Georgetown Dean to Lead Philanthropic MacArthur Foundation
March 10, 2009, The Washington Post — Robert Gallucci will be the new president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago-based organization announced today, in tapping the veteran Washington envoy and educator to head one of the nation's most prestigious philanthropies.
Gallucci, 63, has been Georgetown University's dean of the School of Foreign Service for 13 years, after a career as a diplomat and negotiator working with North Korea, Russia, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. He will leave the university June 30 and begin his five-year term at the MacArthur Foundation the next day.
"It's an opportunity not to be missed," he said yesterday in a phone interview, ticking off the foundation's grantmaking interests. "Peace and security . . . human rights, international justice, conservation, sustainable development, education, migration, international health -- that's quite a menu."
The foundation -- perhaps best known for its annual Fellows Program (often called "genius grants," worth $500,000 each and given with no strings for original and groundbreaking work in the arts and sciences) -- makes about 500 awards a year in dozens of countries, in areas ranging from the arts and media to global security to juvenile justice reform. The foundation made a $50 million grant last year to preserve biodiversity in eight "hot spots" from the northern Andes mountains in Latin America to Madagascar off Africa's southeastern coast. It also gave $2 million to the East Asia Institute in South Korea as part of a regional security program.
But the agency is facing the same downturn as the global markets. Its investment assets totaled $6.9 billion at the end of 2007; that had shrunk to just more than $5 billion at the end of 2008. Still, the foundation's budget for grants increased last year to $260 million, up from $235 million the year prior.