We are happy to announce our first round of grants from our Effective Animal Advocacy Fund (EAA Fund)1. In late 2018, we ran a matching challenge for the Fund with the support of a very generous anonymous donor. We raised a total of $1.94 million. We drafted an application form to allow charities, individuals, and other interested parties to apply for funding, and we received a total of 106 applications by our deadline on January 12. The response from both donors and applicants vastly exceeded our expectations and we’d like to thank everyone who has been involved so far.
Our Thinking About the EAA Fund
ACE has always been known for our charity evaluations, which are designed to find and promote the most effective giving opportunities for donors. When we began evaluations in 2014, our influence was much smaller than it is now. In 2014, we tracked $147,239 in donations influenced, all of which went towards our four recommended charities. Since that time, the money that ACE directs to our recommended charities has increased steadily each year. In 2018, we tracked over $6.5 million in gifts influenced to effective animal charities.2
Now that we influence a much greater portion of the movement’s funding, we’re looking to support a larger and more diverse group of charities. There are at least three reasons for this shift. First, we think that the movement should continue to fund a wide range of approaches because a broad, pluralistic animal advocacy movement is more likely to be resilient—and hence more impactful overall—than a narrow, monistic animal advocacy movement. Second, we think that the movement is more likely to be effective when continuing to fund a wide range of interventions because there is little available evidence supporting the effectiveness of any given one. Third, we think that building relationships with a larger group of individuals and charities will make our own work more effective by providing us with new information to consider and new individuals and groups with which to collaborate.
To elaborate, the first reason to support a wide range of charities is that we think the movement as a whole will be more resilient and hence more effective in the long term if a large, diverse group of charities employ a broad range of approaches to helping animals. Our EAA Fund provides an opportunity to encourage this wider distribution of funding within the movement. In particular, this Fund allows us to direct resources towards types of work that we think are particularly important and neglected, but may not be a good fit for our Top or Standout Charity designation. For instance, we have focused on supporting capacity building and legal work after noticing that they seem to be underfunded among our recommended charities.
We aim to improve the distribution of resources in the animal advocacy movement in all of our work. In our charity recommendations, we pursue this goal by finding and promoting impactful individual charities at the margin. In this fund, we are aiming to complement that work by supporting a wide range of individuals and groups whose work has the potential to contribute to the kind of broad, pluralistic movement that we think will be more effective in the long run. As a result, our methodology here is slightly different than our methodology for our charity evaluations. For example, our standard of evidence is lower and our tolerance of risk is higher. This is not a result of us changing our criteria of evaluation but rather of us adapting these criteria for the task at hand.
The second reason for us to support a diverse range of charities and interventions is the highly speculative nature of our work. The field of animal advocacy research is still in its early stages and there is relatively little evidence available about the effectiveness of most interventions. We do our best to identify the most promising opportunities with the evidence available to us—we draw from a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research, including survey research, experimental research, expert opinions, and case studies. Still, significant uncertainty remains regarding which charities and interventions are the most effective. Therefore, while we think that most marginal funds should go towards the projects that seem largest in scale, most neglected, and most tractable given available evidence, we also believe that we need to slightly reframe the question due to the growth of influence we have within the animal advocacy movement, and that greater consideration should be given to effectiveness on a movement level. This line of thinking has inspired us to diversify and support a relatively wide range of promising approaches, at least until more evidence is available.
The third reason is that we hope that by granting to a large number of individuals and charities, ACE can establish relationships throughout the animal advocacy movement that will help us extend our impact beyond the funding that we influence. Granting to a charity provides an opportunity for us to informally evaluate its work and make recommendations regarding its use of the funds. We plan to follow up with each recipient to discuss the progress they make with the grant, and we hope to encourage them to think about measuring their impact and increasing their effectiveness. The follow-up process will also be a learning experience for us which we hope to incorporate into future funding rounds in order to incrementally improve the effectiveness of this program.
Our Decision-Making Process
We evaluated the grant proposals on three criteria which we adapted from the standard effective altruism prioritization factors of scale, tractability, and neglectedness:
The “impact and effectiveness” criterion is intended to measure the potential impact of the project or goal of the grant, or the scale of its potential effects. We considered questions such as: How would this proposal help animals? Would it have a high learning value for us? Would it allow us to establish a relationship with a charity we may never have worked with before? All in all, how much would this proposal help animals, if we fund it?
In addition to the potential scale of a proposal’s impact, we considered the likelihood that the project would actually achieve that impact. To rate proposals on this criterion, we considered each applicant’s skills and track records. We also considered the methodology being proposed and any potential barriers to success.
Fit for EAA Fund (e.g., neglectedness and other factors)
Finally, we considered each proposal’s fit for our EAA Fund. Since the Fund was established in part to fill gaps in the movement, the neglectedness of each proposal’s cause was an important aspect of this criterion. We also considered the counterfactual impact of funding each proposal. In other words, we considered what each applicant might do if they did not receive a grant,3 as well as the alternative ways that we could use the funds. We considered whether any other grant programs might be a better fit for—or might be better equipped to evaluate—each application (including our Animal Advocacy Research Fund). Finally, we considered how well each proposal supported our priorities to fund capacity building work, as well as legal and legislative work.
Each member of our grant team independently rated the proposals on each criterion on a scale from one to five. We then calculated average scores for each criterion and a total average score for each proposal. This system allowed us to rank the proposals by their overall scores prior to our in-depth discussions of each application.4 This process took us until the end of January.
Throughout February and March, we held a series of meetings to discuss each proposal in more depth. We began by discussing the applications with the lowest scores, giving each grant team member the opportunity to make a case for a particular application if they felt it was deserving of a grant. We then discussed the proposals with the highest scores, followed by those that scored in the middle, and proceeded to make grant decisions one proposal at a time.
At this stage, we only decided whether an application should receive funding or not, and did not determine the grant amount. We flagged several applications as “maybes,” pending follow-up questions for applicants. In two cases, we also reached out to external experts for more specialized feedback. When we could not reach a consensus about whether an application should be funded, our Director of Research made the final decision.
Finally, we determined specific grant amounts, partially through written comments on our decision spreadsheet and partially in two further meetings. Typically, we either reached a consensus on the amount to grant or used the median suggested amount. Once these decisions had been made, we sought feedback from our Board of Directors on the grant decisions and the communication around the grants. No grant decisions were changed at this point.
Parallel to this evaluation process, we also vetted applicants to ensure that they met our basic requirements for receiving funding. The vetting process included background checks on the organizations and people applying.5
We categorized each proposal as having one or more of the following intended outcomes: influencing public opinion, capacity building, influencing industry, alliance building, and influencing policy or law. These outcome categories are not entirely discrete, but we find them to be a useful heuristic for thinking about the distribution of funding in the movement. More information about our menu of outcomes can be found on our website.
Overview of Results
Of the 106 applications we received, we decided to fund 48 of them6, or 45%. We disbursed about $1.39 million of our $1.94 million fund. We plan to disburse the remaining funds in future granting rounds. Because fundraising for this round of grants occurred during giving season and was matched by a very generous donor, we expect we may raise less funding for future rounds, especially in the spring. By reserving some of the funding from this round, it’s possible that we will be able to grant to outstanding applicants during the next round that we otherwise might not have had the capacity to support. During the next round, we will also consider disbursing some of these remaining funds to existing recipients that have demonstrated an effective use of their grant.
Our goal was to direct a substantial portion of our funding towards capacity-building projects, and we met this goal by funding 42 capacity-building proposals. We also hoped to fund a significant number of proposals supporting legal and policy work. We did not receive as many proposals as we hoped we would in that area, and we funded only 9 of them. Of the remaining grants, 31 are funding projects aimed at influencing public opinion, 9 are funding projects aimed at influencing industry, and 17 are funding projects aimed at building alliances.
Note that the number of grants supporting each type of outcome add to more than 48, our total number of grants. That’s because many of our grants support multiple outcome types. The items in our menu of outcomes are not meant to be exhaustive or mutually exclusive, but we’ve found them to be a useful heuristic for thinking about the distribution of resources among different approaches in the animal advocacy movement.
Description of Grants
Animal Aid ($50,000)
Animal Aid campaigns throughout the U.K. for a world free from animal abuse and exploitation. They work towards this vision from a number of angles including education, a summer vegan pledge program, a vegan labeling campaign, undercover investigations, and activist workshops. They have a long track record of successfully carrying out this work—for example, their undercover investigations and campaigns contributed to a new law requiring CCTV in English slaughterhouses, and their vegan pledge program produced promising results in recent research. We are excited about their plans for additional funding, which we think will help them to increase their impact and contribute to the capacity of the movement. With this grant, they plan to make their education program more inclusive, build on their vegan pledge program, upgrade their capacity for carrying out undercover investigations, and conduct more activist workshops.
Animal Ethics ($44,000)
Animal Ethics works to spread anti-speciesist messages in academia and to a general audience. They research topics related to anti-speciesism and animal issues—particularly wild animal welfare—and they write up their findings in academic papers and essays aimed at a general audience. Welfare biology seems to be a neglected area of academic study, and animal advocates producing high-quality research in this area may help stimulate additional research in the field. Animal Ethics was one of our Standout Charities from December 2015 to November 2017. When their status as a Standout Charity was up for review in 2017, there was still a great deal of uncertainty regarding the tractability of interventions to help wild animals and we hadn’t seen significant visible progress since their 2015 review. Since then, they have grown as an organization and developed a clearer path to impact through academic outreach and the development of welfare biology as a field. We now have more confidence in their potential to positively impact animals. With this grant, they plan to develop a new website with online resources for wild animal advocates, including an online course, an advocacy guide, and new foundational research.
Animal Justice Project ($20,000)
Animal Justice Project is an international anti-speciesist nonprofit. While they are primarily focused on ending animal experimentation, we have provided funding for their “Lifeline” campaign which is focused on helping broiler chickens in the U.K. They have plans to conduct investigations into broiler farms and disseminate the resultant footage through a national media and outreach campaign. The campaign will spread the message through billboards, tabling, and screenings of footage from the investigations, as well through social and traditional media coverage. They have conducted similar outreach in their work against animal experimentation, and we hope they can apply the same model successfully here.
Animal Place ($10,000)7
Animal Place runs a program called “Food For Thought” that works with animal rescues and shelters, wildlife rehabilitation and protection groups, and environmental protection and advocacy groups to encourage them to adopt vegan or vegetarian menu policies for sponsored events. What sets this particular form of institutional outreach apart from others is that they are specifically targeting organizations where they can make a strong argument that adopting these food policies will help them to become more aligned with their own mission. They aim to highlight the connections and build synergistic alliances between farmed animal advocacy and other causes that are naturally well aligned. Since 2014, they have achieved food policy changes at over 100 organizations, and we hope this grant will help them to expand their program to include human-focused social justice organizations doing multi-issue work.
Animal Welfare Media ($33,000)
Animal Welfare Media creates professional video content for animal advocacy organizations.8 Founder, Executive Producer, and Director Tom Cohen is an Emmy Award-winning TV producer and Director, having worked on programs for the Discovery Channel, Nat Geo Wild, MSNBC, and more. Animal Welfare Media applied for an EAA Fund grant in order to produce videos for three effective animal charities that could not otherwise afford their services. While the specific charities have yet to be determined, Animal Welfare Media provided us with a list of prospective charities that we believe are effective organizations whose work would benefit from this service.
Aph Ko ($40,000)
Aph Ko is a scholar working to bridge the gap between the animal advocacy and anti-racist movements. She founded Black Vegans Rock and co-authored Aphro-ism, Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. She is currently working on a second book that she hopes will serve as an accessible guide for discussions on the entanglement of animal oppression and racial oppression. This grant will provide support for the completion of her second book, a speaking tour, an animation centering on the relationship between racism and animality, and outreach through her website.
A Prayer for Compassion ($25,000)
A Prayer for Compassion is a full-length documentary aimed to persuade individuals who identify as spiritual or religious to live more compassionately and go vegan. The film features interviews with people from a variety of faiths who discuss the teaching of compassion within their religions and the ways in which the ideas align with veganism. We are interested in the focus on religious audiences as it currently seems that there is not a lot of existing advocacy that would reach this sector. The film has been completed, and A Prayer for Compassion has applied for funding to promote the film and to ensure the largest possible audience is reached.
Arvind Animal Activist ($5,000)
Arvind Kannan has been producing educational videos about veganism and promoting them through Facebook and YouTube. His videos cover the ethical, health, and environmental reasons for going vegan, and are primarily targeted at the Tamil speaking population (of whom there are 69 million in India). Since the start of 2017, his Youtube videos have a combined total of 230,000 views, and his facebook page has 32,000 likes. In 2019, he is aiming to produce a further 70 videos, expanding on his existing content. Compared to many Western countries, individual outreach in India is relatively neglected, so this type of work is likely to be more impactful than the equivalent work in countries with more developed vegan movements.
Balanced is a public health and nutrition advocacy organization focused on food industry accountability and institutional menu reform. They work with institutions such as hospitals, schools, and other cafeterias to add plant-based items to menus and to reduce at least 20% of the animal products served to children, families, and community members. They intentionally focus exclusively on health messaging with the aim of being able to reach audiences who may be less susceptible to animal rights or environmental messages. Balanced works to support the work of others in community-level institutional campaigns by providing resources such as their Community Advocacy Guide and their Advocacy Toolkit. They also conduct institutional outreach themselves using both positive tactics, such as providing resources, as well as pressure tactics. To support the wider movement, they’re working on developing resources that identify the barriers to change that different institutions face. They’re also developing a menu of possible solutions to share with other advocacy organizations when strategizing institution-specific campaigns. We hope this grant will support their outreach to institutions and their advocacy work which provides resources and support to other organizations and individuals working in the space.
Be Fair Be Vegan ($30,000)
Be Fair Be Vegan (BFBV) employs physical advertising, including billboards, to run targeted vegan advocacy campaigns in specific cities. They have previously run campaigns in six other cities, including New York City, and are now planning a new campaign for Toronto. In order to maximize their effectiveness, they use an evaluation criteria prior to selecting a city that includes population size, availability of outdoor advertising space, cost, and potential for on-the-ground outreach in conjunction with the campaign. Their strategy is threefold: first, they use advertising to raise awareness of veganism as a matter of fundamental justice; second, they use digital, video, and social media to ask their audience to explore the issues and learn about going vegan; and third, they ask them to deepen their commitment and improve their understanding of veganism by joining a vegan education program. While we are generally uncertain about the effectiveness of physical advertising, BFBV’s approach seems to be particularly thoughtful and well implemented, and it provides a good opportunity for us to learn more about the impact of this intervention.
Better Eating International ($50,000)
Better Eating International uses tailored and targeted videos to reach people with messaging that speaks to the unique experiences of their own communities. Better Eating conducts research that aims to contribute to the development of more impactful content and more effective targeting through audience segmentation. We are interested in learning more about the impact of their work to target very specific audiences with messages designed for them. Better Eating applied for funding to support content creation, and we hope that this grant helps them to reach new people who have been historically underserved by the animal advocacy movement. There’s no single message that will appeal to everyone, so learning more about how to reach different groups and how to be more inclusive in our outreach may be one of the most promising ways to increase impact. Better Eating is continually evaluating and refining their work: They are planning to release the results of an audience segmentation study that they conducted with a market research firm later this year. They intend to use the research to develop future content which they will in turn study through additional research, looking for quantifiable outcomes of their work.
Center for Animal Law Studies ($50,000)
The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis and Clark Law School established the school as one of the leading institutions to study animal law in the U.S., offering 25 animal law courses and running the first-of-its-kind academic journal focused on animal law. They requested funding to help launch the Animal Agriculture Law Project, which aims to establish an industrial animal agriculture course in every American Bar Association (ABA) law curriculum in the U.S. Starting with their current semester-long course on industrial animal agriculture, they plan to expand the focus beyond laws and court decisions, incorporating economics and public policy issues—thereby presenting a more complete picture of industrial agriculture. CALS’ legal and academic experts have extensive prior experience in both developing casebooks and introducing and fostering animal law courses at ABA-accredited schools, so we feel they are well-positioned to successfully carry out this work. While the impact of this work will take a long time to be realized, establishing a course in every school would greatly increase the number of animal lawyers who are intimately aware of the issues with factory farming.
Centre for a Responsible Future ($15,000)
Based in Singapore, the Centre for a Responsible Future (CRF) inspires and supports people and organizations in Singapore to make more humane, healthy, and sustainable choices through advocacy, education, and engagement. CRF operates five programs geared towards reducing the use of animals for food: Animal Allies, which conducts outreach advocacy work; the Alliance for a Responsible Future, which conducts corporate engagement around plant-based food; EarthFest, an annual environmental sustainability event with a focus on plant-based foods; PlantForward, a new program aimed at conducting outreach to promote the benefits of plant-based diets within the healthcare industry; and the Vegetarian Society of Singapore, which organizes events and supports building community around vegetarianism in Singapore. We hope this grant will support their corporate engagement work through the Alliance for a Responsible Future in Singapore.
Christopher Sebastian McJetters ($25,000)
Christopher Sebastian is an author, researcher, and lecturer who focuses on animal ethics and its intersections with other forms of oppression. He is the Director of social media for Peace Advocacy Network, the senior editor at Vine Sanctuary Press, a co-founder of and contributor to VGN, and a lecturer at Columbia University. He also provides free online content and hosts panels, speaking events, and workshops internationally. We think McJetters has a unique and engaging approach that allows him to connect with vegans—and potential vegans—around the world. He asks critical questions and communicates ways that the animal advocacy movement can grow. McJetters receives more speaking invitations than he is currently able to accept due to funding limitations. We hope that this grant will help him expand his reach, in addition to providing some basic support for content development, equipment, and other needs.
Compassion Over Killing ($30,000)
Compassion Over Killing is a nonprofit that focuses on ending animal abuse through investigations, litigation work, and institutional and individual outreach. In their litigation work, they have identified a need for a permanent program to increase their capacity to enforce existing laws that protect farmed animals, and to develop new legal strategies for targeting industrial animal agriculture. To this end, we are providing partial funding for the salary of a lawyer to start work on the program.
Compassionate Action for Animals ($40,000)
Based out of Minneapolis, Compassionate Action for Animals conducts individual outreach and humane education in local schools, they run the Twin Cities VegFest, and they recently began a veg mentorship program and started engaging in institutional outreach. Some of their programs, such as dine-outs and potlucks, focus on building community, while other programs aim to support animal advocates by providing resources and trainings. They applied for an EAAF grant to hire a community organizer and to expand their volunteer-led programs serving local communities that are underrepresented in animal advocacy.
Dharma Voices for Animals ($15,000)
Dharma Voices for Animals is a Buddhist animal advocacy group that works to educate Buddhist communities on animal rights issues as they pertain to the Buddha’s teachings. They conduct institutional outreach at Buddhist centers to persuade them to change towards plant-based menus, and they give talks at Dhamma schools. They are currently in operation countrywide in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and they engage in smaller actions in parts of the U.S. and Europe. They hope to expand their program to other Asian countries with high Buddhist populations, such as China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Taiwan. Advocacy towards Buddhist populations seems neglected, and their approach seems promising given Buddhism’s focus on the reduction of suffering. We hope their approach will prove scalable and allow for effective targeting of the ~500 million Buddhists worldwide.
Dyrevernalliansen (Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance) ($16,500)
Founded in 2001, Dyrevernalliansen (Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance) is a foundation for improving animal welfare, focused on intensive farming practices, the fur industry, and animal experimentation. From 2008–2012 they ran the Norwegian Animal Protection Fund (NAPF), which was used to fund research projects that would further the animal advocacy movement. Since 2012, they had not had a sufficient capital base to continue administering the NAPF. However, they have recently been approached by a private sponsor seeking to provide the fund with $117,000 towards its capital base, annually for the next three years. They applied for funding to cover the operating costs of running the fund such as staff wages and overhead. Our grant will cover the costs associated with administering the NAPF for the next year so that they can resume funding research.
The Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) is a nonprofit that is working to improve the legal status of animals in Taiwan. Established in 1999, they view animal welfare, human welfare, and environmental protection as interconnected and are campaigning to change the ways animals are viewed in Asian societies. EAST hopes to incorporate into Taiwan law a recognition of non-human animals as sentient beings whose welfare and needs deserve consideration and protection by the government. As a first step, they plan to work with law professors to conduct feasibility research, and then to coordinate with other animal advocacy groups. We are providing them with partial funding to support this legislative work.
Emerging Markets Investors Alliance ($30,000)
The Emerging Markets Investors Alliance (“the Alliance”) is a nonprofit that enables institutional investors to support good governance and sustainable development in the corporations and governments in which they invest. Incorporated in 2015, the Alliance educates investors on topics such as transparency, anti-corruption, the environment, and corporate governance, in addition to promoting animal welfare. They sought funding from us for two areas of their work: (i) a web portal for their planned environmental/social/governance (ESG) certification program, and (ii) the hiring of a Researcher to educate investors on ESG concerns in the Brazilian protein industry. Both programs have the potential to create change for animals in a way that is innovative and complementary to the work of many of our recommended charities. We are providing this grant for the Alliance to use however they feel would best serve the interests of animals, which we hope will increasingly become a focus of their programs. Over time, we hope to learn much more about the potential of the Alliance’s unique approach.
Encompass aims to make the animal advocacy movement more impactful by making it more racially diverse, equitable, and inclusive. They support organizations in their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, and they work to support individual activists of color. This year they plan to pursue DEI work with major farmed animal advocacy organizations, research the current state of DEI within the animal advocacy movement and produce a “state of the movement” report, continue developing their support programs and resources for advocates of color, and transition from a fiscal sponsor to operating independently. We’ve previously written about the importance of DEI within the movement and published an interview with Encompass’ founder, Aryenish Birdie. We hope this grant will help Encompass bring on their first paid staffer, which we think would substantially increase their capacity to build their programs and impact.
Equalia is a relatively new animal charity based in Spain—they launched in the final months of 2018. They are currently working to achieve mandatory video surveillance in all Spanish slaughterhouses and to implement “Green Monday” policies in municipalities, catering companies, and other communities. This grant will provide funding for about five months of Equalia’s work, until they are able to hire a paid development staff member.
Equal Sign ($15,000)
Equal Sign is a new vegan festival taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia. The festival is designed to appeal to not only vegans but also people from other social movements, such as human rights and environmental advocates. The organizers have experience running this kind of event, having previously run a vegan festival in Russia that they claim to be the largest ever in Eastern Europe or Russia. We think vegan advocacy in general is likely to be neglected in Russia, especially advocacy that attempts to appeal to other social movements.
Essere Animali ($40,000)
Essere Animali is a farmed animal advocacy organization based in Italy. They conduct investigations and open rescues to raise awareness of the cruelty in the animal agriculture industry. They also work with corporations to implement welfare reforms, and they coordinate protest campaigns to ban particularly cruel practices. They have experienced quick expansion as an organization in the last couple of years, and will partially be using funding to strengthen their organization through management and leadership trainings in order to continue to grow sustainably. They also have plans to in turn provide trainings to other activists in the movement in an effort to disseminate their own institutional knowledge more widely. Separately, they also plan to use funding to launch a campus outreach program at Italian universities by hiring a campus outreach coordinator. A nationally coordinated program such as this has not been implemented before in Italy, and similar programs in the U.S. have been successful at engaging students in activism.
Factory Farming Awareness Coalition ($50,000)
The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (FFAC) delivers humane education in schools, community groups, and businesses across the U.S. and in Canada. They report that over 88% of the people they reach subsequently pledge to reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products. FFAC is currently seeking funding to establish a national internship program that was piloted in San Francisco this past fall. They hope to develop a network of high school and college student leaders who can help raise awareness of animal ethics in their communities by delivering presentations, organizing Green Monday campaigns at their schools, tabling at events, and founding animal rights/veg/food justice clubs. This type of work may help grow the capacity of the movement by bringing in young activists and giving them training, and by expanding the reach of their work to new audiences. We hope our grant can help add staff capacity to this new program in addition to funding a number of paid internships, which could make the program more accessible to low-income students.
Factory Farming Legal Fellowship ($20,000)
The Factory Farming Legal Fellowship Program places young attorneys in year-long fellowship positions with the Richman Law Group, where fellows focus on false advertising litigation against industrial agribusinesses. The Richman Law Group has a few ongoing cases related to animal agriculture—they note that one potential outcome of these cases, besides favorable legal decisions, is increased public awareness of the inhumane practices used in factory farming. This grant is intended to partially fund the annual salary of the Factory Farming Law and Policy Fellow.
Faunacción promotes veganism in Mexico by helping Mexicans rediscover their cultural history through learning to prepare traditionally plant-based indigenous meals. Faunacción utilizes the strengths and resources inherent in the local cultures and contexts rather than imposing external knowledge or culture on local communities. This approach of presenting information, arguments, and resources that people can relate to from the standpoint of a cultural insider may be more effective than a large international charity coming in and asking locals to adapt to an outside culture. This seems like a relatively unique and potentially powerful approach, with the chance to reach and empower new people not typically targeted by the animal advocacy movement. We’re hoping this grant will support their outreach work with “El Molcajete,” a mobile food education project that provides cooking classes, food samplings, a pop-up food library, and presentations on veganism and related issues relevant to the local context, all free of charge.
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations ($50,000)
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) acts as the collective voice of the animal advocacy movement in India, with more than 120 member organizations. They work with many different cause areas—farmed animals, companion animals, animals in captivity, legal personhood, and movement building. We are providing funding towards a new project they plan to launch which is focused on political advocacy work, targeted at Members of Parliament (MPs). They are aiming to build relationships with MPs and educate them on animal welfare issues in order to bring animal concerns into the political discussion in India. Among other aims they hope this will lead to stronger implementation of existing laws and development of policies that better regulate the animal farming industry. While we expect that it will take time for the effects on animals to be realized, FIAPO has clear short-term goals (e.g. securing a commitment for 20 MP’s to pledge for animal welfare) that will make the progress of this project easy to track. If successful, this work could create substantial impact for farmed animals in India, and its methods may serve as a template for similar political outreach in other countries.
Food Empowerment Project ($50,000)
The Food Empowerment Project (FEP) is a vegan food justice organization that works to reduce the injustices inflicted upon animals, humans, and the environment by the food system. Based in California, they (i) promote veganism through education and outreach, (ii) collaborate with community organizations and conduct campaigns to help ensure there is access to healthy foods in low-income communities, (iii) work to inform the public about some of the worst forms of child labor and slavery that occur in the chocolate industry, and (iv) work to support the rights of farm workers. Some of their outreach aims to support specific communities by providing relevant resources, such as their upcoming Filipinx Food website and Vegan Mexican Food website. They work to address the more systemic issues and obstacles such as food deserts that prevent many people from being able to go vegan, and they work to empower those with the fewest resources to be able to make change.
Food Frontier ($21,000)
Established in 2017, Food Frontier is an independent think tank and industry accelerator for plant-based and cell-cultured meat in Australia and New Zealand. Food Frontier advises and connects leaders in business, food, agriculture, government, and investment to promote the development and adoption of plant-based and cell-cultured meat. They publish research and white papers and organize industry events. Food Frontier aims to create a better food system for all by driving evidence-based solutions to the demand for familiar protein sources that don’t rely on industrial animal agriculture.
Grassroots Artists MovEment ($30,000)
Based in New York, Grassroots Artists MovEment (G.A.ME) uses hip hop and social justice programing to address a number of issues, including but not limited to: unequal access to healthy food, youth incarceration, and poor healthcare access. They applied for funding for Black VegFest, which promotes veganism alongside socioeconomic and political issues facing Black and Latinx communities. They aim to address social justice issues impacting humans and other animals and spread understanding of intersectionality. The first Black VegFest occurred in Brooklyn, NY in August, 2018, and we hope this grant will contribute to a successful Black VegFest for 2019.
Human Behaviour Change for Animals ($20,000)
Human Behaviour Change for Animals (HBCA) is a research organization that’s dedicated to exploring and sharing knowledge of principles of human behavior change that may be instrumental for animal advocates. They were established following the First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare in September 2016. HBCA is co-run by Suzanne Rogers and Jo White and has a network of over twenty experts who consult on the development of their in-person workshops and online courses. HBCA applied for funding for the administration and content development of their 2019 calendar of events.
LifeAfterHummus Community Benefit Society ($22,000)
Based in London, LifeAfterHummus aims to engage with low-income communities, people of color, and those who would generally not have access to vegan outreach and resources. They offer free cooking classes and resources that help make vegan eating and change more accessible for people in these communities. We think this type of work has potential for important impact by engaging neglected populations and increasing the diversity and accessibility of veganism. We hope this grant will help LifeAfterHummus conduct outreach to medical and health professionals serving marginalized populations and neglected areas.
Mission Vegan Andhra ($4,000)
Ravi Keerthi runs his activism project, Mission Vegan Andhra, in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India (population approximately 50 million). Working in the local language of Telugu, he produces educational videos and gives lectures at educational institutions in and around the state capital. He covers introductory topics about veganism and anti-speciesism. We are providing funding to cover equipment and travel costs to help him achieve his goal of giving 150 lectures across different cities in the state in 2019 (he gave 51 lectures in the last 6 months of 2018) and to support making and publishing videos. As with Arvind Animal Activist, given the relative neglectedness of dietary outreach in India, we think Mission Vegan Andhra is likely more impactful than a similar organization in country with a more developed vegan movement would be.
Northwest VEG ($21,240)
Northwest Veg is a nonprofit working to encourage people to make vegan choices and support people in their transitions towards a vegan lifestyle through outreach, education, and community-building activities in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA metro areas. They help build a strong vegan community by organizing monthly community gatherings, educational opportunities and cooking demos, outreach and social events, and an annual VegFest and Tofurkey Trot. They applied for an EAAF grant to support the development of their Veg Families program which aims to provide programing and support to kids and families in underserved and food-insecure areas of Portland.
Palestinian Animal League ($35,000)
The Palestinian Animal League (PAL) is one of the only animal advocacy organizations operating in Palestine. They work on promoting veganism in the West Bank through lobbying local governments, providing humane education, and operating a pro-bono animal clinic and vegan community center with lectures and film screenings. They plan to work with other animal advocacy groups in the region (i.e. Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Kurdistan, etc.) and have established solidarity groups in Europe and Brazil. Through articles, lectures, and tours through Europe, PAL will discuss Islamophobia and misconceptions about vegans in countries such as Palestine, and they will address the importance of multi-issue approaches in tackling all forms of oppression. They aim to build a strong vegan movement within Palestine and to strengthen their ability to engage and connect with other animal advocacy organizations in the Global South. This grant will help to support their efforts to establish a vegan movement in Palestine, their assistance with other animal advocacy groups in the Global South, and their solidarity work with groups in the Global North.
Peace Advocacy Network ($20,000)
Peace Advocacy Network aims to address not only the harm done to animals through animal agriculture, but also the harm that the industry inflicts on the most vulnerable humans. Peace Advocacy Network operates in-person pledge programs and an annual vegan festival. Because their pledge programs are located in specific cities rather than just online, they have the ability to offer potentially important support by providing free seminars, cooking demos, and personal connections. We hope this grant will help their unique pledge program reach more people with their message connecting human rights and animal rights. By working to address systemic problems within the food system and barriers for those with fewer resources, their work helps to empower these populations—often neglected by other forms of advocacy—to be able to make change.
PlantPure Communities ($30,000)
PlantPure Communities (PPC) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded after the release of the 2015 documentary PlantPure Nation. The film includes a call-to-action for people to form independent groups called “Pods,” through which people share nutrition information, offer support, and lead project and policy initiatives in support of plant-based lifestyles. There are over 600 Pods in the network listed on the PlantPure Communities website, with a total reported membership of over 200,000 people. PPC plans to grow and leverage this network towards activism through public awareness campaigns, the promotion of plant-based options in local restaurants, and via a pilot program. The pilot program will take place in approximately 15 underserved New York City neighborhoods, and it will be used to introduce health messaging into local communities via a network of physicians with Pod support. PPC’s goal is to help validate this model and then scale it nationwide. We are thus providing funding towards staff costs to initiate this pilot program with the hope that if it is successful, it can be replicated across other regions.
The Save Movement ($58,580)
The Save Movement is a global network of rapidly growing groups who bear witness as farmed animals are transported to slaughter. We are providing funding to support two of their newer endeavors, Climate Save Movement ($48,000), which emphasizes the environmental impact of animal agriculture, and Health Save Movement ($10,580), which aims to promote the health benefits of veganism and to make veganism more accessible. In our review of The Save Movement, we describe how their primary aim is to build the capacity of the animal advocacy movement by creating activists. It seems plausible that each of these new branches of their operations may have the potential to reach a wider audience and bring in even more activists. The Save Movement has a relatively unique approach to community building and has seen rapid growth in recent years. We plan to follow up with them about their new projects and to learn more about the impact of their approach.
Sentient is an Israeli nonprofit focused on conducting undercover investigations, primarily into industrial agriculture. They frequently collaborate with other organizations to help spread the footage they capture, and have started to record 360-degree footage to create VR experiences. We have provided them with funding to expand this investigation work both in Israel and abroad, and for their Animalist project, which seeks to map out the animal advocacy movement.
Sneha’s Care ($18,600)
Founded in 2014, Sneha’s Care is an animal charity based in Nepal. They conduct advocacy to improve animal welfare and protection laws with an approach that is sensitive to the impact on farmers. They plan to contribute to the development of improved welfare standards and to work with government, religious leaders, and industry to see that the improvements are implemented. We hope that this grant will support their work with Nepal’s government to implement improved animal welfare laws and to spread awareness through the public about animal welfare issues.
The Raven Corps ($10,000)
Based in Portland, OR, The Raven Corps works to support young activists (ages 14–22) in advocating for plant-based diets. The Raven Corps works to facilitate community among these activists, or “Ravens,” and to mobilize youth-led, grassroots activism. They recently launched two new chapters, one in California and one in Australia, and they are planning to launch additional chapters in the U.S. later this year. We hope this grant will (i) help support their growth, (ii) help us learn more about how to successfully engage youth in animal activism, and (iii) ultimately contribute to a greater involvement of young people in this work.
The Vegan Rainbow Project ($5,000)
The Vegan Rainbow Project works to make the animal advocacy movement more inclusive by helping people to make the connection between different types of oppression. To this end, they conduct and publish interviews with activists and scholars from vegan living minorities and marginalized groups, and they provide resources on the interconnections between speciesism and other forms of (human) oppression. Additionally, they provide talks and workshops on interconnected oppression to both vegan and non-vegan audiences, spread the vegan message at Pride events, and actively support vegan events and communities.
The Veggie Connection ($10,000)
The Veggie Connection works to put on affordable events that spread awareness of and build community around plant-based lifestyles in “second tier” cities where these events are not currently taking place. For many people living outside of major cities, it is not accessible to travel long distances to attend vegfests to hear speakers, try new products, and meet other vegans. While these types of events and the knowledge and motivation they spread are common across some of the largest cities in the U.S., they are much less common in slightly smaller cities—we think targeting these populations with this type of outreach could help to normalize veganism and make it feel more accessible. We hope this grant will help to sustain these events targeting less-often-reached populations and to keep ticket prices low so that they are accessible regardless of income.
Thrive Baltimore Community Resource Center ($30,000)
Thrive Baltimore is a community resource center run by a collective of food, environmental, and social justice advocates that provides free plant-based cooking demonstrations, nutrition lectures, food tastings, and film screenings to help members of marginalized communities transition to vegan living. They also host larger community-based events such as an annual vegan street festival, and they collaborate in their work with the Afro-Vegan Society. Thrive offers low-cost vegan food at all of their events and aims to raise awareness of health and food access disparities across Baltimore. We hope this grant will help them to expand their reach and further develop their programs which could serve as models for similar work in other cities.
UK Centre for Animal Law ($19,147)
The UK Centre for Animal Law is a legal education charity that provides legal expertise and educational resources to those interested in animal law. They publish an academic journal, The UK Journal of Animal Law, as well as a free eMagazine, and enable networking of both legal professionals and students. They also work with academics to promote the study of animal law in universities, and they provide consultation on U.K. Government policies. We are providing them with funding (i) to help them further support students by hiring a part-time student outreach coordinator, and (ii) to sponsor student places for the 2019 Animal Law Conference.
Veganuary is a U.K.-based charity that runs a month-long vegan pledge campaign every January. They have expanded globally, and so far over 500,000 people have officially taken the pledge, with approximately half of survey respondents reporting they would stay vegan after the end of the month. Veganuary also provides consultation with companies interested in introducing more vegan products, to coincide with the Veganuary campaign. They applied for funding to help better understand the impact of their corporate campaigns—they will be commissioning consumer and marketing reports as well as funding a freelance data scientist, a corporate outreach manager, and a research manager to analyze the reports. We have asked that they make the results of their study publicly available so that other groups and individuals can benefit from their research.
Vegetarianos Hoy ($25,000)
Established in 2012, Vegetarianos Hoy is a nonprofit based in Chile that works to reduce the consumption of animal products through (i) campaigning to individuals and (ii) working collaboratively with governments and companies to provide more plant-based options. We are interested in supporting their advocacy work in what is currently a fairly neglected country in South America. They applied for funding to secure office space and to hire a full-time publicist to manage the content of their campaign. They also intend to hire a part-time corporate outreach assistant who will help expand their capacity to work with companies to provide more plant-based options.
Conflicts of Interest
To limit the potential influence of conflicts of interests (COIs) between staff involved in the granting process and grant applicants, we took the following precautions:
- We considered that any serious COI (past employment, past or present involvement with Board of Directors or intensive volunteer work, close relationship with an employee) would disqualify a member of the grant committee from being involved with evaluating the relevant application.
- After all applications were in but prior to any discussion of them, ACE staff members involved in the granting decisions listed any COIs they had on a spreadsheet.
- When the team discussed an application where a COI was identified for a particular staff member, that staff member would leave the call prior to the discussion and would not return until a decision had been made.
A few COIs were identified for charities that are not receiving grants. We are not listing those here in order to protect the applicants’ confidentiality. The following conflicts of interest were identified for the charities receiving grants:
- Sofia Davis-Fogel
- Better Eating International
- Factory Farming Legal Fellowship Program
- Trent Grassian
- Christopher Sebastian McJetters
- Animal Aid
- Jamie Spurgeon
- Animal Ethics
Additionally, we identified as a possible conflict of interest the fact that Animal Welfare Media created the video for ACE’s 2017 “Pampered Pets” campaign. Since no ACE staff has a personal relationship with anyone involved with Animal Welfare Media and we do not have plans for them to produce future content for ACE, we determined that this particular instance did not create a significant conflict of interest according to our bylaws.
Effective Animal Advocacy Fund is now Movement Grants. See this blog post for our reasoning behind the name change.
This includes donations to our recommended charities as well as donations to the EAA Fund.
For example, groups with larger budgets may be more likely than groups with smaller budgets to find other sources of funding for the projects described in their grant proposals.
The staff members involved in the grant evaluation process were as follows:
- Quantitative rankings: Sofia Davis-Fogel (former Managing Director), Toni Adleberg (Director of Research), Aaron Call (Research Associate), Jamie Spurgeon (Research Associate), and Trent Grassian (former Research Associate).
- Qualitative discussions and grant amount decisions: Sofia Davis-Fogel (former Managing Director), Toni Adleberg (Director of Research), Aaron Call (Research Associate), Jamie Spurgeon (Research Associate), and Melissa Guzikowski (Managing Editor).
This included checking the first three pages of results on Google after searching for the names of the organization and the names of the individual applicants, coupled with the search terms: “harassment,” “discrimination,” and “lawsuit.”
Initially we announced funding 49 projects but we have not been able to disburse one of the grants.
As they were unable to complete the project as they had hoped, Animal Place offered to return 6,600 USD of the grant, which we accepted. Movement Grants tend to be high-risk/high-reward, so it’s expected that not all projects will turn out as planned. We greatly appreciate Animal Place’s transparency.
Please see the conflicts of interest section at the end of this post for some information about our relationship with Animal Welfare Media.
Jonas Vollmer says
Very exciting to see this update, in particular that you’re taking a broader approach!
Did you also consider providing funding to organizations who hadn’t applied for funding? E.g., you might solicit recommendations for whom to fund from the community and supporters.
Toni Adleberg says
Thanks for the comment!
When we began this round of grants, we generated a list of organizations that we thought would be good candidates and we invited them to apply. The vast majority of them did, so there was no need for us to consider any organizations that did not apply. I imagine we will take a similar approach in the future; if there is an organization that we would like to grant to that did not formally apply for a grant, we would just invite them to apply. (That way, we have similar information about each charity under consideration.) I really like the idea of soliciting recommendations from our community–thanks for the suggestion! I will see if we can work that into the process next time.
All the best,
Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH says
HI there–love your approach. are you planning on another round of grants soon? I missed this last deadline! Thanks
Aysha Akhtar, MD
Marianne van der Werf says
Thank you for your interest in the EAA Fund. Our next round of applications is expected to open at the beginning of next year. I’m looking forward to your application!