Open Philanthropy

Boyden, E. S. (2007) "Open Philanthropy." Ed Boyden's Blog. Technology Review. 9/24/07. (

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How can you solve the problems that really matter to you? If you’re like most people, among these problems are terrifying, often fatal diseases: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, stroke. Other problems you care about concern understanding and improving our humanity–understanding our consciousness, empowering citizens in democracies, and preserving dying languages, just to name a tiny few. One obvious way to focus resources on a problem you care about is to become rich and create or steer an institute–placing bets on specific researchers and on specific research agendas. But if you’re like most people, you’re not a billionaire. That means you have to be entrepreneurial about your idea, raising the funds through visionary leadership and strategic planning–a full-time job if there ever was one. Many such organizations are creatively tackling or rewarding efforts to cure diseases like ALS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. But wouldn’t it be great if you could focus your own resources–the ones you have right now–to solve the problems that you most care about? …