Ordinary people taking action for extraordinary change.

10 biggest US foundations and what they do

What are the 10 biggest foundations in the United States? Here they are in ascending order, based on their assets, along with a little bit about what social problems each addresses.

9. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation - $5.7 billion

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    The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, headquartered in Chicago, has $5.7 billion in assets.
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Everyone wins when it comes to philanthropy. Yes, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is the organization that awards MacArthur Fellowships –– more commonly known as “genius grants” –– but even non-geniuses benefit from the work of the foundation, which “supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.” Established in 1970 by insurance giant John D. MacArthur and his wife, Catherine, the Chicago-based foundation uses its $5.7 billion in assets (as detailed by the Foundation Center) to award grants for international programs; US programs; media, culture, and special initiatives; and, of course, the MacArthur Fellows Program. Specific projects include human rights and international justice, community and economic development, and public interest media. The foundation’s home city of Chicago is especially supported in the areas of arts and culture, housing, and juvenile justice.

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