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MacArthur Foundation

MacARTHUR FOUNDATION

MacARTHUR FOUNDATION, formally known as The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is a private general-purpose foundation created in 1978 and headquartered in Chicago. At the time of his death, John D. MacArthur (18971978) was one of the three wealthiest men in America and the owner of the nation's largest privately held insurance company, Bankers Life and Casualty Company. Catherine T. MacArthur (1909 1981) worked closely with her husband and was a director of the Foundation until her death.

One of the nation's ten largest foundations, the MacArthur Foundation's assets are around $4 billion and it distributes approximately $180 million in grants annually. It is organized into four divisions: Human and Community Development, focused on public education, juvenile justice, mental health policy and neighborhood development, with special emphasis upon Chicago and Florida; Global Security and Sustainability, with grants for conservation, international peace, population and reproductive health, with special initiatives in Russia, south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; the General Program, which provides institutional grants to such organizations as National Public Radio; and the controversial MacArthur Fellows Program, which awards between twenty and forty five-year fellowships, or "genius grants," of around $500,000 to "talented persons" who "show exceptional merit and promise of continued and enhanced creative work." The Foundation has field offices in Florida, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, India, and Russia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

MacArthur Foundation Web site. Home page at www.macfound.org.

The Work Ahead: New Guidelines for Grantmaking. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: Chicago, 1998.

Fred W. Beuttler

See also Foundations, Endowed ; Philanthropy .

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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, philanthropic institution founded 1978 by John D. MacArthur (1897–1978), owner of a prominent insurance company and other businesses, and his wife Catherine T. MacArthur (1909–81) in order to assist groups and individuals who might make lasting improvements in the human condition. Headquartered in Chicago, it has assets of roughly $5.5 billion. The foundation's Program on Global Security and Sustainability deals largely with international issues; the Program on Human and Community Development focuses mainly on the United States; and the General Program concentrates on public-interest media. The institution is best known for its Fellows Program, which makes the so-called "genius grants" —large five-year awards, given each year to 25 Americans in the arts, social sciences, education, and other fields to promote the development of their creative, intellectual, or professional ideas and projects. In 2006 the foundation initiated a grant program to build and strengthen relatively small nonprofit organizations worldwide that are deemed both creative and effective.

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MacArthur Foundation

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