Laura and John Arnold Foundation to Restructure as LLC

Laura and John Arnold Foundation to Restructure as LLC

The Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) has announced an organizational restructuring that will transform it into a limited-liability company known as Arnold Ventures

"Our mission has always been to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice," wrote Kelli Rhee, who will continue to serve the organization as president, in a letter on the Arnold Ventures website. "But we realized that in order to create change that lasts, we would need to remove barriers between data and decisive action, working swiftly across the policy-change spectrum."

As an LLC, Arnold Ventures — comprising the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; the Action Now Initiative, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization; and the Arnolds' donor-advised fund — will have more flexibility with respect to its policy advocacy activities than the foundation did. The Arnolds, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, join a small group of other prominent donors, including Laurene Powell Jobs (Emerson Collective), Pierre and Pam Omidyar (Omidyar Network), and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), who are using the LLC structure to maximize their philanthropic impact. 

Rhee told the Chronicle of Philanthropy that charities shouldn't worry that the couple is planning to scale back their giving or that grants made by Arnold Ventures will be harder to track, adding that the amount the Arnolds give through their private foundation — $208 million in 2018, with additional commitments totaling some $257 million — will remain unchanged or increase.

Since its launch in 2008, LJAF has invested more than $1 billion in the areas of pension reform, pretrial and criminal justice reform, prescription drug price reform, the quality of academic research, combating predatory higher education practices, the evaluation of social programs, school system governance reform, and electoral reform.

"We will continue to work in the same issue areas, operating with the highest standards of transparency and openness," Rhee said in her letter.

Kelli Rhee. "A Letter From Our President." Laura and John Arnold Foundation Letter 01/28/2019. Ben Gose. "John and Laura Arnold Join Other Billionaires in Move Away From Traditional Philanthropy." Chronicle of Philanthropy 01/28/2019.