OVERVIEW: The Allen Foundation supports “high-risk, high-reward ideas in science.”
IP TAKE: Most Allen Family grants support either individuals directly or large teams at major academic and research institutions. Allen does not accept unsolicited proposals, but it is open to be contacted through an online form.
PROFILE: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation was founded in 1988 by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and his sister Jody. The foundation seeks to improve “our planet through catalytic philanthropy, inspirational experiences, and scientific and technological breakthroughs.” The foundation prioritizes biodiversity, science and health, and communities.
In the field of scientific research, the foundation does most of its grantmaking through the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group which in turn funds primarily through the Distinguished Investigator program. The DI program supports individuals and small teams, and the Allen Discovery Centers, which provide long-term funding to larger teams at major research organizations and universities.
The Allen Distinguished Investigator program funds early stage research that has the potential to affect serious change in the field. Grants out of this program can range from $1 million to $1.5 million and are for three years. To get a broader sense of the type of work Allen supports, grantseekers should visit its investigators page.
The Allen Discovery Centers support research at major research organizations and universities by providing significant long-term funding. Typical funding is $10 million for four years with an additional $10 million provided for “a second four year phase.” Allen seeks “visionary leaders and coherent teams” to “pursue new discoveries, principles and insights.”
The Allen Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. However, it does encourage groups whose work aligns with the foundation’s mission to get in touch via a foundation contact form.
Paul G. Allen, founder