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Event Details

Brown Bag: Increasing the Effectiveness of U.S. Social Spending Through Evidence-Based Approaches (Jon Baron & Kathy Stack)

  • Thu, September 10, 2015
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Marvin Center, GWU, 800 21st St., NW, Washington, DC, Room 405 (Nearest Metro is Foggy Bottom Station)


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Please join us for Increasing the Effectiveness of U.S. Social Spending Through Evidence-Based Approaches with Jon Baron and Kathy Stack of the the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The brown bag will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2015 from 12 - 1:30 pm in the George Washington University Marvin Center (Room 405).   

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) is a private philanthropic foundation whose mission is to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches. We will present an overview of LJAF’s work, and seek input on initiatives the foundation is exploring. Our remarks will focus in particular on the foundation’s recent launch of a new Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division, based in Washington DC. 

The new division seeks to expand and promote evidence-based policy and innovation, in order to increase the effectiveness of social spending in producing important, lasting improvements in people’s lives. The division operates through two closely-related initiatives: 

  • The division’s evidence-based policy work, led by Jon Baron, focuses on (i) efficiently building the body of social programs shown, in scientifically-rigorous evaluations, to produce meaningful improvements in important life outcomes; and (ii) creating policy incentives for the widespread adoption of such programs, so as to help solve important social problems. 
  • The division’s evidence-based innovation work, led by Kathy Stack, brings policymakers, researchers, and data experts from the public and private sectors together to strengthen the infrastructure and processes needed to support evidence-based decision making. Efforts include expanding access to data to answer important questions, while protecting privacy, and promoting the rigorous evaluation of public programs, new government and philanthropic funding models that emphasize the use of evidence, and strategic partnerships to accelerate progress. 


Jon Baron, Vice President of Evidence-Based Policy

Jon leads the Foundation’s strategic investments in rigorous research aimed at growing the body of evidence-based social programs and scaling those shown to produce meaningful improvements in people’s lives. He is the founder and former president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that worked with federal policy officials from 2001 to 2015 to advance important evidence-based reforms, many of which were enacted into law and policy. Jon was twice nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences (2004-2011), and was the Board’s chairman during the last year of his term. He has also served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Capitalizing on Science, Technology, and Innovation; and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology, and a recipient of the Society for Prevention Research’s Public Service Award. Jon’s earlier positions include executive director of the Presidential Commission on Offsets in International Trade, Program Manager for the Defense Department’s Small Business Innovation Research program, and Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. He holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University. 

Kathy Stack, Vice President of Evidence-Based Innovation

Kathy joined the Laura and John Arnold Foundation after a distinguished career in the federal government, including 27 years at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she served under five Presidents. Under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, Kathy helped federal agencies design innovative grant-making models that allocate funding based on evidence and evaluation. While at OMB, she oversaw budget, policy, legislation, regulations, and management issues for the Departments of Education and Labor, the Social Security Administration, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and major human services programs including Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child welfare, and food and nutritional assistance. She co-led a review of science and mathematics education programs across 14 federal agencies, which spurred the development and adoption of common evidence guidelines for evaluating a broad range of other programs. In addition, she devised strategies for sharing data—while preserving privacy protections—among federal agencies. She built a network of partners at the state and local level and in the academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities that collaborate to improve the impact of social programs by using evidence and innovation. Kathy is a graduate of Cornell University and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. 

Please RSVP so we know how many attendees to expect.

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