Our core objective is to produce substantial, widespread and lasting reforms that will maximize opportunities and minimize injustice in our society. To do this, we identify challenges and address their root causes through innovative, multi-disciplinary solutions. We aim to foster a culture in which individuals have the best chance to succeed and prosper, while encouraging a sense of responsibility, compassion and reinvestment toward their communities and society as a whole.
Our strategy is to systematically examine areas of society in which underperformance, inefficiency, concentrated power, lack of information, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, lack of balance among interests or other barriers to human progress and achievement exist. We then apply a rigorous and comprehensive entrepreneurial problem-solving approach to these areas, considering all possible strategies, tactics, and resource allocations to effect solutions. Our approach is not limited to what has been tried, or even what has been proposed, in the past. Instead we seek to incentivize and motivate bold new creative thinking and effort, with the goal of igniting a renaissance of new ideas and approaches applied to persistent problems.
The LJAF Philosophy of Philanthropy
- Philanthropy should seek transformational change, not incremental change.
- Philanthropy should be entrepreneurial, not institutional or bureaucratic.
- Philanthropy should think big, take risks and be aggressive and highly goal-oriented.
- Philanthropists should seek to create significant change within their own lifetimes and exhaust most or all their financial corpus in pursuit of their goals.
- Philanthropists should collaborate with each other to ensure a thorough and systemic approach to problem-solving, not herd toward the same popular or favored beneficiaries.
- Philanthropy should be strategic, not tactical, piecemeal or episodic.
- Philanthropy should seek to solve problems and better lives and institutions, not just study or illuminate problems.
- Philanthropy should use proactive and innovative approaches that have a measurable impact on specific communities and individuals with the greatest needs.
- Philanthropists should seek to educate other successful but currently non-philanthropic people and organizations as to effective methods of philanthropy.
- Philanthropists should take an active role in their own projects, and not be primarily staff or consultant driven.
To learn more about Laura and John Arnold’s approach to philanthropy, please view their interview on GiveSmart.org: Laura and John Arnold Get a Head Start on Philanthropy