In 2015, the Foundation paid out $257.3 million in grants and program-related investments to organizations and individuals in the United States and around the world.
Actual cash paid out varies from year to year depending on payment schedules of larger grants. Since 1978, the Foundation has awarded more than 23,506 grants totalling over $6.0 billion to more than 8,565 creative people and effective institutions committed to addressing some of the most challenging social problems in the United States and around the world. MacArthur's charitable administrative expenses totaled $43.1 million in 2015, about 14.9 percent of total charitable expenses.
2015 Program Budgets
Program budgets are approved by the Foundation Board of Directors. Working pursuant to these budgets, the Foundation approves grants and makes expenditures during the year. We share these budgets so that you can better understand the Foundation's priorities.
Budget by Program*
Striving toward transformative change in areas of profound concern, Big Bets are an all-in, timely commitment of talent, resources, time, and reputation toward real change that matters for many people.
Areas of work in which we have long-standing, deep, and unwavering engagement.
Awards & Special Projects
*In addition to grants, $2.8 million were authorized for impact investments.
As of December 31, 2015, MacArthur's assets totaled $6.20 billion. The Foundation's investment portfolio had a return of 0.55 percent in 2015 net of investment management costs.
In its investment portfolio, the Foundation invests for the long term with the objective of earning a real rate of return, net of expenses, sufficient to fund its charitable giving and operations. The underlying principles of MacArthur's investment approach may be summarized as follows:
- The Foundation maintains a broadly diversified portfolio with allocation to a variety of asset classes, both public and private, largely through investments in multi-investor pooled funds managed by outside investment managers that invest in underlying companies or securities.
- The Foundation manages risk through rigorous analytical research and broad diversification.
- The Foundation undertakes a robust due diligence process prior to investing that includes the examination and evaluation of managers’ consideration of environmental, social, and governance factors.
- The Foundation seeks to achieve strong risk-adjusted, net investment returns over time, at a cost comparable to other institutions with similar asset allocations.
Total Assets and Rate of Return, 2006–2015*
Average rate of return, 2006–2015, 6.37%
*Rate of return on investment assets only.
Impact Investments Portfolio
Since 1986, MacArthur has regularly complemented grantmaking with impact investments that directly advance program priorities and strategic initiatives.
From a Board-authorized allocation to impact investments of $500 million, as of December 31, 2015, $225.3 million was committed to impact investments, including unfunded guarantees and staged investments not yet fully disbursed.
Outstanding commitments comprise long-term, private debt investments (78 percent), private equity investments (7 percent), and guarantees (15 percent). Investments are typically $2 million to $10 million in size.
Programmatically, close to half of the portfolio currently supports organizations and financing vehicles focused on the preservation of existing affordable rental housing. The other half includes $72 million devoted to national community development loan and venture funds and commitments specifically focused on the Foundation’s hometown of Chicago. Anticipated to leverage $100 million, a $12 million “liquidity facility” was implemented in 2015 as part of a new global effort to expand and accelerate the flow of catalytic, high-impact investments for nonprofits, social enterprises, and financial intermediaries.