(773) 714-8080

About RRF History

Based in Chicago, The Retirement Research Foundation (RRF) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1950 by John D. MacArthur and was endowed at the time of his death in 1978. The Foundation’s initial mission was “to conduct and provide for research concerning problems of individuals and industry arising from the retirement of workers from regular gainful employment, all for public welfare and for no other purpose.”

Since 1979, The Retirement Research Foundation has awarded more than $225 million to support projects that enhance and improve the quality of life for older people. While nearly half of RRF grants support programs in the Midwest, the Foundation also supports innovative solutions that assist older Americans nationwide.


  • 1985: The Personal Autonomy in Long-Term Care initiative examined the ethical dimensions of long-term care, bringing about changes in practice and policy, and identifying new areas for further research.
  • 1984-1998: The National Media Awards program encouraged excellence and accuracy in productions on aging and aging issues.
  • 1988: The Community Awards Program (ENCORE) in Greater Chicago was launched to identify and reward exemplary programs conducted by churches, community organizations, and social-service agencies, and to encourage their replication.
  • 1998: The Organizational Capacity Building program was launched to help nonprofit organizations make long-term improvements in their management and governance to help sustain services to the elderly.
  • 1993-2006: The Congregation Connection Program increased the capacity of Chicago-area religious congregations to meet the physical and mental well-being needs of aging individuals.
  • 2003-2015: The Accessible Faith Program was initiated to help Chicago-area congregations make physical improvements that enable greater participation by older adults.
  • 2006: The Mental Health Training Initiative funded the development and dissemination of tools to help rehabilitation and home-health professionals address depression in older adult patients.
  • 2011: The National POLST Program Initiative expanded a movement to ensure that the treatment preferences of older persons with life-limiting illnesses are honored.
  • 2011-2014: The Economic Security Initiative developed and launched tools to help vulnerable older adults achieve greater economic stability.