Working in diverse fields ranging from affordable housing, civil and human rights, and climate change science, to algebraic geometry, documentary film, and poetry, the twenty-one fellows will each receive $625,000 over five years. Popularly known as the "genius awards," the fellowships provide recipients with maximum freedom to follow their own creative vision, with no stipulations or reporting requirements.
This year's fellows include five nonprofit leaders — Mary L. Bonauto, 53, civil rights project director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which works to legalize same-sex marriage; John Henneberger, 59, co-founder of Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, which advocates for expanded affordable housing and a new paradigm for post-disaster rebuilding; Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe, 53, an artist who has transformed a long-neglected Houston neighborhood into a visionary public art project; labor organizer Ai-jen Poo, 40, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of Caring Across Generations, which works to improve working conditions and labor standards for the approximately two million domestic workers in the United States; and Jonathan Rapping, 48, president of Gideon's Promise, which trains public defenders to work more effectively within the judicial system by providing coaching, training, and professional development.
Other recipients include social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt, 49, who investigates the largely unconscious yet deeply ingrained ways in which individuals racially code and categorize people; physicist Danielle Bassett, 32, who uses tools from network science and complex systems theory to enhance our understanding of connectivity and organizational principles in the human brain; and Khaled Mattawa, 50, a poet and translator of Arabic poetry.
"Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life's work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world," said MacArthur Fellows Program vice president Cecilia Conrad. "Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination."
For a complete list of 2014 MacArthur Fellows, visit the MacArthur Foundation website.