John Donald and Catherine Teresa MacArthur were quiet philanthropists in their lifetime, giving primarily to organizations in cities where they lived: Chicago and Palm Beach.
When John died of cancer on January 6, 1978, he was one of the three wealthiest men in America. The MacArthur Foundation assumed his assets, estimated at $1 billion.
In 2004, The MacArthur Foundation entrusted the Community Foundation through the establishment of a $20 million endowment, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund at the Community Foundation. The endowment was created to address needs in the areas of arts and culture, education, the environment, and community revitalization.
Since 2005, millions in grants have been awarded ($7.2 million). The MacArthur Foundation has also awarded an additional $5 million to the Community Foundation for our affordable housing initiative, bringing the total investment in the Community Foundation over the years to more than $27 million.