about us

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Organizational Mission:

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.


MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.


The foundation pursues this mission by supporting research, policy development, dissemination, education and training, and practice.

Human Rights Program Mission

The MacArthur Foundation believes that respect for human rights is fundamental to human security, individual well-being, and good governance; that promotion of both international and local human rights is necessary for realizing rights in diverse geographies and cultures; and that effective domestic, regional, and international justice systems are essential tools for human rights protections. Grants are made to safeguard rights and freedoms and improve access to justice, with special attention to systemic abuses against vulnerable groups.  The Foundation conducts in-country human rights programs from offices in Russia, Nigeria and Mexico.

Grantmaking Information
Activities Supported:
Learning, Training, and Events/Activities
Research and Publications
Documentation, Monitoring, and Reporting
New Media and Technology
Capacity Building and Technical Assistance
Geographic Focus:
Southeast Asia
Sub Saharan Africa
North America
Latin America
Western Europe
Middle East and North Africa
East Asia
South Asia
Areas of human rights funding:
Immigrant Rights
Peace and Security
Right to Democracy and Civic Participation
Transparency and Right to Information
Human Trafficking and Slavery
Legal justice and systems
Human Rights Defenders
Children and Youth
Freedom from Torture & Degrading Treatment
Freedom of Association and Expression
Indigenous Peoples
Prisoners and Detainees
Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons
How to apply:

The first step in learning if grant support from MacArthur is available is to thoroughly review the Grantmaking Guidelines.


Please note that the Foundation does not support political activities or attempts to influence action on specific legislation. They do not provide scholarships or tuition assistance for undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate studies; nor do they support annual fundraising drives, institutional benefits, honorary functions, or similar projects.


If support is available according to the Grantmaking Guidelines, the next step is to submit a cover sheet and a letter of inquiry about the work being proposed. Send it either by mail to the Office of Grants Management at the Foundation’s Chicago address or by email to 4answers [at] macfound [dot] org. For formatting details please refer to their website.


The Foundation makes grants and loans through four programs:

  • International Programs
  • U.S. Programs
  • Media, Culture and Special Initiatives
  • MacArthur Fellows Program

The Foundation focuses on the following countries:

  • India
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Russia
Organization Information
140 S. Dearborn Street
Contact Information
Contact Name:

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2010