The full press is available below:

Chicago, October
15, 2008 – To help combat the growing lending crisis and the rise of
foreclosures in Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is
investing $68 million in grants and low-interest loans in foreclosure
prevention and mitigation efforts in local neighborhoods.

The Foundation expects its investment to
leverage more than $500 million in capital and to assist 10,000 households, including
counseling to 6,000 borrowers and prevention of 2,700 foreclosures by 2010.  MacArthur’s initiative represents the largest
effort in the United States
by a private foundation to address the foreclosure crisis. 

“The scale
of the foreclosure crisis threatens to disrupt hard-won gains in many of Chicago’s lowest-income
neighborhoods,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton.  “Since MacArthur’s inception 30 years ago, we
have supported efforts to make cities better places and to help low-income
neighborhoods build their assets and their potential.  No where is this work more urgent and no
where is it more important to us than in the city we call home.”

grants are supporting prevention efforts, including extensive outreach and counseling
for homeowners and legal assistance for victims of fraud or other valid claims.
 Program-related investments, which are typically
low-cost loans, will help make new mortgage refinancing products available to
help owners keep their homes.  Legal assistance
will help renters facing eviction to keep their homes or gain more time to find
alternate rental housing.    

Foundation’s investment also will help stabilize neighborhoods hard hit by
vacancy and foreclosure.  The City of Chicago expects to collaborate with Mercy
Housing Inc., to develop the capacity to acquire for resale,
rental, rent-to-own, and redevelopment as many as 3,500
properties in Chicago’s hardest hit
 The redevelopment work will be
done in collaboration with numerous developers and community partners.

Recent analyses
by the Woodstock Institute indicate that nearly 35 percent of foreclosure
filings in 2007 occurred in two-to-six unit, multi-family properties.  Therefore, many renters are losing their
homes as a result of foreclosures.  With
the time it takes for properties to go through the foreclosure process, rental
units are lost from the affordable inventory, at least for a time.  MacArthur’s project funds outreach to and
legal advocacy and representation for renters in foreclosed buildings to help
them stay in their homes and limit the loss of affordable housing in the city.

Board and staff began planning this initiative in 2007 and the Foundation
started awarding grants earlier this year. 
Approximately two-thirds of the funding will be provided in 2008 with
the rest to come in 2009. 

foreclosure prevention and mitigation project brings together numerous partner
organizations and, at this time, includes the following elements:

Outreach and

$4.5 million in grants to Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the Chicago
office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Spanish Coalition for
Housing, and the Greater Southwest Development Corporation for homeowner
outreach and foreclosure counseling and referral;

$400,000 grant to the Legal Assistance Foundation to provide legal advice and
representation, including aiding borrowers in negotiations with lenders and
loan servicers;

$400,000 in grant funding to the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing to
provide legal assistance to renters affected by foreclosures;

Financial Products

A $15 million program-related investment in the form
of a low-interest deposit
at ShoreBank for the bank’s $100 million Rescue Loan and Prevention

$9 million program-related investment for the $150-million mortgage program
operated by Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, in partnership with Park National
Bank, MB Financial, the City of Chicago, and other financial institutions;

to $36 million in additional program-related investments and $750,000 in grants
for a mortgage program by Self-Help Ventures of North Carolina that offers a
rent-to-own option; the National Community Stabilization Trust, a collaboration
of the Housing Partnership Network, NeighborWorks America, Enterprise Community
Partners, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation; and other efforts to
help strengthen Chicago neighborhoods by speeding the purchase, repair, and
disposition of foreclosed properties;

Research and Technical

million in grants to the Woodstock Institute and other organizations to collect
and analyze data on foreclosures in Chicago

in grant funding to the Center for Responsible Lending for national and state
policy advocacy and technical assistance for local entities; and

to the MB Financial Charitable Foundation for technical assistance to financial
institutions engaged in creating new mortgage products and strategies. 

MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions
committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.  In addition to selecting the MacArthur
Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global
conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how
technology is affecting children and society. 
MacArthur has deep roots
in Chicago,
where it has its headquarters, and where John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
lived.  Over the past 30 years, the Chicago region has
received the largest share of MacArthur’s philanthropy: nearly $720 million to
860 organizations and individuals. 
information is available at 


contact: Andy Solomon, (312) 726-8000,