Suggestions For Deciding Which Charities To Fund?

Edited to add: I should make sure it’s clear that payments would be for the life of the trust, made every 6 months from the charitable trust, and would be in USD, not DAI (since the US Treasury pays interest in dollars)

It came to my attention in the AMA today about the proposed Maker Portfolio Core Unit that determining which charities would be funded by purchasing Treasuries could prove contentious.

I am personally agnostic on which causes would receive income from the charitable trusts, but a major goal of the MPCU is to build constituencies that appreciate and value Maker’s continued existence. That will provide us with advocates outside the cryptosphere as Maker demonstrates through concrete action that it is a force for positive change.

Given that, can people propose possible methods of regularly (perhaps monthly) selecting charities to receive years of interest income from Treasury purchases?

Note that I’d like to avoid mention of specific charities.

This is to brainstorm how we can distribute the (legally required in the charitable trust structure) stream of income to worthy causes without having everyone getting madder than a rained-on rooster every month. All suggestions welcome, just keep it to processes and not named causes.

Thank you to @Planet_X for pointing out this may be a speed bump to consider ahead of time, as it is a requirement of the structure.


I might be misunderstanding you but we should do what we can to avoid this being a recurring decision. Charitable donations are inherently political and every charity selection vote can deadlock the CU blocking it from its mandate. I think its preferable select between 1 and 4 charities ahead of time and rotate between them unless there is a signal to add or remove one from the list.


Please donate to the Joseph Ahmed Foundation, a pediatric cancer organization who is a not-for-profit, section 501(c)(3) and is run by volunteers. As you can see from their website, they have picked-up every penny and nickel and used it to fund an FDA trial for Pediatric Cancer.

They have also received a little DAI donation from the Maker Foundation via a small virtual meetup they hosted last year, so they’re familiar with DAI + Maker.

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Let’s stick to just figuring out how we’ll decide if the MPCU is approved. Cart before the horse and all that :thinking:

Also: Donations would be in USD from the charitable trust, as that’s what the Treasury pays interest in. Just in case that’s relevant.

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Ideally, I’d like to see a one-person-per-vote quadratic voting. So not 1 MKR per vote, but one person per vote. All MKR holders can register as voters. Gitcoin has done some work to make this possible.

To make things simple, we could even send the DAI to Gitcoin and let Gitcoin decide how to distribute it.


Universal income,

Someone suggested it long time ago,

Why it was a good idea, if you send 100 dai to someone, it will either

1/ use it and adopt it, pay someone else who will use it too.

2/ don’t use it and that increase the supply anyway.

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Another option is donating to GiveWell Top Charities. GiveWell Top Charities are high-impact, cost-effective charities - backed by evidence and analysis. The charities have a focus on global health and development. GiveWell is very popular in the Effective Altruism sphere.

(The GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund can be included as a beneficiary - Maximum Impact Fund | GiveWell)


Meh, GiveWell is mostly focusing on extreme poverty. I’d like to see at least some money go towards shutting down the war against drugs (e.g., or Part of the reason that extreme poverty is a thing is because of misallocation of capital towards stupid stuff like excessive law enforcement.


Unpopular opinion but can we use that to burn MKR instead?


It is a legal requirement that there be a charitable beneficiary. We can squeeze it so it’s getting as little as a few thousand at the final winding down of the trust, but I’d rather not have us look abusive.

The alternative is taxes.

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At the protocol level we currently have no legal requirement, for either charities or taxes, and the DAO is represented by users of various races, faiths, genders, economic status, sexual orientations, and political motives, in jurisdictions all over the world. The one thing that brings us together, our shared enterprise, is that we use the protocol to burn MKR token for the benefit of token holders. I’m not sure that these entangling alliances with certain regulatory jurisdictions, that consequently require us to make these inherently political decisions among participants of widespread beliefs, are in the best interest of the DAO or it’s participants. It seems like this will cause discord among users and bring the protocol closer to predatory regulatory regimes. n.b. this is my personal opinion only.


this is spot on.

If taxes are the only alternative to a charity, that might be the better choice. Any entity that can’t be directly related to or aligned to Maker’s interests are a distraction and point of weakness.


To anyone giving specific personal reasons for picking their own charity: this is a topic which is ultimately of no consequence to Maker itself and where consensus is more important than the specific choice we go with.

And different trusts will have the ability to fund different charities.


Joy Kill

Let’s donate it all to INFO WARS


Awesome, my first proper post gets to be a controversial one.
I’d say that paying taxes (to a specific government, which funds x, y, and z…) is as political as giving to charity, and that it’s not possible to do anything meaningful without upsetting someone, somewhere. MakerDAO is a diverse community and we should probably avoid charities with a specific religious, political etc aim. On the other hand, there are charities that could directly or indirectly benefit the Protocol. Girls Who Code ticks diversity and tech boxes, for example. (More cynically, what’s the branding upside of that “investment”?) Or charities like EFF, which promotes digital privacy, free speech, and innovation - all of which I’d expect just about any MKR holder would agree with by default, and without which, MakerDAO has problems.
These are specific examples (sorry @PaperImperium) but I use them to make a point. There are both pragmatic and reputational benefits to the right kind of charity, as well as all the other reasons people typically give.


:arrow_up: THIS.

another reason why I object on going offchain with anything related to the protocol (aside onbarding RWA as collateral).

let’s not dilute the core mission and distract us by stuff like this


I also agree that the more Maker bends over backwards to be in (US) legal compliance, the worse it is for all of its users and the ideals that it stands for.


All Alex Jones jokes aside, I don’t have an issue with the charitable donations, so long as we avoid the political battles that color nearly everything in the US today and increasingly other countries as well (certainly for the worse). I realize how hard that may be, so perhaps we just take a list of the largest 5-10 charities in the world and vote on where the funds should go? I don’t care personally who gets the money, as the charity question is secondary to ensure that this portfolio management set-up, which should loosen our present reliance on the PSM, is established and can operate in accord with applicable regulation(s).

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I’ve had to do this at a regional level with parties of mixed politics and backgrounds, so it may be true at the international level. Look at the top 20-30 charities or foundations that would qualify under your scheme (my guess Paper is you need one that is U.S.-based but can still have an international charitable purpose). From those pick only the following and divide it amongst them:

  1. Those that help destitute poor with food, health, and infrastructure, in countries in which its government leaders are not presently trying to blow up first-world people and assets.
  2. Those that help children younger than the age people can envision them breaking into their car or holding a rifle. Pediatric cancer, well-baby food and health care, education, etc.

Anything else can start an argument.


Some charities use their money far more effectively than others so I like the idea of referring to GiveWell or a similar organization to decide where the donations can have the greatest impact.

Fair point; I don’t see why donations shouldn’t go to different causes.

I hear you but I don’t know that this is something we can escape. The world, and our activities in it, are inherently political and choosing to avoid dealing with regulators won’t change the fact that regulators will have conversations and develop policies that can affect the way we operate, whether we like it or not. Having a voice in the conversation, however we choose to raise it, gives us an opportunity to express our vision and at least have a chance to shape the narrative.

In terms of the different options we have for raising our voice, I think this one is pretty strategic.

With regard to avoiding politically-charged charities, this approach makes sense to me.

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