John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world's most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as to the strength and vitality of its headquarters city, Chicago.


Incorporated in 1970 in IL - Founded by the late John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur. A midwestern businessman and real estate magnate, Mr. MacArthur was one of the country's wealthiest men. He built a vast fortune, primarily through ownership and development of Bankers Life and Casualty Co. of Chicago, the largest health and casualty underwriter in the nation, as well as other businesses including considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife, Catherine T. MacArthur, a board member of both Bankers Life and Casualty and the foundation, died in 1981.

Grantmaking Programs

Journalism and Media

The program works to strengthen American democracy by informing, engaging, and activating Americans through deep investments in independent journalism and media.

MacArthur Fellows

The MacArthur Fellows program awards unrestricted $625,000 fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.

Program-Related Investment

By providing flexible loans and other financial instruments, known as impact investments, the foundation helps nonprofit and social enterprises grown and leverage capital to meet the needs of underserved people and communities.


A competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.


The program supports the foundation's hometown city's civic, cultural, and community infrastructure.

Climate Solutions

The program works to prevent climate change by curbing emissions and supporting global leadership on climate solutions, particularly by the United States, China, and India.

Criminal Justice

The program works to address over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

Annual awards that recognize exceptional foundation grantees and help ensure their sustainability.

Nuclear Challenges

The program works to reduce nuclear threats by decreasing the availability and use of weapons-usable material.

On Nigeria

The program promotes an atmosphere of accountability, transparency, and good governance in Nigeria by reducing retail corruption and strengthening Nigerian-led anti-corruption efforts.