MacArthur to fund ‘big bets’ on climate, criminal justice

CHICAGO (AP) — One of the nation’s largest philanthropic foundations has announced a new focus on global climate change and reform of the U.S. criminal justice system.

The MacArthur Foundation announced Thursday it will make those “big bets” and end smaller grant-making efforts in juvenile justice, housing and maternal health.

The Chicago-based foundation with $6.47 billion in assets gave roughly $231 million last year. It will continue to give similar amounts. Its well-known “genius grants” will continue unchanged.

Foundation President Julia Stasch says a goal will be to “help reverse the practice of mass incarceration in the United States.” In February, the foundation announced plans to give $75 million to local jail officials working on ways to remove nonviolent offenders, people too poor to afford bail and mentally ill offenders from behind bars.