Good questions! I don’t see Nate using the word “need,” but I can confirm that your summary’s otherwise right: MIRI has the money to start growing, but we could scale up more quickly with more funds.
MIRI received two FLI grants: $250,000 for our main research program (spread over three years), and $49,320 for the AI Impacts project. (We’re also collaborating on two other grants, with Owain Evans and Ramana Kumar.)
Nate probably left a lot of important stuff out because this is the fourth post in a series, linked from the main fundraiser post. The first three were:
Grants and Fundraisers
An Astounding Year
Targets 1 and 2: Growing MIRI
Post 1 announces the FLI grants, the completion of the Singularity Summit sale, and recent large donations. These are collectively enough for MIRI expand to a 5-person research team while maintaining one year’s runway. 2 is a more general retrospective on the past year (though it also mentions the FLI grant). 3 details how MIRI could expand to a 10-person team (while maintaining a year’s runway) with more funding, and talks about new projects it would be able to take on at that level.