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The Joyce Foundation is a charitable foundation based in Chicagomarker in the United States and operating principally in the Great Lakesmarker region.

The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region (specifically the states of Illinoismarker, Indianamarker, Michiganmarker, Minnesotamarker, Ohiomarker, and Wisconsinmarker).


  • 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: Funds research and advocacy to reduce gun ownership, deaths and injuries. 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 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

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 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, 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 Associationmarker, 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. 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
  • Franklin County Prevention Institute
  • Handgun Epidemic Lowering Plan (HELP) Network
  • Indiana Partnership to Prevent Firearm Violence
  • Gun Guys
  • Legal Community Against Violence (formerly Firearms Law Center)
  • Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
  • On-Target Coalition
  • Second Amendment Research Center
  • University of Chicago Crime Lab
  • Violence Policy Center: $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 Statemarker 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.

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.


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