Special Projects

Current Special Projects

  • 100&Change Finalists: Four Impactful Solutions

       “The proposals are creative, ambitious, and driven by a passion to make the world a better place for millions of people. Together, they demonstrate that, even in challenging social and political times, solutions are possible and worthy of significant investment.” — MacArthur President Julia Stasch     More ›

  • 100&Change Semi-Finalists: Eight Bold Solutions

    “These eight ambitious proposals exemplify the passion, range, and creativity of the hundreds of applications. We hope that the competition inspires individuals and organizations to be bold and think big, because solutions are possible.” — MacArthur President Julia Stasch  More ›

  • 40 Years, 40 Stories

      "Effective philanthropy depends on optimism that the world can indeed be a better place. Our optimism is fueled by the courage, ambition, creativity, perseverance, and concern for the common good of the many individuals and organizations around the world that we are honored to support." — Julia Stasch, MacArthur President -->Read full introduction ›   When the MacArthur Foundation was created, John D. MacArthur famously said, "I made the money; you guys will have to figure out what to do with it." With that unusual freedom, for 40 years, dedicated, passionate board members and professionals in our Chicago and international offices have supported creative and effective organizations working to seize opportunities for transformative change. These organizations address some of the most daunting challenges faced by the city, the nation, and the world. During this time, we awarded more than $6.8 billion to nearly 10,000 organizations and individuals in 116 countries and all 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over time, our priorities and approaches have changed, but our commitment to core values remains:   Advance justice – focus on the essential condition for universal human dignity, equitable opportunity, and shared prosperity Be ambitious – recognize that seemingly intractable problems require bold action Pursue impact – aim for transformative change in areas of profound concern Use all tools – creatively employ multiple structures, approaches, and methods Take risk – embrace philanthropy's distinctive role to provide society's risk capital Act with urgency – understand that delay diminishes the potential for impact Listen carefully – ensure that strategies for change support the leadership and reflect the views of affected individuals and communities Take the long view – acknowledge that sustainable change requires a long-term commitment   Learn – inquire and adapt as conditions change Share – broadly distribute information that others find useful, and Embrace humility – remember that philanthropy supports, nurtures, enables, and amplifies the efforts of those who actually do the hard work of constructive change Effective philanthropy depends on optimism that the world can indeed be a better place. Our optimism is fueled by the courage, ambition, creativity, perseverance, and concern for the common good of the many individuals and organizations around the world that we are honored to support. The collection that appears throughout this year shares 40 stories that illustrate their achievements and our history.  --> Check back regularly for additional stories.  More ›

  • Chicago Stories

    We are proud to support and work with hundreds of creative and effective Chicago organizations that are helping to address some of the region’s most pressing social challenges and to ensure a vibrant cultural and community infrastructure. Here are stories of the important and impactful work of just some of our Chicago-area grantees.  More ›

  • Digital Badges

    Digital badges are an assessment and credentialing mechanism that is housed and managed online. Badges are designed to make visible and validate learning in both formal and informal settings, and hold the potential to help transform where and how learning is valued.   More ›

  • Digital Media & Learning Competition

    The 5th annual Digital Media and Learning Competition will provide $2 million for innovations in making a better web.  More ›

  • Digital Media & Learning Research

    Foundation-funded research is contributing to a growing body of evidence about how young people learn today especially with digital media  More ›

  • Discovery Grants

    Discovery Grants were awarded for exceptionally creative or innovative projects with high potential impact, but which do not fit into the Foundation's existing programs and strategies.  More ›

  • Housing Policy Research

    Compelling findings from a range of fields are revealing critical links between housing and other national policy issues.  More ›

  • How Housing Matters

    How Housing Matters to Families and Communities explores the notion that affordable housing may be an essential "platform" that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical and mental health, among other areas.   More ›