John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 140 S. Dearborn Street 12th floor IL 60603-5285 Chicago United States

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The organisation is a private, independent, grantmaking foundation created in 1978 by John D. MacArthur, who developed and owned an array of businesses, principally Bankers Life and Casualty Company, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York.
MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including advancing global climate solutions, decreasing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the U.S., and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The Foundation also continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.

Geographic Focus

USA, India, Mexico, and Nigeria

Programme Areas

Chicago Commitment, Climate Solutions, Criminal Justice, Journalism and Media, Nuclear Challenges, Technology in the Public Interest

The foundation is involved in the following programmes:
• Global security and sustainability (International)
• Human and community development (US)
• General programme
• MacArthur Fellows

Global Security and Sustainability
Seeks to promote peace within and among countries, healthy ecosystems worldwide, responsible reproductive choices, and the protection of human rights. The foundation encourages work that recognises the interactions among these global problems. The programme has offices in Mexico, India, Russia, and Nigeria. It focuses on the following priorities:

• Conservation and Sustainable Development: focuses exclusively on dealing with the problems of endangered tropical ecosystems. These are the regions with the greatest degree of species diversity, but are also plagued by acute human poverty and are often experiencing rapid population growth
• Human Rights and International Justice:addresses human rights through grants to selected U.S.-based organisations that work internationally and to projects that seek to further the development of an international justice system. In addition, the foundation supports human rights organisations in Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia
• International Peace and Security: helps to reduce the dangers posed by the development, stockpiling, and proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons, in particular nuclear weapons, dangerous pathogens, and new biotechnologies
• Population and Reproductive Health: seeks to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity; and advance young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights
• Universities in Russia and Nigeria: In Russia, the foundation seeks to support universities and other elements of scholarly infrastructure to enhance the skills and capacities of scholar-practitioners, and to support the development of modern university-based science and social science research and training capabilities. In Nigeria, the foundation is providing long-term support for four leading Nigerian universities, helping them to rebuild and upgrade their facilities, curricula, and faculty

Human and Community Development
Supports the development of healthy individuals and effective communities. Grantmaking strategies focus on:

• Community Change: supports organisations in Chicago in their efforts to make neighbourhoods healthy and sustainable places for family life and economic success. It also seeks to learn from these activities, and to communicate lessons learned through practical experience to multiple audiences, including policymakers, practitioners, and other funders
• Stable and Affordable Housing: preserves and improves affordable rental housing across the country through the $50 million initiative, Window of Opportunity: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing. The initiative’s immediate goal is to help large non-profit housing organisations purchase and maintain 100,000 units of existing, affordable rental housing that might otherwise deteriorate or become too expensive for low- and moderate-income households. Further objectives are to demonstrate that preservation of affordable rental housing can be cost-effective and to encourage future public and private investment in this area
• Juvenile Justice: supports research, model programmes, policy analysis, and public education related to juvenile justice. Works to promote an effective juvenile justice system that is linked to relevant agencies, is acknowledged to play a critical role in the community, and is held accountable for public safety and the rehabilitation of young offenders
• Mental Health: focuses on improving access to high-quality, effective mental health services by helping to move the most promising advances in research to policy and practice
• Education: supports systemwide reform that improves student learning through better instruction and by disseminating useful information about school and system practices to multiple audiences, including policymakers, practitioners, and other funders
• Policy Research: complements and strengthens other foundation work by helping to increase the likelihood that research and other evidence inform public policy, with a special emphasis on urban policy

General Programme
Supports public interest media, including public radio and the production of independent documentary film; and makes grants to arts and cultural institutions in the Chicago area. The foundation also makes the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

MacArthur Fellows
Awards five-year, unrestricted fellowships to individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work.

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