Many problems have clear solutions that would make us all better off.
We could save millions of lives, live longer, and save money in the process; without the need for breakthroughs in either science or technology.
Proven models exist for health, education, prosperity -- even culture.
So, what's the hold up?
What many successful models have in common is they tend to be systemic and long-term. Unfortunately, thinking this way is neither simple nor obvious.
For example, the outbreak of an infectious disease is more likely to grab our attention than its absence. Rallying support in the face of a medical emergency seems more urgent than consistently investing in basic healthcare over time - which prevents outbreaks of disease in the first place.
A comprehensive suite of treatments, medicines, professionals, and research make up a stable healthcare system. Building systemic solutions, like healthcare, played a key role in rising life expectancies and other remarkable advances over the past century.
The remarkable benefits of stable healthcare systems don't make the headlines. As a result, we tend not to appreciate them as much as we should, overlooking historically declining infant mortality rates, climbing life expectancy, the complete elimination of many terrible diseases, and more. In another age, these accomplishments would be considered miraculous. Today, these advances are taken for granted as we look for short-term fixes or "radical innovations" to problems we already have answers to.
Modern healthcare networks have saved 100s of millions of lives and are among the greatest accomplishments in world history. This fact is not mysterious or radical, even if it is underappreciated.
The Wagner Foundation supports organizations like Partners In Health (PIH) which is working to expand healthcare access domestically and internationally. From the building of the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais in Haiti, to fortifying a network of clinics in West Africa following the Ebola outbreak, PIH is one of the most effective organizations working today. Nonetheless, their work is lesser known to the public due to their emphasis on building lasting healthcare systems rather than providing emergency medical care.
PIH's remarkable long-term success where others have failed demonstrates the effectiveness of their model. In fact, their methodology was an inspiration to the Wagner Foundation.
While healthcare provides one clear example, there are many other areas where a long-term outlook would make a big difference. From economic mobility to institutional fairness and culture, the Wagner Foundation believes in holistic, systemic approaches to create lasting change domestically and abroad.
We describe our methodology in terms of building "Just and Robust" community; where all people have equitable access to opportunity and the ability to live a life of purpose and dignity.