long-lasting, as systematic studies show (much less school absenteeism and higher wages afterwards).

GiveWell
The meta-charity GiveWell evaluates the cost-effectiveness of charities focused on global poverty. Their top-rated charities are transparent, evidence-backed and underfunded. With its new “Open Philantropy Project”, GiveWell broadened its scope and is now also researching effective interventions outside the global poverty sector.

B. Animal charities

Animal Ethics (AE)
AE’s approach is not aimed at particular interventions, but rather works to spread anti-speciesist messages in public, academic and professional spheres. They do this by curating and publishing research into overlooked matters of moral importance such as sentience, animal cognition, and wild animal suffering, and further distribute this information resources to animal advocates. AE’s focus on basic, high-impact research earns them a spot in Animal Charity Evaluators’ standout charities.

GiveWell
The meta-charity GiveWell evaluates the cost-effectiveness of charities focused on global poverty. Their top-rated charities are transparent, evidence-backed and underfunded. With its new “Open Philantropy Project”, GiveWell broadened its scope and is now also researching effective interventions outside the global poverty sector.

Great Ape Project (GAP)
GAP is an international organisation of primatologists, anthropologists, ethicists, and others who advocate a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes that would confer basic legal rights on non-human great apes: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans.

Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP)
The NhRP is an organization seeking to change the legal status of at least some nonhuman animals from that of property to that of persons.

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE)
ACE is the animal-focused equivalent to GiveWell: Their research compiles evidence as to what sort of animal charity is most effective (and often literally up to 100 or 1000 times as effective as other animal charity efforts). Without this information, all the “direct” donations to animal charities would lose a lot of their value.

Animal Equality
ACE is the animal-focused equivalent to GiveWell: Their research compiles evidence as to what sort of animal charity is most effective (and often literally up to 100 or 1000 times as effective as other animal charity efforts). Without this information, all the “direct” donations to animal charities would lose a lot of their value.

Mercy for Animals (MFA)
Another top recommendation by ACE, MFA advocates for farm animals by conducting undercover investigations, engaging in corporate and legal outreach, running online ads for meat/factory farming reduction, and organizing grassroots outreach events. Their undercover investigations are particularly promising because of the multi-faceted benefits from publication and sharing.

C. Risks from emerging technologies

Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)
MIRI does foundational mathematical research to ensure smarter-than-human artificial intelligence has a positive impact. As more and more human cognitive feats come to be reproduced by artificially intelligent systems, we can expect to encounter a number of unprecedented risks and benefits. These and other under-explored questions will only become more pressing as progress in computer science allows AI systems to act with increasing autonomy and efficiency.

D. Cause-neutral meta-charities

Effective Altruism Foundation (formerly GBS Switzerland)
The Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF) is a think- and do-tank that works at the intersection of ethics and science. Founded by an interdisciplinary team it aims to improve the life quality of the largest number of sentient beings possible. They offer donation and career advice, do political work and seek to influence tomorrow’s leaders in their priorities through a big network of university and other local chapters. They have also launched the successful projects Sentience Politics, the Foundational Research Institute and REG.

Raising for Effective Giving (REG)
REG is a charity fundraising non-governmental organization. Its members consist mostly of professional poker players and financial investors who pledge to donate a percentage of their income to selected charities. Based on the idea of Effective altruism, REG donates to, and recommends, selected charities based on their cost-effectiveness.

Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR)
CFAR is an organisation in the San Francisco Bay Area that is working to increase the rationality of effective altruists and also of society overall. CFAR staff members teach workshops on rationality and self-improvement, create online material and offer programs for gifted high school students. They perform research and evaluate their teaching methods in order to find proven ways to overcome cognitive biases. By encouraging people to think more about what is important to them, CFAR raises awareness of global problems and priorities and paves the way for finding lasting solutions.

Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA)
CEA is the Oxford-based umbrella organization for several projects related to the promotion of Effective Altruism. Their projects focus on ethical career choice, priority research and movement building.