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New Kids on the Block: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) is a relatively new foundation. Established in late 2008, the foundation supported only a handful of education-related organizations/causes during its first few years: KIPP, TFA, Yes Prep, the DC IMPACT program (through the DC Public Education Fund), a few school districts, and a small amount of research. Below is a summary of education-related grants for the years 2009 and 2010 (the years for which Forms 990s are currently available):

Although the foundation gave out a few grants in 2008, none went to education.

The foundation is one of the few confirmed funders of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.1 This is hardly a surprise given the foundation’s earlier support of the DC IMPACT program. Other funders of the DC IMPACT program include the Robertson Foundation, Broad Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation. The latter two are confirmed funders of StudentsFirst.2

John Arnold serves as a board member of TNTP. Laura Arnold serves on the board of Teach for America. Although currently available Form 990s do not list contributions to TNTP, the foundation has contributed to the organization for work in the Houston Independent School District and possibly other programs as well.3

According to the foundation’s website, the foundation “currently focuses on four major levers for change”: efficient markets, human capital, learning systems, and performance management.

The foundation ended 2010 with approximately 2/3 of a billion dollars in assets.

  1. See here
  2. See the Walton Family Foundation’s list of 2011 grantees (here) and the Broad Foundation’s 2011 Form 990 (availablehere). 
  3. For instance, the LJAF is listed as a TNTP contributor in TNTP’s recent report, “The Irreplacables.” 

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Ken Libby

Ken Libby is a graduate student studying counseling at Lewis and Clark. He has an MA in educational foundations, policy and practice from the University of Colora...