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Arnold Ventures Launches Research Agenda and RFP to Support Research on Violence Reduction

This work will build on earlier investments with a commitment to scaling up the research necessary to match the urgency of our time.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past two tumultuous years, cities around the country — regardless of their size, geographic location, or political leanings — have confronted a significant increase in gun violence. The distribution of these violent incidents remains predominantly concentrated in communities that have been subject to chronic underinvestment. A significant proportion of gun violence involves a small number of individuals (whether as perpetrators or victims) but devastates entire communities. Identifying interventions that can reduce violence — which strategies and programs are most effective, as well as in what contexts they work best — remains a pressing challenge. 

Today, Arnold Ventures is pleased to announce two new developments in our ongoing work on reducing violence that seek to address this challenge head on: the launch of our research agenda and a request for proposals (RFP) to support research that is critical in the effort to sustainably reduce violence. Building on earlier investments, we are committed to scaling up the research necessary to match the urgency of our time. We are motivated by the overarching goal of providing communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders with better information to navigate the difficult decisions they face in their efforts to ensure community safety. 

Our research agenda features three pillars: 

  • Address immediate crises of violence. Decisionmakers facing emergent violence need to act quickly and accurately pinpoint the particular problems of violence in their community and identify effective solutions to stop the shooting.
  • Identify and address the underlying causes of violence. Longer-term approaches to tackle the underlying causes of community violence are needed to sustain reductions in violence and build a more durable peace. 
  • Promote effective police investigations to solve violent crime. Where violence does occur, we aim to develop research that supports effective, timely investigations that deliver justice for victims of crime and their families. 

The RFP issued today catalyzes our efforts under the first pillar of our research agenda, with a focus on advancing research that improves the design, implementation, and efficacy of violence reduction interventions. Through support for high-quality program evaluations, Arnold Ventures aims to develop the evidence base on how promising new community-led programs work and learn how to expand these efforts where they are having the hoped-for effects. We also recognize that police-led interventions remain prevalent, though historically there has been limited rigorous assessment of law enforcement approaches to violence reduction. In the context of both greater scrutiny of policing practices in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and support for more police resources in response to rising violent crime, the need for better evidence to inform what the role of police should be is also important. 

Through this RFP, we seek both to learn how violence reduction interventions are developed and implemented, and to understand the impacts of these programs on violence and community safety and wellbeing. We encourage proposals that endeavor to identify transformational solutions for improving the lives of the people and communities most impacted by violence, and welcome projects conducted by diverse research teams, including those who have life experiences related to the issues being studied. 

We are heartened by the momentum for innovation and commitment of so many people around the country to address the devastating problem of violence. Through investments in research on these efforts, both through this RFP and under our other two research pillars, we expect to learn from the impressive work already underway, translating this tremendous learning opportunity into a set of findings that can continue to inform, support, and advance the field – and save lives.

For more details, please see the full RFP and the research agenda. We invite applicants to submit letters of interest in response to the RFP by July 11, 2022. We will also host an optional, informational conference call on June 16, 2022 (please RSVP here to receive dial-in information). Finally, for questions about the broader research agenda or to share ideas related to the other two research pillars, please contact us at info@​arnoldventures.​org with subject line RVC Research Agenda.”

We look forward to making important progress together.


Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President, Criminal Justice

Jocelyn Fontaine, Vice President, Criminal Justice Research

Walter Katz, Vice President, Criminal Justice

Anita Ravishankar, Director, Criminal Justice Research

Asheley Van Ness, Director, Criminal Justice