News and analysis
February 28, 2013

13 Groups Awarded MacArthur 'Creative Organizations’ Prizes

Courtesy of International Rivers

International Rivers is one of the groups that won this year’s John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grants for “creativity and effective institutions.”

A nonprofit that helps people digitally record and share their life stories, a charity that seeks to end what it calls the “slow-motion tragedy” of maternal mortality, and a group that encourages indigenous people in Ecuador to protect rain forests are among the winners of this year’s John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grants for “creativity and effective institutions.”

Like the foundation’s famous MacArthur Fellows Program for individuals, commonly called the “genius” awards, the grant program doesn’t seek or accept nominations. Winners, all current MacArthur grantees, receive up to $1.5-million they can use to build cash reserves, upgrade technology, and make other investments designed to strengthen their organizations.

This year’s winners are:

• American Documentary, in Brooklyn, N.Y., which produces and broadcasts films on social issues.

• Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University, in Chicago, which protects the rights of young people in the juvenile-justice system.

• Family Care International, in New York, which strives to make pregnancy safer.

• Fundación para la Sobreviviencia del Pueblo Cofán (Foundation for the Survival of the Cofán People), in Ecuador, which works with local people to preserve rainforests.

• Housing Partnership Network, in Boston, which promotes collaboration among leaders in housing and community development.

• International Rivers, in Berkeley, Calif., which fights destructive dams and offers alternatives to meet energy and water needs

• Sin Fronteras, a Mexico City group that protects the rights of migrants.

• Socio-Legal Information Center, in New Delhi, which provides free legal services to help poor people in India.

• Southwest Organizing Project, in Chicago, which works with poor communities to prevent foreclosure and violence.

• Stimson Center, a Washington think tank that pushes for pragmatic solutions to global security issues.

• StoryCorps, in Brooklyn, which captures, collects, and archives people’s accounts of their lives.

• Tobin Project, a Cambridge, Mass., group that connects scholars and policy makers to develop solutions to social problems

• Ushahidi, a Kenyan group that provides free, open-source information to map and prevent human-rights abuses.

Send an e-mail to Caroline Preston.