The foundation begun by philanthropist John D. MacArthur and his wife Catherine, said the awards for "Creative and Effective Institutions" were based on the size of each organization's budget.
"From New York to New Delhi, these extraordinary organizations are making a real difference in the lives of people and communities," said MacArthur Foundation President Robert Gallucci.
An award of $1.5 million went to the Housing Partnership Network in Boston, which the foundation said, "enables peer learning and collaboration among more than 100 affordable housing and community development leaders."
Awards of $1 million went to three organizations based in the New York area.
Brooklyn, N.Y., film maker American Documentary, Family Care International, which works to make "pregnancy and childbirth safer for mothers worldwide," and StoryCorps, also based on Brooklyn, were each granted $1 million, as was the Stimson Center in Washington, which works to build "bipartisan support for pragmatic approaches to world security," the foundation said.
Smaller awards went to the Foundation for the Survival of the Cofan People in Ecuador; Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University in Chicago; International Rivers of Berkeley, Calif.; Sin Fronteras of Mexico City, which works to protect human rights for migrants in Mexico; the Socio Legal Information Centre in New Delhi, India, Southwest Organizing Project in Chicago; The Tobin Project in Cambridge, Ma.; and Ushahidi in Nairobi, Kenya, which works to "collect and map information that advances human rights."