John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund


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. 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties have been partners in philanthropy since 1985, when they issued a $250,000 challenge grant to the Community Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. Our shared commitment to Palm Beach and Martin counties has led to an ideal partnership.

In 2004 the MacArthur Foundation decided their Florida grantmaking should be managed locally, by the people who know best where the needs are. They entrusted the Community Foundation to carry out this important work 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 development. The income generated from this endowment provides grants to nonprofit organizations in Palm Beach and Martin counties.

Since 2005, 144 grants have been awarded for a total of $8.4 million. 

The MacArthur Foundation has also awarded an additional $5 million to the Community Foundation for our affordable housing initiative, addressing one of the most critical issues in our community. This grant brings the total investment in the Community Foundation over the years to more than $27 million.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has been creating a legacy for over thirty years in Florida with over $200 million in donations to Palm Beach and Martin counties. We are, in part, proudly responsible for continuing that legacy here in their hometown.