Laura and John Arnold Foundation Launches Giving Library

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has announced the launch of the Giving Library, an online resource aimed at helping philanthropists learn about various nonprofit organizations and make informed, strategic giving decisions.

The library includes a collection of videos featuring two hundred and fifty nonprofits working in the areas of criminal justice, education, the environment, government, health, and humanitarian aid, among others. A short-format overview introduces each organization's work, while a series of interviews with its founder or executive director provides insights into its objectives, effectiveness, measures of success, accomplishments, and future plans. Philanthropists also can register to communicate directly with participating nonprofits — anonymously or by voluntarily identifying themselves — through the site's Connection Center.

Billionaire and former energy trader John Arnold and his wife, Laura, decided to create the Giving Library after finding no easy way to research nonprofits they were interested in supporting. "We started to do our own research, trying to go to Web sites to read about nonprofits," John Arnold told Forbes. "We realized we got much more insight by speaking to the founder. If you have significant resources, it's worth their time to sit down and meet a particular funder, but that's not always practical for the majority of funder[s] or nonprofits."

The Arnolds have invited hundreds of nonprofits to participate in the Giving Library, worked with them to polish their scripts, and arranged video shoots in one of three cities. The couple plans to expand the project to include more organizations, and nonprofits can apply through the Giving Library site to be considered. Currently there are a hundred organizations on the waiting list, Forbes reports.

"Individuals that use the Giving Library will be able to easily locate, study, and engage with organizations that fit their giving criteria," said LJAF director of communications Meredith Johnson. "What would have taken months or even years of meetings and travel can now be done in a matter of days, from anywhere. It's the new way to give."

Luisa Kroll. "Billionaire John Arnold and His Wife Launch Giving Library." Forbes 08/14/2012. "Giving Library Launch Aims to Improve Philanthropy." Laura and John Arnold Foundation Press Release 08/14/2012.