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Contact: Patricia Coen (609) 258-5764
Date: September 17, 1999

MacArthur Foundation President Adele Simmons to Speak at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Adele Smith Simmons, outgoing president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation's largest philanthropic foundations, will speak on "Tackling Urban Poverty: Can a Regional Strategy Work?" at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on Thursday, September 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium. Simmons, who was Princeton's dean of student affairs from 1972 until 1977, stepped down from her post at the MacArthur Foundation this month, after ten years at its helm.

The mission of the MacArthur Foundation, which has assets of $4 billion and makes annual grants of approximately $170 million, is to foster lasting improvement in the human condition. It seeks the development of healthy individuals and effective communities; peace within and among nations; responsible choices about human reproduction; and a global ecosystem capable of supporting healthy human societies. Its grantmaking in the U.S. and abroad is carried out mainly through two integrated programs: The Program on Human and Community Developments supports efforts in the United States aimed at increasing access to economic opportunity, supporting positive development of children, and building community capacity; the Program on Global Security and Sustainability focuses on arms and security, the environment, population, and human rights.

The MacArthur Foundation has provided leadership in collaborative efforts between business and the nonprofit sector in a number of other areas, including sustainable forestry, aquaculture, urban development, and the arts. It has committed over $50 million to training and research for students and faculty focusing on the new issues of security in the post-cold war world; $20 million to support interdisciplinary work in the field of economics, with special emphasis on aspects of growing inequality within and among nations; and $40 million to support the nationally recognized Chicago school reform process. It is also well known for its leadership in the protection of biodiversity, in women's reproductive health, and in U.S. regional development.

In her tenure at the MacArthur Foundation, Simmons has overseen the distribution of over $1 billion in grants. Major initiatives have included the establishment (with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Pew Trusts) of the Energy Foundation, which supports efforts to increase efficiency through the use of renewable energy, appliance standards, automobile design, and revised building codes permitting the use of newly available materials.

Prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation in 1989, Simmons served as president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, as dean of student affairs at Princeton University, and as a dean and assistant professor at Tufts University. She was appointed by President Carter to his Commission on World Hunger, and was one of a small group of military and intelligence leaders in discussion with Soviet counterparts just prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union. She was also a member of President Bush's Commission on Environmental Quality, and chaired Mayor Daley's Youth Development Task Force in Chicago. She currently serves on the board of the Synergos Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Simmons has written books on Africa and working women, and her op-ed articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune. A graduate of Harvard University, she earned her doctorate in African history from Oxford University and has been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees. After leaving the MacArthur Foundation this month, she will serve as vice chair of Chicago Metropolis 2020, and as a senior associate at the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago.

Simmon's talk is being co-sponsored by Isles, a Trenton-based development corporation founded in 1981 as a result of a student-initiated seminar at Princeton University. It develops comprehensive, long-term solutions to urban problems by fostering self-sufficient families in sustainable communities.