Survival and Flourishing
.Fund (SFF)

SFF versus SFP: SFF facilitates grants to existing charities; for smaller grants and service contracts for mission-aligned projects that don't yet have an institutional home, visit SFP.

SFF-2024 Grant Round Application Announcement

Index

SFF-2024 Main Track Announcement

SFF is organizing another S-Process grant round in collaboration with Jaan Tallinn and Survival and Flourishing .Com (SFC), to distribute funds by the end of September 2024. We estimate that $5MM - $15MM in funding will be distributed in this round. Our Funder in this round has provided the following guidance regarding philanthropic priorities, which highlights areas of consideration for funding:

For the first time, applicants are required to submit and be awarded a Speculation Grant in order to be eligible for consideration in the SFF S-Process grant round. Applicants must follow the standard process of submitting a Speculation Grant application outlined here, which can be done concurrently with an S-process rolling application and long form application.

Applications for the all tracks (main, freedom, and fairness) are due by the extended deadline of July 1, 2024 11:59:59 PM PT via one of the following rolling application forms depending on whether the applicant is a charity or for-profit:

Late applications will not be eligible for the current round and will automatically be eligible for consideration in the following round. Late applications are still eligible for Speculation Grants, but those Speculation Grants will not be settled (remunerated to Speculation Grantors) until the following round.

All eligible applications will be evaluated in all rounds (main, freedom, and fairness).

More information about this grant round can be found on the application forms above and in the FAQ below on this page, and answers to more general questions can be found in our general FAQ. If you have any further questions that are not answered through the above channels, please write to sff-contact@googlegroups.com.

SFF-2024 Freedom and Fairness Tracks Announcement

In 2024, SFF is creating two special tracks for S-process applications that specifically target values we call fairness and freedom, explained below. These special tracks will run with separate sets of application evaluators who are focused specifically on those values, roughly in parallel with our main evaluation track. All eligible applications are qualified to be evaluated by all tracks (main, freedom, and fairness).

For the first time, applicants are required to submit and be awarded a Speculation Grant in order to be eligible for consideration in the SFF S-Process grant round. For details on this, see the Main Round Announcement above.

About Freedom and Fairness Tracks

Fairness and freedom are values we consider crucial to humanity’s survival and flourishing in the era of AI technology, especially now that leading experts in AI have acknowledged that AI presents an extinction-level threat to humanity.

At different times and in different contexts, either fairness or freedom attract more support from particular political movements, to the extent that they are sometimes assumed to be in conflict. However, we think of them as truly global and mutually compatible values. A society is fair when morally arbitrary facts don’t avoidably determine people’s life chances. It is free when people can pursue their own goals, as individuals and as groups, without fear of arbitrary interference from those holding the reins of power.

Rapidly advancing artificial intelligence will inescapably affect both freedom and fairness. It could universalise access to opportunities making for a much fairer society, and could enable people and groups to better form and pursue their goals. But it may also enable those with advantage to cement their position and shift AI’s negative externalities onto the already-disadvantaged. And AI is a force-multiplier for those who wish to control others—it makes the practice of exercising authority much easier, thereby limiting people’s freedom.

Conversely, the degree to which we collectively prioritize freedom and fairness for humanity will inescapably affect how artificial intelligence is developed. Ensuring that advanced AI serves fairness and freedom is not only a moral imperative in its own right. It is also an indispensable stepping-stone to mitigating future risks to humanity, which could be of even greater intensity.

While applicants can flag their applications for evaluation by a specific track, every eligible applicant is eligible for evaluation by all three tracks below.

Main track ($3-10MM budget, with 6 evaluators)

Our main evaluation track will proceed similarly to past rounds, with 6 evaluators reviewing applications. We hope grants made in this track will simultaneously support fairness, freedom, and many other values crucial to humanity’s survival and flourishing. For this reason, it has a larger budget than either of the special tracks.

Fairness track ($1-3MM budget, with 3 evaluators)

AI technologies could be used to bring greater opportunities and prosperity to all of humanity at once. On the other hand, AI could also yield a further concentration of wealth and power, benefitting only a privileged few while creating risks and harmful externalities for everyone.

How can we avoid these problems, and support the use of AI to empower the disempowered? We’re specifically seeking applications addressing the following objectives:

Freedom track ($1-3MM budget, with 3 evaluators)

AI technologies could be used to bring more freedom and autonomy to people and institutions everywhere. On the other hand, AI could also yield further concentrations of authority — whether in governments, corporations, or elsewhere — that oppress freedom of speech, hoard resources, and perpetuate tyranny.

How can we avoid these problems, and support uses of AI that strengthen freedom for humans and humanity? We’re specifically seeking applications addressing the following objectives:

Why separate tracks?

In today’s political climate, certain human values inevitably end up being primarily championed by either left-leaning or right-leading political perspectives. Such values can be difficult to represent through a bipartisan consensus, even if everyone would benefit from them. This can lead to under-representing certain values that would actually benefit everyone.

At SFF, we believe our values of fairness and freedom are both important for humanity’s future, and only happen to seem right-leaning or left-leaning within today’s political frameworks. In other words, these are values we wish to support on their own merits, irrespective of politics. By creating a special track for each value, we hope to support strong proponents of each value to apply for funding, and to be evaluated by a set of reviewers who specifically espouse that value.

What the tracks aren’t

Importantly, being a strong proponent of either fairness, freedom, or both does not necessarily mean being a strong proponent of left-leaning or right-leaning politics in general, and in fact might require the opposite: centrist or bipartisan consensus is often necessary to bring about deep and lasting changes in the world. So, neither of these tracks is meant to encompass broadly supporting left-leaning or right-leaning values. The fairness track is specifically about fairness, and the freedom track is specifically about freedom.

FAQ for Applicants

What are the deadlines for this round?

The deadline for applicants to submit all materials (Long-form application, Rolling application, and Speculation Grant application) is July 1 11:59:59 PM PT to be eligible for consideration in the current S-process round. Though, because it is necessary for a Speculation Grant to be awarded before consideration of the standard SFF round, it is encouraged (but not required) to submit the Speculation Grant application as soon as possible. Speculation Grants can be approved up to two weeks past the round deadline for applications to still be eligible in the S-process grant round, in this case up until July 14, but all applicant materials are due July 1.

Do I need to submit and receive a Speculation Grant in order to apply?

Yes, starting in 2024 an applicant must submit and receive a Speculation Grant in order to be eligible for consideration in the grant rounds. Applicants that do not submit a Speculation Grant in connection to their S-process application will automatically be discarded.

There are three applications I must submit as part of my application materials. Which should I start with?

You may work on all three applications concurrently, but in order to submit the Speculation Grant application, you must have an SFF Application ID that is generated via email confirmation upon your submission of the rolling application, as well as links to your completed longform and rolling application. In order to submit the rolling application you must include a link to your completed long form application. So, you should complete the long form application first, then complete and submit the rolling application, then complete and submit the Speculation Grant application.

If I have submitted my materials by the relevant deadline, and haven’t received a Speculation Grant, does that mean that my organization is not eligible for the grant round?

No, Speculation Grantors have two weeks to continue making Speculation Grants that will be eligible for consideration in the current round. For the main round this is July 1, and for the Freedom and Fairness tracks this is July 14. Please note, if you haven’t received a Speculation Grant by these dates it does not necessarily mean your organization will never be awarded the Speculation Grant. This just means you have not been awarded a Speculation Grant that will make you eligible to be considered in the current S-process round. Speculation Grants are made on a rolling basis, meaning any Speculation Grants made after these dates are honored and the applicant is automatically eligible for consideration in the following grant round.

Do I need to submit a Speculation Grant to apply for the Freedom and Fairness tracks?

Yes, a Speculation Grant application and award is a prerequisite for participation in the S-Process rounds, including the Freedom and Fairness tracks.

When do you expect funding to be distributed?

Speculation Grants are distributed on a rolling basis, usually within 3 weeks to 3 months after they are approved. While S-process rounds funding will likely be announced in September or October, and distributed within 3 weeks to 3 months later. These dates are subject to change and are highly tentative.

My organization is a for-profit based outside of the US, can I apply through the SFF for-profit non-dilutive grant application?

No, at this time only US, Canada, UK, and Australia-based for-profits are eligible to apply .

FAQ for Recommenders for any track

Can I solicit applications?

Yes, you may solicit to organizations to apply for a grant round. Please be aware of your own privacy preferences when reaching out to organizations and respect the privacy preferences of the other Recommenders.

Is my identity shared?

By default, we do not share the identities of Recommenders, however Recommenders can adjust their privacy preferences using the Recommender Privacy Questionnaire any time during the round.

Do I need to evaluate every application?

No, every application is at least skimmed by Recommenders. But, because Recommender time is a finite resources, we only require a skimming of every application.

How did you choose me to be a Recommender?

In collaboration with our Funders, we generate a list of candidates and invite individuals to the round.

When are my evaluations due?

Final MVF’s are due in the app by the end of the final Recommender Meeting (which will be communicated to you via email). No further adjustments may be made after the final meeting.

FAQ for Speculation Grantors

What is the last day that I can make Speculation Grants for them to be included in the current round?

Speculation Grantors have 2 weeks after the S-Process round application deadline to make Speculation Grants in order for the applicants to be included in the present round – in this case July 14, 2024 11:59:59 PM PT

Speculation Grants are needed in order for S-process applicants to be eligible for the grant round. In light of this, should I think differently about how I am making grants?

As Speculation Grantors, you should review applications as normal, granting to organizations you deem valuable. No drastic conceptual changes in how you grant are needed, although it may be useful for you to review whether an applicant indicates they are applying for the Freedom and Fairness tracks. Proposals that historically might not have been funded by an SFF grant round might now be considered due to the introduction of the Freedom and Fairness tracks, so keeping in mind the objectives of the Freedom and Fairness tracks might help with that.