Our Top Donors

The Future of Life Institute is an independent non-profit funded by a range of individuals and organisations who share our desire to reduce global catastrophic and existential risk from powerful technologies. Although we value the support of our donors, they do not influence our policy positions, which are decided by our five board members based on the latest academic research and input from conferences and consultations. The Future of Life Institute is a mission-driven organization and continually aims to diversify its funding.

You can read about some of our donors below, and you can find out more about our funding through our 990 tax forms and our EU transparency register entry. The 990 forms are available through the navigation menu.

If you wish to make a donation, you can do so here.

Top Donors

Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

Vitalik Buterin

Web2Asia

George Godula

Project Reason

Sam Harris

Founder, SpaceX and Tesla Motors

Elon Musk

Nisan Stiennon

Open Philanthropy Project

Co-founder, Skype

Jaan Tallinn

Harvard University

Jacob Trefethen

Matt Wage

Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

BERI is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity with the mission to improve human civilization’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing. BERI takes on ethical and legal responsibility, as a collaborator, for projects deemed to be important for reducing existential risk. These projects mostly revolve around reducing risk from technologies that may pose significant civilization-scale dangers, as determined by research collaborators who have adopted existential risk reduction as both their primary career ambition and their primary area of intellectual focus.

Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin is a programmer, writer, and co-founder of Ethereum. Buterin became involved in cryptocurrency in its early days, co-founding Bitcoin Magazine in 2011, and dropped out of university as a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship to launch Ethereum at 19 years old with Gavin Wood.

Web2Asia

George Godula

George Godula is a technology entrepreneur and angel investor. He is the founder and CEO of Web2Asia, an award-winning Shanghai-based digital marketing agency with a focus on e-commerce. Godula is vocal on the topic of China’s e-commerce industry and has spoken at leading digital marketing and e-commerce conferences in China, Australia, Singapore, Spain, Peru, Germany and the US.

Project Reason

Sam Harris

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher, New York Times best-selling author, host of the Making Sense podcast, and creator of the Waking Up app. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, spirituality, violence, human reasoning—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Founder, SpaceX and Tesla Motors

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX and co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. In recent years, Musk has focused on developing competitive renewable energy and technologies (Tesla, Solar City), and on taking steps towards making affordable space flight and colonization a future reality (SpaceX). He has spoken about the responsibility of technology leaders to solve global problems and tackle global risks, and has also highlighted the potential risks from advanced AI.

Nisan Stiennon

Nisan Stiennon is a machine learning engineer at OpenAi, having previously worked as a software engineer at Google. He completed a PhD in mathematics at Stanford University and teaches at the Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition, a mathematics camp for technically talented youth focusing on high-impact applications.

Open Philanthropy Project

Open Philanthropy’s mission is to give as effectively as possible and share its findings openly so that anyone can build on its work. It is made up of several affiliated organizations that research potential focus areas, investigate giving opportunities, make grants and investments, evaluate impact, and share findings. Its current focus areas are global catastrophic risks, global health and development, U.S. policy and scientific research.

Co-founder, Skype

Jaan Tallinn

Jaan Tallinn is a founding engineer of Skype and Kazaa. He is a founder of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and philanthropically supports other existential risk research organizations such as the Future of Humanity Institute, the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. He has also served on the Estonian President’s Academic Advisory Board.

Harvard University

Jacob Trefethen

Jacob Trefethen is a Program Officer at Open Philanthropy. Previously, he co-founded Pie, acquired by Snapchat, and was a Henry Fellow at Harvard University, affiliated with the Department of Economics. Before that, he studied Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 2014. There, he founded 80,000 Hours: Cambridge, an organization that researches high-impact ethical careers and coaches altruistically-minded people on what careers they should choose.

Matt Wage

Matt Wage works for a financial trading firm and donates half of his income to charity. He completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University, where he completed a prize-winning senior thesis in philosophy and co-founded the Princeton chapter of Giving What We Can, an effective altruism-associated organisation whose members pledge to give at least 10% of their income to effective charities.