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Year in Review

5 Big Wins in 2021 for Higher Education, Democracy, Climate, Contraceptives, and Evidence-Based Policy

Arnold Ventures is well known for its work in criminal justice and health care. As important as these two issues are, they are not the only areas where AV minimizes injustice and maximizes opportunity.

College-age woman holding laptop looks at smartboard that displays graphs in classroom.
Students who enter college need to make it across the finish line to see the benefits of a degree, and the potential for federal support has never been greater. (Getty Images)

Arnold Ventures is well known for its work in criminal justice and health care. As important as these two issues are, they are not the only areas where AV minimizes injustice and maximizes opportunity. Here are a handful of big wins in 2021 for some of AV’s lesser known but equally compelling programs:

Higher Ed: College Completion Fund

The $9 billion College Completion Fund stayed in the Build Back Better Act through the House negotiations and is now in the hands of the Senate. Students who enter college need to make it across the finish line to see the benefits of a degree, and the potential for federal support has never been greater. Read more about it here.

Evidence-Based Policy: Student Success Studies

Five college completion and workforce training programs underwent rigorous trials and showed remarkable results  during the past few years, and most especially this year, with the “top tier” study on the one-on-one advising program Bottom Line. This evaluation was momentous not only for its results, but also for its timing and quality.

Contraceptive Choice and Access: Legislative Success

In Colorado, four disparate organizations worked together to make a collective legislative push in Colorado and succeeded in supporting the passage of five bills that expand both access and choice. It was an extraordinary coordinated effort, and it provides a playbook for other organizations wishing to do the same in their states.

Related: Hear Laura Arnold speak with leading voices at contraceptive choice and access organizations in her podcast, Deep Dive.

Democracy: Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked choice voting (RCV) made a mainstream debut in the New York City mayoral Democratic primary this year with more than 941,000 voters participating, the highest since 1989 in a New York City primary.

The voting process was well-received, with 83% of people voting for multiple candidates on their ballot, and 77% saying they would like to use RCV in the future. The voting system is gaining traction across the country.

Related: In the podcast Deep Dive, Laura Arnold sits down with former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who recently lost a bid for mayor in New York City’s RCV primary, and Stanford professor Larry Diamond, a leading scholar in democracy reform.

Climate: Infrastructure Funding

Climate got significant federal funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. By some estimates, $300 billion is dedicated toward environmental sustainability projects. Within the framework is funding for advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen. In addition, according to the White House the Build Back Better framework, currently with the Senate, will be “the largest effort to combat climate change in American history,” focusing on innovative technologies and getting the country on track to meet climate goals.

Grants

Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

Map of the U.S. made of Arnold Ventures icons