August 23, 2006

MacArthur “genius” grants go to 9 nonprofit groups

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The MacArthur Foundation, which
surprises dozens of individuals each year with its "genius"
grants, announced on Thursday awards of up to $500,000 to
nonprofit groups it said are doing inspirational work.

Among the recipients of its first-time "creativity" awards
were a Chicago organization that promotes affordable housing, a
Nigerian group that holds police accountable and an advocacy
group in Mexico for human rights and health care.

Criteria for the no-strings-attached grants are that the
groups be small nonprofits, with annual budgets of no more than
$2.5 million, the Chicago-based charity said.

"These awards recognize nine extraordinary organizations
and, we hope, allow them to unleash their inspiration and
impact on a larger scale in the future," MacArthur Foundation
president Jonathan Fanton said.

The grants included $350,000 to the Chicago Rehab Network
for its housing work, $300,000 to the police watchdog group
CLEEN Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria, and $500,000 to Fundar, the
human rights-health care organization in Mexico City.

Other awards were $250,000 to the Moscow-based Independent
Council of Legal Expertise, which works to improve Russia's
legal system and helps journalists; $500,000 to Knowledge
Ecology International, a group that breaks down intellectual
property barriers to make medicines available in developing
countries; $400,000 to North Lawndale Employment Network in
Chicago, which helps people released from prison; $325,000 to
the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, which helps
conserve the nation's biodiversity; $500,000 to RealBenefits in
Boston, which assists poor people in obtaining government
benefits; and $300,000 to SEARCH, a group in Maharashtra,
India, that provides health care to 100,000 people in 86