Laura and John Arnold Foundation: Addressing the Root Causes of Persistent Problems

By Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Sarah Murray
2016 | Case No. SI129 | Length 10 pgs.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) was established in 2008 to improve the lives of individuals by strengthening our social, governmental, and economic systems.  Cofounders Laura and John Arnold sought to deploy the majority of their wealth, time, and resources to philanthropy to produce measurable improvements in people’s lives.

Through their personal giving, the Arnolds supported a number of local and national organizations addressing immediate needs. Their work through LJAF, however, is focused on attacking problems at their root and producing long-term systemic change.

The foundation’s areas of interest included fixing the criminal justice system, improving schools in the United States, promoting evidence-based policymaking, ensuring that governments operate in an effective and efficient manner, and increasing the reliability and validity of scientific research.  In addition, the foundation had an active venture development group that sought investment opportunities in a wide range of areas, including healthcare and information transparency.

Learning Objective

a) Highlight an important example of how to use philanthropy to effect systemic change b) Showcase the numerous strategies a philanthropist can deploy to create impact around a particular social issue area c) Explore the intersection of philanthropy and policy change

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