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Laura and John Arnold Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-12-19

At A Glance

Laura and John Arnold Foundation

2800 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 225

Houston, TX United States 77056-8809

Telephone: (713) 554-1349


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $1,766,641,213

Total giving: $85,348,365






Established in 2008 in TX - Founded by John D. and Laura Arnold. Laura Arnold is an attorney and a former oil company executive. John Arnold founded Centaurus Advisors, a hedge fund specializing in energy products. John and Laura Arnold have committed to The Giving Pledge, and have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's core objective is to produce substantial, widespread and lasting reforms that will maximize opportunities and minimize injustice in our society. To do this, the foundation identifies challenges and address their root causes through innovative, multi-disciplinary solutions. The foundation aims 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. .

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Criminal Justice

The foundation'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, the foundation works to develop, incubate, and spread innovative approaches to criminal justice challenges. It builds teams of experts from both inside and outside the criminal justice field to develop research projects, create tools for practitioners, and partner with local jurisdictions to pilot and test new policies and practices. The projects use data and technology as a means to drive innovation in the field and accelerate the adoption of proven reforms. Currently, the foundation focuses its efforts on two targeted areas: the front end of the system, which runs from arrest through sentencing, and forensic science. These areas were selected because the foundation believes that reforms in these areas can significantly impact issues of safety, cost, and fairness in the criminal justice system. These areas are also likely to benefit from a collaborative, data and technology-driven approach to transforming the criminal justice system. .


The foundation works to maximize opportunities for quality K-12 education in the United States. The foundation seeks to create, expand and/or replicate effective systems of high-performing schools, particularly in underserved communities. The core strategy focuses on three primary levers for reform: More high-quality schools and educators - the foundation works to develop, expand, and strengthen successful school models and education talent (both teaching and administrative). The foundation is dedicated to the advancement of organizations and systems that support effective school governance and operations, develop talent, improve instruction and learning, leverage data and technology, and drive a positive culture of excellence measured by high academic performance; Active public engagement - the demand for high-performing schools and excellent educators stems from informed, active constituencies. The foundation's efforts focus on engaging and educating parents, communities and other stakeholders so that they become powerful and effective advocates for better educational outcomes; Creating an environment of innovation - the foundation supports research and educational initiatives designed to assist policy makers and other stakeholders in better understanding how to apply new concepts and teaching models in their schools. By addressing K-12 education at the policy level, the foundation supports solutions that will have sustainable impact on a broad scale - across school districts, states and even nationwide. .

Public Accountability

The foundation is committed to supporting evidence-based decision-making by governments, promoting transparency and data-sharing, exploring innovative financing mechanisms for social problem-solving, and maximizing internal performance and efficiencies. The foundation provides technical support to governments and has been a leader in employee benefits reform. While state and local budgets across the U.S. are facing considerable financial distress, the cost of public employee benefits in most states and communities is unsustainable. The economic and social costs of this crisis are potentially crippling to the nation. The foundation seeks to remedy the untenable situation by promoting transparency and concrete solutions that address the problem in a manner that is comprehensive, lasting, and fair to all parties. In addition, the foundation's Public Accountability initiative provides funding for the developing social innovation financing sector and for service providers that are working to tackle the root cause of poverty. The foundation supports pilot testing of innovative solutions to high priority social problems, and it is currently exploring other opportunities to improve public accountability through the electoral system, truth-in-numbers reporting on government spending, and health outcomes.

Research Integrity

The research initiative aims to improve 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. While some published research is rigorous and reliable, other research is not. Worse, the unreliability of research is often difficult or impossible to ascertain. The foundation is currently working to address this problem by supporting organizations that are committed to improving the openness, transparency, and quality of research.

Fields of Interest

  • Civic participation
  • Courts
  • Diseases and conditions
  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Middle school education
  • Pensions
  • Public administration
  • Social sciences
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $1,766,641,213 (market value)

Gifts received: $107,352,749

Expenditures: $110,300,509

Total giving: $85,348,365

Qualifying distributions: $95,090,521

Giving activities include:

$5,544,557 for 3 foundation-administered programs