I have a bunch of good news to share from CFAR today.
Fundraising & Venue
I’ll start by reporting that we recently completed the most successful fundraiser in our history. First, we raised $768,000 from individual donors, which is an amazing outpouring of support that I think is justified by our case for this year. In addition, the Open Philanthropy Project renewed our institutional grant for this year and next. In addition, BERI has generously provided $800,000 which we will use as a downpayment on our permanent venue. That was the last major piece of the puzzle for finally acquiring a venue that we can operate from year-around; that allows more programs at drastically reduced cost, permanently.
All that is to say, it’s almost the best case scenario for us this year: we have the funding and resources we need to do our best work. The only piece that isn’t as good as the ideal scenario I laid out in the fundraising post is that we would have liked to close on the venue and moved into it near the beginning of the year to maximize the number of programs we run in it, but we’re actually not going to be able to have the property in our possession and ready to host workshops until around the beginning of June or July.
Still, this is an unexpectedly excellent world in the space of possible worlds we were facing at the beginning of December, and we’re thrilled.
I joined CFAR with the intention of strengthening and streamlining the organization. I intended to support the team to become strong and stable, plus to make our impact per dollar ridiculously great.
With the organization healthy, well-funded, and on track to have more impact per dollar than we ever have, the time has come for me to move on from my role as Executive Director.
Taking my place is Timothy Telleen-Lawton. I met Tim at his CFAR workshop a little over two years ago, and I’ve come to love and admire him in many ways. Tim has been a CFAR instructor for over a year now, and he was an early GiveWell employee and manager. He is thoughtful, courageous, and rigorously open-minded. He also brings a management discipline to CFAR at what I believe is the perfect time: we are poised to cement our transition from “scrappy, fighting for our life’ to “stable, honing our output,” and Tim has an unusual mix of process obsession and open-hearted exploration that I think is ideal to lead CFAR toward robustness without compromising its core, pre-paradigm exploration.
I’ll be continuing at CFAR in a reduced capacity as an advisor to Tim and the rest of the team, and I’ll be staffing workshops when my talents are particularly useful.
Anna Salamon, cofounder of CFAR and former Executive Director herself, will continue in her role as President and Chair of the Board.
I was in an unusually privileged and difficult position when deciding how the transition would go to have a substantial portion of my team ready, willing, and able to take over total leadership of the organization, and I feel grateful that such a strong team of world-savers is here working for all of us. I was hugely gratified to see a process unfold in which the team engaged in collaborative truth-seeking about what leadership and team structure would be best. I believe we came to an awesome conclusion in that process, in the sense that the particular details of CFAR’s resources and opportunities right now dovetail near-perfectly with the talents and proclivities of the people who are now responsible for them.
I am looking forward to seeing the team and organization do amazing work.
Finally, thanks to all of you, the team—not only the full time team members who have worked tirelessly with me, but also the extended team of contractors, instructors, volunteers, and alumni—for making these last few years some of the most high growth, and high impact years of my life. I’ve never encountered a group of people who are so smart, and care so deeply about the biggest possible issues we face as a species. I’m humbled by the skill and insight you’ve collectively brought to the table, and in the face of an uncertain future, I’m sure glad you are all on my side in the fight.
All the best,