Failed promises and disrespect from the EA Infrastructure Fund

I applied for funding from the EA Infrastructure Fund. They promised to give me their decision in a month, but they only kind of approved my application in 3 months. A month later they explained that they didn’t actually approve my application, and I still have to wait for their final decision. It’s almost 5 months since I applied, and I’m still waiting. During this time, my manager failed to meet 4 of his own deadlines, didn’t answer me for many weeks, while expressing little accountability, empathy, and failing to properly communicate.

Believing these false promises, I paused new projects, sustained financial and reputational damage, and the situation affected my mental health. I told my manager about it, but he didn’t express empathy, and again failed to meet his own deadline.

During this time I sent 35 emails to 3 fund managers but was unable to solve the issues.

The story

I’m a psychotherapist, and I focus on helping EAs. At some point I realized that some of them could benefit from therapy, buy can’t afford it, so I decided to apply for funding from the EA Infrastructure Fund to offer my services pro-bono. It’s a small and straightforward grant.

The timeline of my application

October 20
I applied for funding, and outlined that the hard deadline for my application is November 24. In the automatic response they told me that they expect to give me the decision before this deadline. As psychotherapist can’t suddenly stop working with their clients, I paused taking new clients in advance in case I would get funding.

November 24
Contrary to the promise, I don’t get any response.

I send emails asking for an update

December 5
My manager Caleb Parikh apologises about the delay, and promises to give me an update within the following few days, but he broke his promise, and didn’t send an update in time.

December 18
Caleb sent another email, promising to tell me the decision within a week, and apologising for the delay. He breaks his promise again, and don’t send me anything that week.

I send him several emails asking for an update.

January 30
Caleb sends me an email stating that the Fund is interested in making a grant on slightly different terms than I initially applied for. He also noted that this needs to be reviewed by their legal team. He didn’t mention his failed promises, or what I should do next. I interpreted it as “Yes”, and was relieved. I stopped taking new clients completely, and made promises to other people based on this information.

I send Caleb several emails asking what I should do next, but he doesn’t answer any of them. I reached out to another manager asking to help me reach out to him, and Caleb answers me only when this manager asked him to do so.

At this point my financial situation became worse since I expected to rely on the fund money after they said that they are interested in funding me. I started feeling frustration, and I started thinking that I might not be able to fulfill things that I promised other people expecting money for the project.

February 23

Caleb wrote that he still has to consult with lawyers to understand whether they can fund my project or not. In this email he also promised to give me an update within 2 weeks. I was confused on why did he initially said that they are interested in funding me, while making me wait for the final decision for more than a month?

After that I told him about financial and mental issues caused by this situation. He answered, but didn’t acknowledge his shortcomings, or express empathy.

I also tried to reach out to other fund managers asking for help, but they didn’t help me.

March 8

Caleb breaks his promise once again, and don’t send me an update on my application. To solve this situation, I decide to publish this post.

At this point all these false promises, poor communication, and poor accountability made me feeling frustrated and anxious, and caused me other problems. Maybe I relied on this grant more than I should, but constant promises reinforced my decision to do so. I would also say that if someone promises me things, and consistently fails to fulfill these promises, they lie. Apart from that, I started feeling like an annoying spammer while asking for updates on my application. I believe that this behavior is unprofessional, unethical, and disrespectful.

I want to mention that at one point Caleb helped me. I made some dumb typos while sending an application, and asked him to not judge my application based on them. He promised me to fulfill my request, and he did that.

At the EA funds website, they write that they usually grant money within 21 days from sending an application, and that their managers care (no further specification). My experience is strikingly different from these statements.

I hope that this feedback will help EA funds to avoid such situations in the future, and will help me finally deal with this situation. If someone will question my statements, I’m open to publish all my correspondence mentioned in this post.