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What is The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation? Part III

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In 2003, the MacArthur Foundation awarded NPR $14,000,000, which was the largest single gift in the public radio network's history. That same year, the MacArthur Foundation contributed $50,000,000 to launch Window of Opportunity, an initiative to preserve and improve affordable rental homes across the U.S. By 2007, funding had increased to $150,000,000.

In partnership with LISC Chicago, the MacArthur Foundation created the New Communities Program, an effort to improve sixteen impoverished Chicago neighborhoods. Also in 2003, the MacArthur Foundation awarded its first research grant "to assess the anti-shock garment, a lower body suit that helps stop postpartum hemorrhage," as stated in the foundation's official history.

In partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kingdom of Norway, and the Government of Canada, the MacArthur Foundation helped launch Security Council Report, an independent source of information on the U.N. Security Council, in 2004. The MacArthur Foundation also awarded $20,000,000 to the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties to create the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Fund for grant-making in the arts, education, community development, and the environment.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court cited a MacArthur Foundation report in a decision that banned the imposition of the death penalty on juveniles. That same year, the four-year-long restoration project of the historic Marquette Building, the MacArthur Foundation’s headquarters, was completed.

This project included restoration of the facade, re-creation of the cornice, and re-construction of the original windows. Holabird & Roche designed the Marquette Building in the 1890s.

That same year, 2005, the MacArthur Foundation committed $50,000,000 "to a new initiative to help understand how digital media is changing how young people think, learn, play, socialize, make judgments and participate in civic life, and implications for institutions like schools, museums, and libraries," as recounted in "30 Years."

In 2006, MacArthur Foundation President Johnathan Fanton delivered a speech before the City Club of Chicago about the ties that bound the MacArthur Foundation to the city, “Deep Roots, Deep Commitment: MacArthur Investments in Chicago.” He said, in part, "MacArthur may be the best example of a Foundation that blends seamlessly its global, national, and local programs. We have an unshakable commitment to the Chicago region, which receives about a third of our grants in the United States. That commitment is not a matter of law or sentimental hometown attachment. It reflects a rational judgment that we are a better foundation in all that we do around the world because we are rooted in a place – a place where we deal with real issues and real people on a continuous basis."

The world of philanthropy can be very abstract, very theoretical and hard to evaluate. We think our work in Chicago makes us more savvy about how to make things happen, more sensitive to people and the organizations we support, more humble about how hard it is to make a difference, and how long it can take...

In our domestic work, we are interested in the relationship of people, place, and systems. We are making some big bets: (1) on community and economic development; (2) on affordable rental housing; (3) on juvenile justice reform; and (4) on education, with a new focus on the effects of digital media on how young people learn -- in and outside of school.

Our Chicago program comes in four parts:

We provide unrestricted general support to arts and cultural organizations of all sizes – city-wide institutions and neighborhood groups, 178 in all. So we support the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera, and Ravinia, but also the Mexican Fine Arts Museum and the Redmoon Theatre.

Chicago is home to world class universities and museums with which we partner in programs around the globe. For example, our biodiversity program works closely with Field Museum scientists in seventeen countries on four continents. Places like Madagascar and Uganda, Cambodia and Vietnam, Peru, Cuba and Ecuador

Chicago is also a good place to test work we support nationwide: public education reform, community development, juvenile justice, and affordable housing preservation.

We are deeply committed to helping the city build strong urban neighborhoods of opportunity and hope. In partnership with LISC, MacArthur is working in sixteen neighborhoods, about half of Chicago’s high-poverty communities. In each place, we fund what the residents themselves have identified as their priorities: schools, housing, jobs, crime reduction, economic development. We believe that by working on all these issues at once over a ten-year period, these neighborhoods can become healthy on a sustainable basis.

In 2007, Robert E. Denham was elected Chairman of the Board. That same year, the MacArthur Foundation committed $25,000,000 to "new research on the ways housing matters to children, families, and communities," as recounted in "30 Years."

With support from the MacArthur Foundation, MIT Press launched the International Journal of Learning and Media to provide "a scholarly vehicle and online community for the emerging field of digital media and learning." A $10,000,000 MacArthur Foundation grant spurred the development of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to create Web pages for all 1,800,000 known species on earth.

In recognition of the MacArthur Foundation’s 30th anniversary, in 2008, the MacArthur Foundation presented the MacArthur Award for International Justice to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On July 1, 2009, Robert L. Gallucci became President of The John D. & Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation.

He had served as Dean of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, for thirteen years. Previously, he had been a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State, having been appointed Ambassador at Large in 1994.

Concurrently with part of his tenure as Dean of the Walsh School, he severed from 1998 to 2001 as a Special Envoy on issues related to Weapons of Mass Destruction. The first three presidents of the MacArthur Foundation each served for ten years, which tells us that he will likely step down in 2019.

Today, the MacArthur Foundation has $5,800,000,000 in assets and gives away $215,000,000 annually. It has given away approximately, $5,000,000,000.

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