We believe that our criminal justice system should fairly, effectively and efficiently protect the public while fostering individual responsibility and respect for each person’s dignity. A fair criminal justice system should respect victims, safeguard each individual’s constitutional rights and ensure that everyone is treated equally at all stages of the criminal justice process. An effective and efficient criminal justice system should increase public safety, reduce recidivism and optimize the use of public dollars. Our strategy is to initiate and support innovative, substantial and lasting reforms that propel the creation of such a system.
The Foundation works to maximize opportunities for quality K-12 education in the United States. We seek to create, expand and/or replicate effective systems of high-performing schools, particularly in underserved communities. Our core strategy focuses on three primary levers for reform:
The primary aim of the Public Accountability area is to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the public sector. Although government can and often does play a positive role in society, the diseconomies of scale associated with immense bureaucracies often impede its ability to deliver high quality, cost-effective services. We promote substantial, lasting change on a national, state, county and municipal scale that empowers citizens to hold their leaders accountable, engage more fully in their communities and provide effective oversight of the use of public funds. Our first initiative in this area is public employee benefits reform. State and local budgets across the nation are facing considerable financial distress. The cost of public employee benefits in most states and communities is unsustainable. Realistic estimates place the unfunded liabilities due to pension commitments at roughly $3 trillion, and that is just for state run plans. Many cities are facing an even more acute problem. The economic and social costs of this looming crisis are potentially crippling to our nation. We seek to remedy this untenable situation by promoting transparency and concrete solutions that address the problem in a manner that is comprehensive, lasting, and fair to all parties.
The Research Integrity initiative is aimed at improving the reliability and validity of scientific evidence across fields that inform governmental policy, philanthropic endeavors and individual decision-making. As a society, we often rely on published scientific research to guide our policy, health and lifestyle choices. In some fields, the research is rigorous and thorough. In other areas, it is weak, spurious and unreliable.
In many social science fields, researchers are incentivized to report only their successes, which in turn often become published in prestigious journals, and to be less transparent about studies that did not produce an anticipated outcome. In what has been deemed the "file-drawer effect," researchers often shelve findings that fail to yield a desired result. This publication bias has significant long-term implications: We are led to believe that certain research findings are conclusive, when in fact they may continue to be unproven hypotheses. Moreover, the lack of transparency and open data in many fields inhibits a third party’s ability to assess fully the validity of a given published study, thereby exacerbating the risk of misinformation.
One of our key initiatives in this regard relates to obesity research. Many research studies have claimed to establish causal links between certain foods and/or behaviors and obesity - and have received significant attention from the mainstream media. These studies suffer from flaws that, at best, compromise their alleged findings. For example, most studies involve outpatient subjects who almost invariably misreport what they actually eat, while the relative handful of well-controlled inpatient studies is too short, too small, or a combination of both to be of measureable value. The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), a recently formed independent nonprofit organization, will devote significant resources to conducting rigorous research on obesity through studies that address the shortcomings of previous research efforts. In collaboration with National Institutes of Health and other major biomedical institutes across the country, NuSI has gathered nationally respected scientists and clinicians – with divergent views regarding obesity and its causes – to conduct large-scale studies on how varying levels of food and nutrients in the diet can affect body fat, hormones, blood markers and numerous other metrics.