The MacArthur Foundation in Chicago has announced nine recipients of its 2015 Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.

The foundation announced the prestigious awards Thursday. Prison watchdog group the John Howard Association of Illinois plans to use its $500,000 award for communications, public outreach and volunteer coordination.

The awards of up to $1 million go to smaller nonprofits, such as 2015 winners the National Institute on Money in State Politics in Helena, Montana, and the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

New York-based winners this year are Firelight Media and Roosevelt Campus Network. Washington, D.C.-based winners are Forest Trends, FrameWorks Institute and iCivics. ASILEGAL (ah-see-lee-GAHL'), a justice reform group in Mexico City, is the only winner outside the United States.