Joyce Foundation

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Joyce Foundation
Joyce Foundation logo.jpg
Motto "Working to improve quality of life, promote community vitality and achieve a fair society"
Founder(s) Beatrice Joyce Kean
Established 1948
President Ellen Alberding
Chairman Roger R. Fross
Endowment $950 million
Location Chicago, Illinois

The Joyce Foundation is a charitable foundation based in the city of Chicago, Illinois. It was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean, the sole heir of David Joyce, a lumber baron and industrialist from Clinton, Iowa. It has assets of approximately $950 million. It distributes about $45 million in grants each year.[1]

The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region. The Foundation is notable for its support of gun control measures. U.S. President Barack Obama served on the foundation's board of directors from 1994 through 2002.[2]


The Joyce Foundation was established in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago.[3] 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. The Foundation was modestly endowed until Kean's death in 1972, when she bequeathed nearly $100 million to the Foundation.[3] Since 1972, the Joyce Foundation has awarded approximately $832 million in grants.[4]


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." The Foundation makes grants in the areas of education, employment, the environment, culture, democracy, and gun violence protection.[5]

Grants in support of gun control[edit]

The Joyce Foundation is one of the few private foundations that considers gun-related research proposals.[6] Since 1993, the Joyce Foundation spent over $54 million on over 100 grants that favor gun control.[7][8] The Joyce Foundation has given over $4 million to the Violence Policy Center, which supports an outright ban on handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons.[9] 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".[10]

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. The Second Amendment Research Center argued that the U.S. Constitution did not guarantee individuals the right to keep and bear arms.[11] As of 2009, the Second Amendment Research Center is no longer in existence.[12]

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.[13]


  1. ^ "Joyce Foundation: Chicago Grants". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Vogel, Kenneth (April 19, 2008). "Obama linked to gun control efforts". Politico. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Hsin, Jady (May 2007). "Joyce Foundation". Philanthropy Magazine. Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Joyce Foundation's 2013 Annual Report". The Joyce Foundation. 2013. 
  5. ^ "What We Do". Joyce Foundation. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Frankel, Todd C. (January 14, 2015). "Why the CDC still isn't researching gun violence, despite the ban being lifted two years ago". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Merrion, Paul (January 22, 2011). "The Joyce Foundation: the anti-NRA". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Beaucar, Kelley O. (2001-08-31). "Gun Panel Meets and Comes Under Fire". Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  9. ^ Strain, Kristina (June 6, 2014). "The Joyce Foundation's Long Fight to Curb to Gun Violence". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Cox, Chris (December 2007). "Follow the Money". American Rifleman. National Rifle Association of America. 155 (12). Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  11. ^ Verbruggen, Robert (November 25, 2009). "OSU's Second Amendment Center Runs Out of Ammo". National Review. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Barnett, Randy (November 25, 2009). "Joyce Foundation Funded OSU 2nd Amendment Center Expires". The Volokh Conspiracy. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Volume 30, No. 3". Evaluation Review. SAGE Publications. 30 (3). 2006-06-01. 

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