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.

The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region (specifically the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin).


The Joyce Foundation was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago.[1] 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. Currently, the Foundation has more than $760 million in assets.

Over time, the Foundation’s mission has evolved while maintaining its focus on public policies that benefit the Great Lakes community. 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.

Mission statement[edit]

The Joyce Foundation 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. The Foundation focuses on today’s most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions. The work is based on sound research and is focused on where the Foundation can add the most value. The Joyce Foundation encourages innovative and collaborative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach.[2]


Current members of the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation are: Roger R. Fross, Chairman, Charles U. Daly, Vice Chairman, Ellen S. Alberding, President, John T. Anderson, Chairman Emeritus, José B. Alvarez, Bob Bottoms, Michael F. Brewer, Anthony S. Earl, Carlton L. Guthrie, Daniel P. Kearney, Tracey L. Meares,[3] Margot M. Rogers,[4] and Paula Wolff.

The Joyce Foundation has a staff of about 27, whose names are listed on its website.

The Foundation's management and program staff[5] consists of:

Ellen S. Alberding

Vice President of Finance and Administration
Deborah Gillespie

Vice President of Programs and Strategy
Beth Swanson

Chief Investment Officer
Jane R. Patterson

Program Officers

Stephanie Banchero, Senior Program Officer
Jason Quiara, Program Officer

Whitney Smith, Senior Program Director
Matthew Muench, Program Officer

Ed Miller, Program Director
Molly Flanagan, Senior Program Officer

Gun Violence Prevention
Nina Vinik, Program Director
Jessyca Dudley, Program Officer

George Cheung, Senior Program Officer

Angelique Power, Senior Program Officer

Previous notable board members include US President Barack Obama who served on the board from 1994 through 2002.[6][7]


Since 1972, the Joyce Foundation has awarded approximately $832 million in grants. In 2005, it paid grants in the amount of $8,385,304 in its Environment program, $7,888,380 in its Education program, $6,302,775 in its Employment program, $3,056,117 in its Gun Violence Program, $2,818,105 in its Money and Politics program, and $1,427,350 in its Culture program.[8]

In 2013 the Joyce Foundation awarded a total of $35,587,994 to 218 grantees. Those included 59 discretionary, membership, and employee matching grants, 33 environment grants, 32 education grants, 20 employment grants, 23 culture grants, 23 democracy grants, 30 special opportunities grants, and 31 gun violence grants.[9]

  • Education[10]
  • Employment: Focuses on workforce development, education, and job training for low-income workers.[11]
  • Environment: Concentrates on environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes region, especially water and energy issues.[12]
  • Gun violence: Funds research and advocacy in firearms policy, including supporting anti-gun groups.[13][14]
  • Democracy: Supports research and advocacy around such issues as campaign finance and ethics reform.[15]
  • Culture: Supports arts organizations, primarily in Chicago; its Joyce Awards also supports arts groups in other Midwest cities.[16]

Gun violence prevention and gun control[edit]

The Joyce Foundation is one of the few private foundations that considers gun-related research proposals.[17] Since 2003, the Joyce Foundation has paid grants totaling over $12 million to gun control organizations.[13][14] The largest single grantee has been the Violence Policy Center, which received $4,154,970[14] 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".[18]

Grants by the Joyce Foundation related to gun violence in the years prior to 2007 include:[14]

  • American College of Preventive Medicine
  • Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • The George Washington University
  • WAVE Educational Fund
  • Mayors Fund to Advance New York City
  • National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Inc
  • Violence Policy Center
  • Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago, Illinois
  • University of Chicago Crime Lab[19]

The Joyce Foundation has underwritten research into gun violence prevention since 1993.[14] 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.[20] As of 2009, the Second Amendment Research Center is no longer in existence.[21]

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.[22]


  1. ^ "History". 
  2. ^ "About Us/ Mission". The Joyce Foundation. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  3. ^ "Meares Joins Board". Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Joyce Foundation Announces Tracey L. Meares and Margot M. Rogers To Join Its Board of Directors". Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Joyce Foundation Board of Directors". Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Kenneth Vogel (2008-04-20). "Obama linked to gun control efforts". Politico (Capitol News Company LLC). Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  7. ^ "2008 Presidential Candidates: Barack Obama". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-04-10. [dead link]
  8. ^ Source: The Joyce Foundation 2005 Annual Report, Page 45
  9. ^ "The Joyce Foundation's 2013 Annual Report". The Joyce Foundation. 2013. 
  10. ^ "Education". The Joyce Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  11. ^ "Employment". The Joyce Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  12. ^ "Environment". The Joyce Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  13. ^ a b Beaucar, Kelley O. (2001-08-31). "Gun Panel Meets and Comes Under Fire". Retrieved 2007-04-11. the committee is funded in part by Joyce Foundation and the David & Lucille Packard Foundation, both generous supporters of anti-gun groups in the past. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Gun Violence". The Joyce Foundation. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  15. ^ "Money and Politics". The Joyce Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-14. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Culture". The Joyce Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Cox, Chris (December 2007). "Follow the Money". American Rifleman (National Rifle Association of America) 155 (12). Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  19. ^ "Gun Violence Among School-Age Youth in Chicago" (PDF). University of Chicago Crime Lab. March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-08. The University of Chicago Crime Lab is supported by generous grant awards from the Joyce Foundation... 
  20. ^ "About Us". Second Amendment Research Center. Retrieved 2008-03-06. ...and supported by a generous grant from The Joyce Foundation of Chicago, Illinois... 
  21. ^ "The Volokh Conspiracy » Joyce Foundation Funded OSU 2nd Amendment Center Expires". 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  22. ^ "Volume 30, No. 3". Evaluation Review (SAGE Publications) 30 (3). 2006-06-01. 

External links[edit]