College of Arts and Sciences
President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Julia Stasch (BA ’74) is president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies. She joined the foundation in 2001 as vice president for U.S. programs, responsible for work in justice, housing, education, community and economic development, and social and economic policy. With a background of leadership in business, government, and philanthropy, she has contributed a great deal to her professional community while blazing a trail for other women leaders.
Stasch’s commitment to being a person for others is evidenced by her career-long goal of helping to strengthen communities and her commitment to mentoring promising young women leaders. In the public sector, she served as deputy administrator of the General Services Administration during the Clinton administration and as Chicago commissioner of housing and chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, where she set the stage for constructive community engagement around the city’s affordable housing plan. As president and CEO of Shorebank Chicago Companies, she was honored to lead the local efforts of the nation’s first community development bank.
While president and COO of Chicago real estate firm Stein and Company, Stasch earned national recognition for her work to include women and minorities in the construction industry, which was the subject of a Harvard Business Review case study. Now, as president of the MacArthur Foundation, she leads the national and global programs of the foundation on climate change, justice reform, journalism and media, and nuclear risk with an enduring commitment to justice. Under her leadership, MacArthur continues its more than 40-year commitment to the city, its people, and its diverse neighborhoods, investing $1.2 billion in over 1,500 organizations and individuals across the metropolitan region—more than in any other place around the world. Earlier in her career, she was a Vista volunteer and a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system.
A wonderful example of both generative and generous leadership, Stasch is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements, including designation among the most powerful Chicagoans and, most recently, in 2017, the NonProfit Times power and influence top 50. Stasch is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club, and the Chicago Network. Past affiliations include service on the board of directors of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Women’s Business Development Center. She also was the founding president of the board of the Women’s Issues Network.
In 1974, Stasch graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in History; she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Illinois Chicago that year.