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 (1897–1978) 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.
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 .