Our Work

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation examines enduring and urgent problems of violence, such as war, crime, and human aggression. Through basic and applied research, we aim to understand the causes, manifestation, and control of violence. We spread this knowledge to inform policy, practice, and public discourse and to advance scholarship. 

A mission to create and disseminate knowledge against violence

The Foundation awards research grants to support distinguished and emerging scholars studying urgent matters of violence in the United States and around the world. We likewise conduct and commission original research and publish relevant research and policy reports. We host conferences, research seminars, and public conversations on topics of violence, often in collaboration with peers in academia, philanthropy, and civil society.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for support.


In 1929, Harry Frank Guggenheim (1890-1971), a business leader, diplomat, and newspaper publisher, created the Foundation for general philanthropic purposes.

Some 30 years later, Mr. Guggenheim centered the Foundation’s work on problems of violence, believing that humanity had failed to match its progress in science, technology, medicine, and industry with similar improvements in human relations. In doing so, Mr. Guggenheim, who had served as a naval aviator in both World Wars, sought to apply science to universal problems, such as war and aggression. He recognized the depth of the challenge, saying,

“Undoubtedly the improvement of man’s relation to man will require much original thought and many years of research. I believe that is a job which deserves support.”

On Mr. Guggenheim’s death in 1971, a bequest to the Foundation initiated our current program of research grants to scholars. Over the last 50 years, the Foundation has shifted from exploring the evolutionary roots of human aggression to the study of civil and interpersonal violence. Across this broad area of inquiry, we are committed to funding scholarly research, both basic and applied, into the causes and amelioration of violence.


The Foundation prioritizes research addressing urgent, contemporary problems of violence — what produces it, how it operates, and what works to prevent or reduce it. Problems that particularly interest the Foundation concern violence and aggression in relation to a number of subjects, including:

  • War
  • Terrorism
  • Crime
  • Family and intimate-partner relationships
  • Climate instability and natural resource competition
  • Racial, ethnic, and religious conflict
  • Political extremism and nationalism

The Foundation’s work is advanced through research grants and fellowships, reports and policy briefs, and convenings. Signature programs include: 


The Foundation partners with mission-aligned organizations to support and conduct research into violence and broadly share such findings.

Arnold Ventures and the RAND Corporation

The Foundation is partnering with Arnold Ventures and the RAND Corporation to support the work of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, and the Salzburg Global Seminar

The Foundation has partnered with the MacArthur Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, and the Salzburg Global Seminar to organize the international convening Global Innovations on Youth Violence, Safety and Justice.

The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University

The Foundation partners with the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University to provide briefings on Capitol Hill for members of Congress and their staff on timely issues related to violence and crime. Briefings feature leading scholars discussing research of practical value to federal policymakers.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York

The Foundation partners on the annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America with the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The symposium brings together journalists, practitioners, advocates, and scholars to examine current criminal justice issues and to award The John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Prizes for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting.

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, is selected by the College with support from the Foundation. The three-year fellowship is awarded to a candidate of extraordinary ability and insight to engage in and continue academic research to increase understanding of the causes, manifestations, and control of violence in the present world.

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