Joyce Foundation

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The Joyce Foundation is a charitable foundation based in the city of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States and operating principally in the broader Great Lakes region. It was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean, the sole heir of the successful Joyce family of Clinton, Iowa.

According to the Foundation, it "supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. We invest in and focus on today's most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions."[1]

The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region (specifically the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin). U.S. President Barack Obama served on foundation's board of directors from 1994 through 2002.[2][3]


The Joyce Foundation was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago.[4] She was the sole heir of the Joyce family, of Clinton, Iowa. The family wealth came from the lumber industry, including family-owned timberlands, plywood and saw mills, and wholesale and retail building material distribution facilities located in the Midwest, Louisiana, and Texas.

When Mrs. Kean died in December 1972, the Foundation received more than $100 million, the overwhelming majority of her estate. Kent F. Peterson, who had been an executive of the family-owned Tremont Lumber Company, was named president. Within the next four years, annual giving rose from less than $100,000 at the time of Mrs. Kean’s death to $10 million in 1976. T he Foundation has more than $760 million in assets.

For the first quarter century of its work, the Foundation awarded grants to health organizations and hospitals. Currently, the Foundation's grant making focuses on education, employment, the environment, gun violence prevention, money and politics, and culture.[citation needed]


Since 1972, the Joyce Foundation has awarded approximately $832 million in grants.[5]

The Joyce Foundation is one of the few private foundations that considers gun-related research proposals.[6] Since 2003, the Joyce Foundation has paid grants totaling over $12 million to gun control organizations.[7][8] The largest single grantee has been the Violence Policy Center, which received $4,154,970[8] between 1996 and 2006. The Joyce Foundation has been frequently criticised by gun rights groups, particularly the National Rifle Association, which calls the Joyce Foundation an activist foundation whose "shadowy web of huge donations" leads "straight to puppet strings that control the agenda of gun ban groups".[9]

The Joyce Foundation has underwritten research into gun violence prevention since 1993.[8] The Foundation provided a $400,000 grant to The Ohio State University's John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy to establish a Second Amendment Research Center, directed by OSU Associate Professor of History Saul Cornell.[10] As of 2009, the Second Amendment Research Center is no longer in existence.[11]

The Joyce Foundation has sponsored symposium issues of some law reviews, which are funded by the Foundation. In some cases the law reviews were compiled and edited by an independent external editor and in other cases student law review editors solicited papers for publication from papers presented at a conference funded with Joyce money. Examples of such symposium issues include:

A $250,000 grant to the UCLA School of Public Health resulted in a special edition of Evaluation Review that focused on gun violence.[12]


  1. ^ "What We Do". Joyce Foundation. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Kenneth Vogel (2008-04-20). "Obama linked to gun control efforts". Politico (Capitol News Company LLC). Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  3. ^ "2008 Presidential Candidates: Barack Obama". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-04-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ "History". 
  5. ^ "The Joyce Foundation's 2013 Annual Report". The Joyce Foundation. 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Beaucar, Kelley O. (2001-08-31). "Gun Panel Meets and Comes Under Fire". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  8. ^ a b c "Gun Violence". The Joyce Foundation. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  9. ^ Cox, Chris (December 2007). "Follow the Money". American Rifleman (National Rifle Association of America) 155 (12). Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  10. ^ "About Us". Second Amendment Research Center. Retrieved 2008-03-06. ...and supported by a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation of Chicago, Illinois... 
  11. ^ "The Volokh Conspiracy » Joyce Foundation Funded OSU 2nd Amendment Center Expires". 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  12. ^ "Volume 30, No. 3". Evaluation Review (SAGE Publications) 30 (3). 2006-06-01. 

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