2016 #MacArthur Fellows: 23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All


Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope. Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That liberates them to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a “no strings attached” policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2016 cohort!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include a Human Rights Lawyer, Artists, Musicians, Creators and Writers of several types, Linguists and other Historians, Scientists of many subdisciplines, a Jewelry-Maker and a Financial Services Innovator! And, perhaps for the first time, there are more female (13) than male (10) recipients! Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

About half are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth: https://www.macfound.org/maps/1/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

2016-fellows-macarthur

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2016 MacArthur Fellows: 23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

23 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All
Recognizing 23 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the Foundation today named the 2016 MacArthur Fellows. Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/class/class-2016/


ALSO, as described in a previous post, the MacArthur Foundation is celebrating having had 35 years of MacArthur Fellows with events in Chicago and New York City still to come for 2016. Check out the three remaining public ceremonies and events. Fantastic opportunities!

This weekend, “Poetry Off the Shelf”: with poet, Ellen Bryant Voigt, September 27, 2016, 7 – 8:30 PM CDT, at the
Poetry Foundation , 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, IL, USA.

On October 1 and 2, 2016, at New York City’s Kennedy Center, Artistic Director and Jazz Fellow, Jason Moran, hosts two different Fellows, Jessie Little Doe Baird and George E. Lewis.
https://www.macfound.org/events/fellows35/

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