John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a major private grant-making private foundation based in Chicago that has awarded more than US$4 billion since its inception in 1978. It is now one of the ten largest private philanthropies in the U.S. with an endowment of approximately $7 billion. The foundation awards approximately $300 million annually in grants and low-interest loans.

Its four major program areas are Global Security and Sustainability, Human and Community Development, General grant-making, and the MacArthur Fellows Program, also known as "genius grants." Topics of interest to the Foundation include international peace and security, conservation and sustainable development, population control, reproductive health, human rights, community development, affordable housing, and educational, juvenile justice, and mental health reform, public interest media, including public radio and independent documentary film. The Foundation also gives grants to arts and cultural institutions in the Chicago area. [http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.860781/k.55E/About_the_Foundation.htm About the Foundation - MacArthur Foundation ] ]

History

William T. Kirby, John MacArthur's attorney, along with Paul Doolen, MacArthur's CFO, suggested that the MacArthurs create a foundation to be endowed by their vast fortune. The legal document that created the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation was two pages long and written by Kirby in plain language.

The Foundation's founder, John D. MacArthur (1897-1978), owned Bankers Life and Casualty and other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine T. MacArthur (1909-1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation. When John D. MacArthur died on January 6, 1978, he was worth in excess of $1 billion and was reportedly one of the three richest men in the United States. MacArthur left ninety-two percent of his estate to begin the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The composition of the Foundation’s first Board of Directors, per John D. MacArthur’s will, also included Catherine T. MacArthur (his wife), J. Roderick MacArthur (a son from John D. MacArthur’s first marriage), two other officers of Bankers Life and Casualty, and Radio Commentator Paul Harvey.

Doolen was the first president of the foundation, serving from 1978 to 1980. Dr. John Corbally was the second president of the foundation, who served from 1980 until 1989. Adele Simmons was the third president of the foundation, serving from 1989 to 1999. As of 2007, the Foundation's President is Jonathan F. Fanton, formerly President of the New School for Social Research. There are also overseas offices in Mexico, India, Nigeria, and Russia. [ [http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.855249/k.23D1/At_a_Glance.htm At a Glance - MacArthur Foundation ] ] Fanton plans to step down come September 2009 in accordance with the foundation's term limits. He will have reached the end of his two five-year terms as president and a board trustee in September 2009. [cite web | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/chi-macarthur-0624jun24,0,1523732.story | title="MacArthur Foundation's Fanton to end his tenure as president" | author=Storch, Charles | date=2008-06-24 | accessdate=2008-06-24]

Over its history the Foundation has been in close collaboration with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation; one case in point being the joint establishment in 2000 of "The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa", to assist higher education institutions in 6 African countries. Another connection is that President Jonathan F. Fanton serves as an Advisory Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

MacArthur Fellowship

William T. Kirby, a founding member of the board of directors and Chairman of the Board until his death, suggested that the MacArthur Foundation create the Fellows Program. He credited his doctor, Dr. George Burch of Tulane University, for bringing this idea to his attention. [ [http://macarthur-foundation.blogspot.com/ macarthur-foundation.blogspot.com] ] The philanthropist's son J. Roderick MacArthur was the chief implementer of the details of the Fellows Program, and its strongest supporter.

The MacArthur Fellowship is an award issued by the MacArthur Foundation each year, to typically 20 to 40 citizens or residents of the USA, of any age and working in any field, who "show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work." According to the Foundation website, "the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential."

The Foundation does not accept applications or grant interviews. The foundation relies on anonymous nominators, who submit recommendations to a small selection committee of about a dozen people. The committee then reviews every applicant and passes along their recommendations to the President and the board of directors. The entire process is anonymous and confidential. The first time that a new MacArthur Fellow learns that he or she was even being considered is upon receiving a phone call telling him or her the good news.

See also

*Rockefeller Brothers Fund
*Rockefeller Foundation
*Carnegie Corporation
*List of wealthiest foundations

References

External links

* [http://www.macfound.org/ MacArthur Foundation Website]
* [http://www.macfound.org/programs/fel/fel_overview.htm MacArthur Fellows Program info page]
* [http://www.macfound.org/programs/fel/announce.htm MacArthur Fellows announcement]
* [http://www.rbf.org/grants/programs/pocconference_2005_F.html Pocantico Conference Center: Full list of 2005 Conferences] Mentions collaborative effort in 2000 in "The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa"; and group executive annual meetings of 16 foundation presidents at Pocantico, including MacArthur.


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  • Catherine T. MacArthur — (1909 1981) was the wife of U.S. businessman and philanthropist John D. MacArthur and was an active participant in his businesses and philanthropies. One of the ten largest philanthropic foundations in the United States, the John D. and Catherine …   Wikipedia

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  • MacArthur Fellows Program — Prix MacArthur Le prix MacArthur (ou MacArthur Fellowship) est une distinction de la fondation MacArthur (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation) qui fournit une bourse sur cinq ans pour permettre aux lauréats (20 à 40 citoyens ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

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