A young Houston couple is planning to give away $4 billion — but only to projects that prove they are worth it. Can they redefine the world of philanthropy?
When it comes to giving, a Houston couple is exploring new territory in their goal of using philanthropy to change the world - one project at a time.
Billionaire John Arnold
and his wife, Laura
, are bankrolling some lofty projects through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
At 37, Arnold has accumulated a fortune estimated at $4 billion over the past decade, starting off as a natural gas trader at Enron and later launching his own hedge fund. In October 2012, he closed his hedge fund, Centauraus Energy, and retired.
Now, he and wife, Laura, are focusing their energies on giving the money away to organizations and projects that will help transform the world. Last year alone, the couple gave away or pledged $423 million for various projects that include a $26 million obesity study.
The Wall Street Journal
puts it like this:
The Arnolds want to see if they can use their money to solve some of the country’s biggest problems through data analysis and science, with an unsentimental focus on results and an aversion to feel-good projects — the success of which can't be quantified.Robert Stanton, Houston Chronicle Reporter
No topic is too ambitious: Along with obesity, the Arnolds plan to dig into criminal justice and pension reform, among other projects. Anne Milgram, the former New Jersey attorney general hired to tackle the criminal-justice issue, has a name for all this: She calls it the “Moneyball” approach to giving, a reference to the book and movie about how the Oakland A’s used smart statistical analysis to upend some of baseball's conventional wisdom. And the Arnolds are in no hurry for answers. Indeed, they believe patience is a key resource behind their giving.
Okay, Black Wall Street … let’s show ’em what we got!