LJAF’s Criminal Justice initiative aims to reduce crime, increase public safety, and ensure the criminal justice system operates as fairly and cost-effectively as possible. In order to achieve these goals, we develop, incubate, and spread innovative solutions to criminal justice challenges. We assemble teams of experts from both inside and outside the criminal justice field to conduct research projects, create tools for practitioners, and partner with local jurisdictions to pilot and test new policies and practices. Our projects use data and technology to drive innovation and accelerate the adoption of proven reforms.
LJAF’s investments in K-12 education seek to advance the portfolio model of school governance. This alternative structure separates school oversight from campus operations. It is based on policies that promote a decentralized administration and more school choice for families as well as increased flexibility and accountability for leaders and educators. We believe that schools and school systems that prioritize these principles can address systemic inequities and improve educational outcomes.
LJAF works to develop and support initiatives that encourage governments and nonprofit organizations to help build the evidence base for social interventions and to consider reliable evidence as one of the primary factors in their decisions. The goal is to ensure that limited resources are spent wisely on programs that produce meaningful, lasting improvements in people’s lives. We fund rigorous evaluations to determine whether programs are effective and work to incentivize the widespread adoption of approaches that have been shown to make a difference.
LJAF’s Research Integrity initiative aims to improve the reliability and validity of scientific research across fields that inform governmental policy, philanthropic endeavors, and individual decision making. When research is accurate, thorough, and accessible, it can have tremendously beneficial consequences for individuals and society. However, when research is flawed or hidden from public view, there is the potential for great harm. People often believe that if research is published in an academic journal, it is scientifically sound. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A substantial portion of research does not adhere to rigorous standards for quality and transparency.
LJAF’s New Initiatives division pursues high-leverage philanthropic opportunities that fall outside of our existing programmatic areas. Our work is focused on identifying the obstacles and inefficiencies that contribute to complex problems and developing innovative, multi-disciplinary solutions. We are open to exploring any area where we believe our entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy can have a significant impact—from expediting the organ donation process to finding new ways to meet rising energy demand to expanding access to civil legal aid.
The United States spends more on health care than any other nation. However, it does not produce the best results. A number of interrelated problems contribute to the dysfunctional system. These include:
LJAF is funding a number of organizations to address these issues. We seeded the Center for Healthcare Transparency (CHT), which seeks to make reliable information about health care quality and costs readily available so that patients, physicians, and employers can make more informed decisions. CHT is working to establish a set of common protocols that can be used by regional data centers to integrate and disseminate various sources of information, including medical claims, clinical data, and patient surveys. By expanding access to information about the quality and cost of care provided by local doctors and medical centers—and by making it easier to compare that information—CHT aims to drive better decision making at every layer of the health care system.
We are also funding the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) and the Harvard Health Care Markets and Regulation Lab, two organizations that are analyzing health reforms across the United States. HCCI is studying the way states are implementing the Affordable Care Act in an effort to identify the reform initiatives that deliver the best results. At Harvard, researchers are conducting a number of high-quality research studies designed to help improve health care policy. The researchers are assessing the best ways to measure the quality of care, the effectiveness of alternative payment models, the impact that transparent pricing information has on patients’ decisions, and other methods aimed at transforming the system.
LJAF’s Sustainable Public Finance initiative works to promote fiscal sustainability and the effective oversight of public funds. We are funding efforts to help governments evaluate the impact of tax policies and design public pension systems that are affordable, sustainable, and secure.