On February 16, 2012, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) as a recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The award recognizes ICNL’s work to create an enabling environment for civil society worldwide and provides ICNL with a grant of $1,000,000.
The MacArthur Award honors and supports ICNL’s efforts to advance the legal environment for civil society, philanthropy, and civic participation in over 100 countries. Among other examples, ICNL is working with partners to create the legal framework for humanitarian groups and other civil society organizations in Libya. ICNL is also engaged with partners to promote philanthropy in China, increase public participation in Russia, enhance state-civil society relations in Brazil, and enable civil society in scores of other countries.
“As we see in Egypt and other countries around the world, the legal framework for civil society is front page news,” said Doug Rutzen, President of ICNL, “and our goal is to promote safe legal space for individuals to work together to improve their societies.”
At the global level, ICNL’s work led to the first-ever UN Special Rapporteur on the freedoms of association and assembly. ICNL also convened a Global Forum on Civil Society Law at which Aung San Suu Kyi, Desmond Tutu, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson provided remarks.
“From Chicago to Kampala, these extraordinary organizations demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “They provide new ways to address old problems. They generate provocative ideas and they reframe well-worn debates. And their impact is altogether disproportionate to their size.”
The award is recognition of ICNL’s leadership and an investment in the organization’s future. It comes at a critical time for ICNL, enhancing its sustainability and enabling it to develop a communications strategy to support civil society law reform efforts around the world.
“The MacArthur award is a tribute to our partners, donors, staff, board and advisory council,” said Doug Rutzen. “Our impact results from the innovation, dedication, and inspiration of this remarkable group of colleagues.”
ICNL is one of only 15 organizations from six countries to be recognized with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The MacArthur Foundation does not seek or accept nominations for these awards.