There were some tantalizing nuggets in the press release from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Julia M. Stasch as its new president.
Stasch, long-time practitioner and champion of the use of innovative financial tools for economic inclusion, effectively pre-announced “a soon-to-be-launched innovative effort to deliver useful capital for the social sector through the creation of market-making investment products and tools.” The impact market-building effort was one of five initiatives Stasch said was already underway.
The Foundation Center ranks MacArthur as the 10th-largest U.S. foundation, by assets, with an endowment of approximately $6.3 billion at the end of 2013.
Stasch has served as MacArthur’s interim president for the past eight months and as VP for MacArthur’s U.S. Programs for 13 years. “During a far reaching presidential search over the past eight months, we watched Julia rapidly changing the work and the point of view of the foundation,” MacArthur’s board chairman, Marjorie Scardino, said in the statement
Stasch also announced a major new prize, saying MacArthur “will seek public input into the design of a new competition that will offer $100 million for meaningful progress in solving a single important social problem.” Stasch also cited the foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, a $75 million effort to reduce over–incarceration in America and the overuse and misuse of jails.
Stasch, known as an advocate for women and minorities in business, has traversed the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. She was chief of staff for former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a city housing commissioner and the president of Shorebank Chicago Companies.
“I am honored to be asked to help bring MacArthur’s significant assets to bear on the complex and challenging problems of our times,” said Stasch.