We are excited to announce the new name of the grant program formerly known as the Effective Animal Advocacy Fund (EAA Fund). From now on, the program will be referred to as Movement Grants.1 The objective of the grant program remains the same: to fund promising animal advocacy projects. In this article, we will explain the reasoning behind our decision to rename the grant program and reiterate our thinking about its purpose, as the program has evolved since its inception in late 2018.
Motivations for the Renaming
Under the consultation of Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) staff and stakeholders, we renamed the grant program from Effective Animal Advocacy Fund to Movement Grants to more accurately reflect its mission. Below we describe other factors that were considered.
All Our Work Aims to Support Effective Animal Advocacy
Even though “effective animal advocacy” describes the ultimate goal of the fund, that description also applies to ACE’s other programs. Therefore, the previous name did not clarify how this grant program is different from ACE’s other initiatives.
Distinction Between Other Giving and Funding Options
ACE offers several giving options. Donors can restrict their gift to support one or more of our Top and Standout Charities or have their donation distributed among the group of charities via our Recommended Charity Fund (RCF). They can also support our Movement Grants or ACE’s own work. The aims and internal processes for these programs and giving options are very different, but we noticed that, externally, the difference can appear ambiguous, especially between the RCF and Movement Grants. ACE’s Recommended Charities were previously eligible for Movement Grants, causing even more confusion. To make our giving options and grant programs more distinct, we updated the eligibility criteria of Movement Grants (more on this in the section below) and renamed the program. Additionally, the name EAA Fund caused the fund to occasionally be confused with the unaffiliated Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund.
A More Descriptive Name
As an abbreviation, “EAA” can be nondescript to those unfamiliar with the effective animal advocacy movement. “Movement Grants” avoids this confusion as it doesn’t depend on an abbreviation. Also, the name “Movement Grants” better encompasses the broad array of approaches we aim to fund and affirms the program’s mission to make the animal advocacy movement as a whole more effective.
Transitioning to the New Name
Over the next few weeks, we will update our language to reflect the name change, and during this transitional period, we will include references to the program’s former name. Within the next few months, we will exclusively refer to the program as Movement Grants.
The name change affects how we refer to the 2019 EAA Fund grantees, whom we will now refer to as Movement Grant recipients, and includes a job title change for the program officer, from Effective Animal Advocacy Fund Program Officer to Movement Grants Program Officer.
Updates to the Program
In addition to the name change, ACE has made two other revisions to the program as described below. These updates do not change the purpose of Movement Grants; rather, they intend to differentiate the program from ACE’s other giving options and smooth out the review process.
Going forward, Top and Standout Charities, including their subsidiaries, are no longer eligible to receive funding via our Movement Grants. We consider this a minor change because, in practice, we did not fund any Recommended Charities via Movement Grants. Additionally, Movement Grants can no longer be used to support ACE’s research, which was previously limited to a maximum of 5% of the fund.2 The purpose of these eligibility changes is to reduce overlap with ACE’s other giving options: the Recommended Charity Fund and donations to support ACE.
One Round Per Year
Movement Grants will switch from two rounds of funding per year to one round per year. We receive more promising applications than we are able to fund, so having two calls for applications per year is unnecessary. Having only one round also creates a more manageable workload for ACE’s staff. In both 2019 and 2020, overlapping timelines of Movement Grants and charity evaluations resulted in our staff resources being spread thin. Going forward, Movement Grants will take in applications once per year, allowing ACE staff members to fully focus on the Movement Grants during the decision-making process and charity evaluations during the second half of the year.
We continue to look for ways to improve the Movement Grants process and make the program feel more distinct from our other initiatives.
Our Vision for Movement Grants
At ACE our overall goal is to find and support the most effective approaches to animal advocacy. We have always been known for our charity evaluations. In late 2018, we launched the Movement Grants (then referred to as the Effective Animal Advocacy Fund) to complement this program.
A More Resilient and Impactful Movement
We had two primary reasons for launching Movement Grants: Firstly, we believe that a broad, pluralistic animal advocacy movement is likely to be more resilient—and hence more impactful—than a narrow, monistic animal advocacy movement. Secondly, there is limited available evidence supporting the effectiveness of any given intervention, and we think that the movement can increase its chances of success by continuing to fund a wide range of interventions. The Movement Grants program allows us to consider the effectiveness of the movement as a whole instead of being limited to supporting a small number of charities or approaches.
Complementing ACE’s Charity Evaluations
ACE’s charity evaluations and Movement Grants are intended to complement each other. A limitation of our charity recommendations is that they are not well suited for expanding the movement’s approaches to improving animal welfare. Through our charity evaluations, ACE can only evaluate and recommend a relatively small number of well-established charities. Often, newer charities have not had the opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness or their capacity to absorb the amount of funding necessary for us to be confident recommending them as a Top or Standout Charity. Movement Grants fills this gap by allowing us to fund smaller organizations and more novel approaches.
In some cases, we expect grantees to be able to use the grant to build up their track record, so that, in the future, we can evaluate and potentially recommend them. In other cases, we fund projects that we don’t expect to ever meet our criteria for a charity recommendation. Examples of such cases include one-time projects, e.g., a book or documentary, and projects developed by organizations that aim to remain a certain size, without further expansion. This does not mean that these approaches are less effective, only that they are not a good fit for our charity evaluations.
Building Our Knowledge
Building relationships with a larger group of advocates and charities through Movement Grants will make ACE’s own work more effective by providing us with new information to consider and new groups with whom to collaborate. Additionally, after having completed four rounds of funding, we now believe Movement Grants provides us with important insight about our main uncertainties and forces us to ask broader questions about what we want the movement as a whole to look like.
For more discussion on the aims of Movement Grants, see our Spring 2019 announcement.
Movement Grants will continue to support promising animal advocacy projects in line with those supported in spring 2019 and fall 2019. Stay tuned for the grant announcements of the summer and fall rounds of Movement Grants, which will be published soon, as well as updates from the fall 2019 round and details on how our grant application review process has evolved.