Migration Grant Guidelines

Understand guideline and funding cycles

MacArthur publishes program guidelines to help applicants determine whether their idea for a grant fits within a particular grantmaking strategy.

As a general rule, applicants should base this decision on three related criteria that appear in program guidelines: the topical focus addressed by the grantmaking strategy; the geographic area covered by the grantmaking strategy; and, finally, the type of funding (i.e., general operating support, research, program support, etc.) that supports the grantmaking strategy.

Like most strategic grantmaking foundations, the MacArthur Foundation considers funding only those applications that closely match the topical, geographic, and funding criteria for a specific grantmaking strategy.


MacArthur seeks to improve conditions for vulnerable migrants, while laying the groundwork for fundamental improvements in migration policies and practices at the national, regional, and global levels over the longer term.

Since 2012, grantmaking has been carried out through three initiatives: on U.S. Immigration Policy, Global Migration, and the Regional Migration Corridor (of Central America, Mexico, and the United States).

Further questions can be addressed to Director John Slocum and Director of Policy Research Val Chang.

What MacArthur Funds

At end of 2016, MacArthur will cease its active grantmaking in the migration field. The Migration program area will continue in operation through the end of 2017, when the last Foundation-supported migration projects draw to a close.  

Over the next two years, MacArthur’s migration grantmaking will focus on the following efforts:

U.S. Immigration Policy

The Foundation will continue to support the legal and technical needs associated with the implementation of recent executive actions (and any future legislation) providing relief from deportation and work authorization for several million immigrants. At the same time, MacArthur continues to examine the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration to the United States.

Given the many thousands of unaccompanied child migrants arriving in the United States from Central America, the Foundation will continue to support efforts to protect their due process rights, ensure child-appropriate treatment, and educate the public and policymakers on conditions in the children's countries of origin.

Global Migration

Under the rubric of “crisis migration,” MacArthur is supporting policy analysis and international initiatives aimed at improving protections for vulnerable displaced persons who do not qualify under the existing international refugee regime, including those displaced by climate change.

Regional Migration Corridor

In early 2015 the Foundation provided a final round of support to civil society organizations working on migrant rights protections, and migration policy analysis and advocacy in the regional corridor of Central America, Mexico, and the United States, with a particular emphasis on strengthening Mexico-based organizations.

The Foundation will remain an active partner with our grantees even as we enter the final phase of our engagement in this arena.


Given the time-limited nature of MacArthur’s ongoing involvement in this work, the Foundation will no longer be able to accept unsolicited letters of inquiry for projects related to its initiatives on Global Migration and the Regional Migration Corridor. The Foundation will continue to accept letters of inquiry related to U.S. Immigration Policy.


Updated March 2015