New Work

Exploring new work, guided by our values and mission
View looking up to the underside of a green tree canopy

Why We’re Looking to Support New Work

Beginning in 2015, MacArthur established a roadmap for grantmaking via three new modes: Big Bets, aimed at audacious solutions to era-defining challenges; Enduring Commitments, designed to support areas intrinsic to the Foundation’s identity; and Field Support, focused on entrenching social considerations in broad fields essential to our philanthropy. We determined that Big Bets would be time-limited in nature, while our Enduring Commitments and Field Support programs would be responsive to emerging conditions in the world, improve our understanding of effective interventions, and incorporate updated grantmaking tools.

As each of our Big Bet strategies approaches its scheduled end, we are developing new work and strategies to respond to similar or other persistent challenges, guided by our just, verdant, and peaceful mission.

Our Approach

Over the coming years, we will bring to a close our strategies in Nuclear Challenges (2023), On Nigeria (2024), Criminal Justice (2025), and Climate Solutions (2026). During this period, we will explore and bring onboard new areas of work, look for new ways of working, and encourage more cross-program collaboration as we strive for the impact we seek.

Our process of exploring new work is rooted in participatory practices, incorporating feedback, sourcing, and generating ideas from within and outside the Foundation. We will use grantmaking and administrative resources to explore and experiment. The Board of Directors will make the final decision about new areas of work.

We will not reinstate program strategies that have ended, but we will leverage our assets, networks, and lessons learned. While our strategies are time limited, new work may be related to our areas of work. We are winding down existing strategies, but we may not walk away from certain fields. 

The Board has expressed an interest in identifying work that is ambitious, bold, creative, and strategic. We want to ensure new work aligns with our values, mission, and advances equity.

Measurement and Evaluation for Learning

Evaluation of our work is a critical tool for informing our decision making, leading to better results and more effective stewardship of resources. We develop customized evaluation designs for each of our programs based on the context, problem, opportunity, and approach to the work. Evaluation is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process of collecting feedback and using that information to support our grantees and adjust our strategy.

Findings and analyses from evaluation activities are posted publicly as they become available.

Creating more resilient, inclusive communities to combat structural racism, inequality, and the COVID-19 pandemic.