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June 02, 2016

Opinion: MacArthur Head Rebuts Criticism of Minority Support

The president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation defended the Chicago-based philanthropy’s work with black- and Latino-led organizations in its hometown in a column for Crain’s Chicago Business. Julia Stasch wrote in response to a previous Crain’s piece by an African-American nonprofit leader who said the foundation directed less than 1 percent of its 2015 grant making to local black-led groups and was ignoring escalating violence in the city.

Ms. Stasch says the foundation has made $1.1 billion in grants and “direct impact investments” in Chicago since 1979 and loaned hundreds of millions of dollars for community projects, small businesses, and “mortgages for mostly African-American and Latino families.” She runs down specific programs and partnerships aimed at strengthening minority communities, expanding economic opportunity, and overhauling the criminal-justice system.

“While we recognize that we must guard against the unconscious or implicit biases that affect many of society's institutions, and we welcome constructive dialogue, our critic inaccurately and grossly understated our efforts to address the urgent problems that confront our city,” she writes.