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Smarter Together

“I like crossing the imaginary boundaries people set up between different fields—it’s very refreshing,” the mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani told Quanta Magazine after winning the Fields Medal in 2014. With different mathematical tools that may or may not work, “It’s about being optimistic and trying to connect things.” As…

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Basic Research: Fueling Future Solutions

Today we announce the 2015 class of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars, seven extraordinary researchers who are working to expand our understanding of the fine-tuned phenomena that enable our bodies to grow, survive and thrive. While each of their projects represents a new beginning, their efforts build on the findings…

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The Engagement Shift

Our civic lives are changing. This change is being driven by new tools and approaches that fall under the umbrella of civic tech—as well as by people who recognize that new tools must serve the enduring aims of democracy. We are seeing a fruitful struggle to apply rapidly changing technology…

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More Voices, Richer Data for Greater Impact

Fund for Shared Insight marks a new chapter for philanthropy In 2012, Oakland, California, was drowning in public record requests. An already overworked system had been flooded by requests for video, email and internal documents related to the Occupy Oakland protests. But there was no clear way…

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Collaboration for Discovery and Change

This summer brings exciting announcements from two core areas of the Rita Allen Foundation’s work. The first is the announcement of the 2014 Class of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars—seven remarkable biomedical scientists in the early stages of careers that promise to transform how we understand and treat disease. The…

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The Philanthropic Lab in 2014

I began 2013 writing about how the Rita Allen Foundation draws inspiration from the young biomedical scholars we support. We aim to be, in a sense, a philanthropic lab—where creativity, risk, collaboration, assessment and learning are part of everything we do. Never has there been a more exciting…

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Confronting the Data Dilemma

A few years ago, the City of Boston decided to tackle an age-old municipal problem in a new way. Using the motion-sensing capabilities of smart phones, volunteers who download Boston’s Street Bump app automatically send to the city information about the condition of the streets they’re driving…

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