MacArthur Foundation: Grants for Global Security

OVERVIEW: The MacArthur Foundation’s global security grantmaking program remains in flux. The foundation is narrowing its overall focus, and some aspects of its grantmaking in this space have been winding down. However, nuclear security remains a key focus. 

IP TAKE: Grantseekers at either extreme of the political spectrum may not have much luck here; this is a mainstream funder. 

PROFILE: Since Julia Stasch became president in 2015, the MacArthur Foundation has streamlined its grantmaking foci on fewer issue areas. 

Although funding for the International Peace and Security program is slated to wind down over the course of the next few years, it will not apply to nuclear threats. Announced in 2016, the Nuclear Challenges program focuses on “decreasing the availability of, and reliance on, weapons-usable nuclear material.” The challenge, according to the foundation, is to ensure nuclear technology and materials will continue to be used for “peaceful purposes,” while simultaneously decreasing the nuclear threat to security. The foundation's excellent website is updated often, so grantseekers are well advised to read it again. 

The foundation tends to support top research institutions including, but not limited to, think tanks and universities rather than more grassroots efforts. Grants through MacArthur's International Security program typically range between $250,000 and $500,000, although occasional outliers exist. However, MacArthur awards organizations with which staff is familiar - so cultivating a relationship with the foundation remains key to a successful application.  

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