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May 07, 2015

MacArthur Foundation Pullback on Housing Worries Advocates

After spending $271 million over the past 15 years to study and create affordable housing, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is winding down such investments, reports the Chicago Tribune. Along with the loss of funds, advocates fear the move by one of Chicago's biggest grant makers will dim interest in the issue among other local philanthropists, sending a message that housing problems have been addressed.

More than a quarter of the foundation's spending on the issue has served its hometown, aiding researchers, loan programs, nonprofits, and affordable-housing developers. The organization is hoping other donors will take up such work as sharpens its focus on criminal justice, climate change, and nuclear safety. Julia Stasch, a MacArthur veteran who became the foundation's president in March, said housing remains "a very compelling issue" but added that "you have to make some tough decisions. No initiative in any foundation lasts forever."