Enduring Commitments and New Knowledge
Even as we make hard choices about work in progress and focus on a few big bets in areas of profound concern, we will maintain and renew a small number of enduring commitments. These are: fostering individual creativity through the MacArthur Fellows Program; strengthening our hometown Chicago, where our civic leadership and commitment remains deep and unwavering, and which often can serve as a vital laboratory for practical and policy innovation; and advancing journalism as a foundation for critical thinking and informed action.
Finally, we will dedicate a small amount of human and financial resources each year to asking and exploring key “what if?” questions in one or two areas of critical importance. We could ask questions such as: What if there is not enough, or any at all, rewarding work for millions of people around the globe? What if the pace of technological change outstrips the ability to ensure that it provides a public benefit? The goal will not be to generate or implement a specific solution. Instead, we will support research and other knowledge-generating activity that, in turn, informs the search for solutions—for us and for others.
This is an exciting time for the Foundation, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with the MacArthur Board of Trustees and Foundation staff to help shape this institution’s future. I want to thank the Board for challenging us to embrace the future fearlessly; MacArthur staff members for their optimism and enthusiasm in the face of change; and every organization we proudly support for its leadership, creativity, effectiveness, and persistence. As we fulfill our commitments to the significant and critically important work in progress, we are eager to engage with partners of all kinds, to tackle the challenge of helping to build a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.
As we embark upon this new direction, I invite your comments, suggestions, and critique, with special appreciation for a candor that will challenge us to achieve greater clarity, humility, wisdom, and impact.