Oakland Activist Wins MacArthur 'Genius' Grant
An Oakland community activist is among the winners of this year's so-called "genius grants" from the MacArthur Foundation.
Maurice Lim Miller says his grant of half a million dollars is a validation of his Family Independence Initiative.
The project promotes self-sufficiency among low-income families by helping them take advantage of the strengths and resources within themselves and their communities.
Miller says his initiative succeeds partly thanks to its counterintuitive approach. "Unlike most organizations, we don't try to figure out how to do it. We just transer the responsibility to the families. My mother knew me and my sister the best. We were poor and Mexican. So my mother figured out - and we basically tell the families - 'look, it's your turn.'"
Two other Californians--a neurobiologist at UCLA, and a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology--also won MacArthur Foundation grants this year.