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Interlochen alumnus Emmanuel Pratt named 2019 MacArthur Fellow

Pratt, a Chicago-based urban designer, transforms vacant lots into sustainable urban gardens.

Emmanuel Pratt

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Emmanuel Pratt

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Emmanuel Pratt

Pratt in the 1988 Interlochen Arts Camp Junior String Orchestra.

On Sept. 25, 2019, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named Interlochen alumnus Emmanuel Pratt (IAC/NMC 87-90) as one of the 26 members of their 2019 fellowship program. As a fellow, Pratt will receive a grant of $625,000, which will be distributed over the course of five years.

Pratt is co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), a nonprofit organization that focuses on urban environmental, social, and economic renewal in “blighted” Chicago neighborhoods. Through their work, they transform vacant or abandoned lots into sustainable, urban agricultural gardens and community centers.

“I don’t do the work to get recognition,” Pratt told The New York Times in a recent interview. “I do [it] because it’s a way of life. It’s proving that it’s not just possible, but that another way is already happening. It’s right here.”

Pratt spent four summers studying violin as a Junior and Intermediate camper.

To date, 14 Interlochen alumni have been named MacArthur Fellows since 1981.

Congratulations to Pratt, and to the Sweet Water Foundation!