The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.
With assets of $5.5 billion and grants and program-related investments totaling approximately $200 million annually, MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest private philanthropic foundations. The Foundation believes its grantmaking is most effective when focused upon a relatively few areas of work, combined with sufficient resources over a long enough period of time to make a measurable difference. The Foundation makes grants and loans through four programs.
The Program on Global Security and Sustainability focuses on international issues, including human rights and international justice, peace and security, conservation and sustainable development, higher education, migration, and population and reproductive health. MacArthur grantees work in 65 countries, and the Foundation has offices in India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia.
The Program on Human and Community Development addresses issues in the United States that include community and economic development; housing, with a focus on the preservation of affordable rental housing; juvenile justice reform; and education, with an emerging interest in how digital media impact learning.
The General Program supports public interest media, including public radio, television, and the production of independent documentary film. Grants are also made to arts and cultural institutions in the Chicago area and for special initiatives, currently including intellectual property rights in a digital environment.
The MacArthur Fellows Program awards five-year, unrestricted fellowships to individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work. It is limited to U.S. citizens and other residents of the United States.
John D. MacArthur (1897-1978) developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine (1909-1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation.
The Foundation benefits in its work from diversity at all levels of its operations. In working with other organizations and individuals, the Foundation values those who understand and share its commitment to diversity.