MacArthur President Stasch To Step Down

Julia Stasch, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for the past four years, will step down as president in 2019.

She has been president of the Chicago-based foundation since July 2014. The announcement was released late yesterday afternoon.

The MacArthur Foundation is among the largest private foundations in the United States, reporting total net assets of almost $6 billion in 2016, according to its most recent tax forms. That includes revenue of $303 million, grants paid of $251 million and operating expenses of almost $72 million.

“During this exceptional time, when hope and optimism persist, even as the challenges facing our city, our nation, and the world can seem daunting and the divisions so deep, it is an honor to lead an institution committed to making the world a better and more just place for all,” Stasch said in a press release announcing her future departure. “Philanthropy is well-positioned to act boldly, to take risks, to invest in new ideas, and to bridge differences to effect real and lasting change,” she said.

MacArthur Board Chairman Dan Huttenlocher praised Stasch’s leadership and applauded her contributions and said the board immediately will “launch a broad search” for the next president, he said.

Stasch was among those selected to The NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 for 2017 and 2018.

During her tenure, the foundation has pivoted to focus on fewer programs, freeing resources to launch “Big Bets” – significant and urgent investments to achieve transformative change in areas like incarceration and climate change, allocating almost $131 million last year:

  • Climate solutions, $50 million
  • Criminal justice, $43 million
  • Nuclear challenges, $20 million
  • On Nigeria, $15 million
  • Impact investments, $2.7 million

Stasch also led the creation of 100&Change, a global competition for a $100-million grant to “enable real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.” Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) received the inaugural award to educate children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. A second round of the competition will launch in 2019.

Stasch served as interim president of the foundation for eight months before being selected as successor to Robert Gallucci, who was president from 2009 to July 2014. She was the foundation’s vice president for U.S. programs for 13 years and before that was chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard A. Daley, Chicago housing commissioner, and deputy administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) during the Clinton Administration.

Stasch also was president of Shorebank Chicago Companies, which included the nation’s first community development bank, and served as president and chief operating officer of Stein & Company, a real estate development company.