Joyce Foundation

Joyce Foundation

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The Joyce Foundation is a charitable foundation
Foundation (charity)
A foundation is a legal categorization of nonprofit organizations that will typically either donate funds and support to other organizations, or provide the source of funding for its own charitable purposes....

 based in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 in the United States and operating principally in the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...


The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region (specifically the states of Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, and Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...



  • Education: Focuses on public schools in Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee; concentrates on teacher quality, early childhood education, and “innovations,” primarily charter schools, small schools, and similar initiatives.
  • Employment: Focuses on workforce development, education, and job training for low-income workers.
  • Environment: Concentrates on environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes region, especially water and energy issues.
  • Gun violence
    Gun violence
    Gun violence defined literally means the use of a firearm to threaten or inflict violence or harm. Gun violence may be broadly defined as a category of violence and crime committed with the use of a firearm; it may or may not include actions ruled as self-defense, actions for law enforcement, or...

    : Funds research and advocacy to restrict gun ownership. This includes support of anti-gun groups.
  • Money and politics: Supports research and advocacy around such issues as campaign finance and ethics reform.
  • Culture: Supports arts organizations, primarily in Chicago; its Joyce Awards also supports arts groups in other Midwest cities.

The Joyce Foundation funds policy-related research in its program areas.

In 2005, the Joyce Foundation 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. Source: The Joyce Foundation 2005 Annual Report, Page 45


The Joyce Foundation was created in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean of Chicago, giving small grants mostly to hospitals and other health organizations. After her death in 1972 it inherited the bulk of her estate, growing in annual grant budget by two orders of magnitude and expanding its scope to cover educational and cultural institutions and by 1980 a wide variety of other concerns.

Mission statement


Current members of the board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 of the Joyce Foundation are: John T. Anderson, Chairman, Ellen S. Alberding, President, Robert G. Bottoms, Michael F. Brewer, Charles U. Daly, Anthony S. Earl, Roger R. Fross, Howard L. Fuller, Carlton L. Guthrie, Marion T. Hall, Valerie B. Jarrett, Daniel P. Kearney 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 consists of:


Ellen S. Alberding

Vice President

Lawrence N. Hansen
Lawrence N. Hansen
Lawrence "Larry" N. Hansen , born to Jeanne and Stanley D. Hansen, was a Vice-President of the Joyce Foundation. He grew up in Elgin, Illinois, graduated in 1963 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and married in 1969...

Vice President of Finance and Administration

Deborah Gillespie

Director of Communications

Charles Boesel

Director of Investments

Jane R. Patterson

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Gretchen Crosby Sims

Program Officers


John Luczak, Program Manager

Angela Rudolph


Whitney Smith, Program Manager

Jennifer Phillips, Senior Program Officer


Stephen Brick, Program Manager

Molly Flanagan

Gun Violence

Nina Vinik. Former program officers include Roseanna Ander.

Money and Politics

Lawrence N. Hansen


Michelle T. Boone

Previous notable board members include US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 who served on the board from 1994 through 2002.

Past and present grantees

Since 1972, the Joyce Foundation has awarded approximately $555 million in grants.

In 2005 the Joyce Foundation awarded a total of $27,323,124 to 196 grantees. Those included 70 discretionary, membership, and employee matching grants, 35 environment grants, 25 education grants, 16 employment grants, 16 culture grants, 14 money and politics grants, 11 special opportunities grants, and nine gun violence grants.

A complete list of grants by The Joyce Foundation is available by program:
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Environment
  • Gun Violence
  • Money and Politics
  • Culture

Gun violence prevention and gun control

Since 2003, the Joyce Foundation has paid grants totaling over $12 million to gun control organizations. The largest single grantee has been the Violence Policy Center
Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national 501 organization working to prohibit gun ownership in the United States, especially in relation to gun politics...

, which received $4,154,970 between 1996 and 2006, and calls for an outright ban on handguns, semi-automatic and other firearms, and substantial restrictions on gun owners. The Joyce Foundation's position on gun control has led to frequent opposition and criticism from gun rights groups, particularly the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

, 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".

Funding patterns

Joyce Foundation funding in several areas related to gun control is available in the form of a mind map
Mind map
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Especially in British English, the terms spidergram and spidergraph are more common, but they can cause confusion with the term spider diagram used in mathematics...

. Click on the picture to view it in full size.

Organizations funded by the Joyce Foundation

The organizations funded by the Joyce Foundation include::
  • Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
    Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
    Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a coalition of over 600 mayors who support a number of gun control initiatives that the group calls "commonsense reforms" to fight illegal gun trafficking and gun violence in the United States...

  • Franklin County Prevention Institute
  • Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan (HELP) Network
  • Indiana Partnership to Prevent Firearm Violence
  • Gun Guys
  • Legal Community Against Violence
    Legal Community Against Violence
    Legal Community Against Violence is a national public interest law center dedicated to preventing gun violence. LCAV provides legal assistance to elected officials, government attorneys and activists across the United States to promote effective, legally defensible laws and policies to reduce gun...

     (formerly Firearms Law Center)
  • Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
  • On-Target Coalition
  • Second Amendment Research Center
  • University of Chicago Crime Lab
  • Violence Policy Center
    Violence Policy Center
    The Violence Policy Center is a national 501 organization working to prohibit gun ownership in the United States, especially in relation to gun politics...

    : $4,154,970 between 1996 and 2006.
  • WAVE Educational fund
  • Workforce Strategy Center

Sponsored work

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

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
UCLA School of Public Health
The UCLA School of Public Health is the graduate school of public health affiliated with UCLA, and is located within the Center for Health Sciences building on the UCLA campus. UCLA is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The dean of the school is Linda Rosenstock, MD,...

resulted in a special edition of Evaluation Review that focused on gun violence.

External links