In 2021, Scalable Path made the decision to donate 10% of our profits to fight climate change. In this article, I’d like to share how and why we came to this decision in order to provoke others to think about doing something similar.
Why we decided to donate
Our decision to start donating was inspired in part by Sam Harris’ conversation with philosopher and ethicist William McAskill, about effective altruism and maximizing charitable impact. Often, despite the best intentions, philanthropic efforts are less effective because our decisions about where and how to give are under-considered. According to McAskill, if more people adopt a data-driven approach to donating known as ‘strategic giving,’ they can maximize the impact of every dollar they give and, in effect, do more good for our world.
Our decision to donate 10% of our profits annually was inspired by an organization called The Founder’s Pledge. The pledge asks that individuals give a percentage of their profits for life and, although we are a company and don’t fit their mold exactly, we recognize the power and importance of committing to donate on a consistent basis over time.
Choosing where to donate
After making the decision to donate 10% of our profits to charity, the next step was to figure out which charities to give money to. We quickly discovered that finding the right charity is not an easy task, which is why organizations like GiveWell do an important job. GiveWell is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that does in-depth research on charities to help people find where they can give and be most impactful. Although we respect how GiveWell ranks charities, we found that some of their top-ranked charities were not necessarily in line with our priorities. For example, the Against Malaria Foundation is a great cause to donate to if your priority is to save the most number of lives now for the least amount of money. However, my personal focus is more on the long-term survival of humanity as a whole, and after discussing the subject with Scalable Path’s internal team, we decided that climate change prevention is a cause that we all feel is a high priority.
Climate change and its effects on the environment are creating potentially irreversible damage to our planet. 2020 was the hottest year on record and had some of the most intense tropical storms, frequent wildfires, and longer droughts. According to Nasa, over the next century, sea levels are projected to rise 1-8 feet and global temperatures will increase by 2.5-10 degrees. If we don’t act now to address climate change and accelerate sustainable solutions, we may not overcome this environmental crisis. The way I see it, I want to first make sure our planet will be inhabitable before focusing on other problems that might become irrelevant if humanity no longer exists.
Once we decided to focus on climate change, there was still the problem of figuring out which charities in the space to donate to. At Scalable Path, we don’t have the expertise and resources needed to understand the entire landscape and make optimal decisions on which climate change charities to fund. For this reason, we chose to donate to The Climate Change Fund. This initiative promises to triple the effort of climate change prevention through evidence-based solutions to tackle global warming, air pollution, and energy poverty. The organization has fund managers who get to know their specific domain extremely well, and it makes sense to me to delegate the important decision of which exact charities receive funds based on their performance and current needs.
How to Donate to the Climate Change Fund
If you’re interested in supporting this fund, you can donate here:
If you give to this charity or others, we recommend telling other people about it. There is a stigma about publicizing your giving, but you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t spread the word. We’re hopeful that by taking action and talking about it, we can improve the world and inspire others to do the same.