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Spotlight on:

Global catastrophic risks

Our world is increasingly perilous, and we are not prepared. The could be catastrophic, putting billions of lives, and even the survival of the human race, at risk.

Moving the needle in 2023

The Founders Pledge community granted $30.3m in total to charities tackling global risks, including $9.2m to the high-impact opportunities we recommend.

We produced groundbreaking research on the , sharing impact principles and guidance for philanthropists, who are essential to making meaningful progress against these threats.

We investigated catastrophic biological risks – these can emerge naturally (pandemics caused by viruses, bacteria and other biological agents), or be engineered (from accidental lab leaks to deliberate biological weapons and engineered pandemics) – and identified three new high-impact funding opportunities strengthening global biosecurity knowledge and practices.

We researched catastrophic nuclear risks and the rapidly shifting landscape – an uncertain new world with three nuclear superpowers and large investments in autonomous and AI-enabled weapons systems. We also shared a neglected approach to effective nuclear risk reduction strategies: interventions for after a nuclear strike occurs.

We looked into crisis-communication hotlines and highlighted what philanthropists can do if they’re interested in crisis management tools, including improving their resilience and funding Track II diplomatic dialogues.

We identified two new high-impact opportunities improving AI safety culture and discussions, including a time-sensitive one incubating multiple projects to influence and strengthen AI safety and practices within AI labs and big tech firms.

In its first year, the supported neglected interventions against a range of threats.


Contributed by Founders Pledge members and the public in 2023


Granted to high-impact recipients in 2023


Grants we identified, evaluated and advised, which were deployed by external philanthropists outside the Fund

Our helped launch Global Shield, a first-of-its-kind international advocacy organization addressing a critical gap in global policy. They work with governments to enact threat-agnostic policies to better understand, prevent, prepare for, and respond to global catastrophes.

We advised on a grant to help launch the International Biosecurity and Biosafety Initiative for Science, a unique organization (officially announced in February 2024) taking on neglected work: developing to strengthen global biosecurity governance and norms.

We advised on a time-sensitive grant which allowed the Pacific Forum to resume the only US-China diplomatic dialogues specifically focused on strategic nuclear issues and nuclear stability. They lost their US government funding in 2019 and had not been able to host in-person since then.

Our grant to the Center for New American Security funded a one-year project exploring a potential International Autonomous Incidents Agreement, a confidence-building measure that could help establish international guidelines as increasing numbers of autonomous weapons systems are built and deployed.

Interested in learning more? 
Check out the 2023 Fund Impact Report.

The , humanity’s emergency fund, continued building a strong foundation for the years to come.


Year launched


Contributed all time by Founders Pledge members and the public, including £242k in 2023


Invested all time, inclusive of investment gains

The resources available to safeguard the future are growing. We saw a 9% investment return in 2023; if this (optimistically) continues, the fund will grow 69.4x in the next 50 years.

We made our second to the Emerging Challenges Fund to help strengthen the knowledge and opportunities around reducing existential risks and protecting the future.

We report on the Fund in GBP, the currency in which it is held and invested.

Interested in learning more? 
Check out the 2023 Fund Impact Report.

Stories of impact

▲ Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

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Strengthening global pandemic response

A $15k grant from the Founders Pledge Covid-19 Fund in 2021 strengthened international prevention and response to pandemic threats

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Pandemics in the modern age have even higher stakes

Compared to the , the costs of Covid-19 can appear relatively mild. History is punctuated by episodes of mass death due to disease outbreaks, but the evolution of biotechnology and capacity to create bioweapons and engineered pandemics dramatically increases the risk and scale of possible destruction.

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Establishing biosecurity best practices

The Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Biological Policy and Programs (NTI | bio) strengthens international biosecurity and drives systemic change, coordinating across governments, industry, academia, international and non-profit organizations to improve biotechnology governance and national health security. They work to prevent the misuse of biotechnology, develop solutions to prevent and rapidly respond to biological events, and enable informed discussions and decision-making. NTI | bio has improved the financial sustainability of the Biological Weapons Convention, begun work to create a , and catalyzed the development of a biological risk initiative within the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Bolstering capacity to handle pandemics

This grant helped NTI | bio improve global pandemic preparedness. Working with the Panorama Global-Pandemic Action Network over 18 months, they developed plans for a new multilateral mechanism to improve capacity to manage epidemic and pandemic threats. As a result, in September 2022, the World Bank announced a new fund to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacities in low- and middle-income countries. In February 2023, $300m was distributed to fund the first round of projects.

▲ Photo by Tasha Marie on Unsplash.

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Honing our ability to predict threats

$868k in grants from Founders Pledge members funded cutting-edge forecasting research.

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A world of increasing uncertainty

Humans have fought war and disease for millennia, but many of the risks humanity faces in the coming centuries – such as engineered pandemics or superintelligent computer systems – are completely new.

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The power of predictions

Over the last 35 years, has pioneered the practice of forecasting – a way to make predictions about future events more accurate and useful. His research has the potential to improve our ability to predict and manage catastrophic risks, helping us make rigorous, comparable, and calibrated assessments of the likelihood of these risks and the effectiveness of efforts to reduce them. He and his team have run multiple tournaments over the years, successfully developing methods to improve accuracy.

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Revealing how we think about risk

This grant funded the 2022 Existential Risk Persuasion Tournament (XPT), in which Superforecasters and subject matter experts debated and produced high-quality forecasts on questions related to existential and catastrophic risks (such as climate change, AI, biosecurity, and nuclear risk). Tetlock's first major report on XPT, published in July 2023 and covered by Vox and The Economist, has already been used to inform a cost-benefit analysis of initiatives to accelerate scientific research, prompt development of new benchmarks for measuring AI capabilities, and inform thinking around risk reduction efforts. XPT uncovered large-scale disagreement, and the team is planning to explore the large divergences of opinion on risks and how perceptions of them evolve.

▲ Photo by Getty Images on Unsplash.

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A milestone meeting renews US-China diplomacy

$160k in grants from Founders Pledge members supported the resumption of in-person Track II diplomatic dialogues after four years

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The threat of another world war

Tensions between great powers – countries with global interests and the means (and military strength) to defend them – shape our world, and pose a grave threat to global security and the wellbeing of billions of people. Greater cooperation could be transformative, helping to solve problems and improve lives. Conflict would be catastrophic. An escalation of tensions between the US and China is a top concern for global security.

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Alleviating tensions through diplomacy

The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy promotes cooperation between the US and China by hosting Track 1.5 and Track II diplomatic dialogues. A Beijing-based think tank founded in 2010 and hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, they play a unique, valuable role as the only organization reporting on Chinese foreign policy in English from inside China. Conducting research and hosting dialogues, events, and cultural exchanges are all efforts to improve openness, understanding, and information flow between countries. These interventions are some of the most promising and neglected ways to reduce the risk of great power conflict. There is high upside, minimal downside, and evidence suggesting effectiveness.

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Re-invigorating diplomatic dialogues

This grant enabled them to conduct their Track II dialogues in Beijing in October 2023, their first in-person in nearly four years. Scholars from both sides convened for a constructive dialogue, which centered on finding solutions and providing recommendations for a productive summit between Presidents Biden and Xi at APEC the following month. The group felt the benefit of meeting face-to-face after years of online discussions, and are exploring opportunities to host more in-person events in the near future.