The Mix of Private and Public Funds That Built a Physics Powerhouse

The Mix of Private and Public Funds That Built a Physics Powerhouse

The Perimeter Institute is a renowned research center devoted entirely to theoretical physics. Launched with funds from a single donor, one secret to its success has been a robust combination of government funds and philanthropy. 

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Why are These Science Funders Interested in Something That Happened Two Billion Years Ago?

Why are These Science Funders Interested in Something That Happened Two Billion Years Ago?

Two funders that focus on basic science are set to delve into life's distant evolutionary past. In the process, they may also shed light on ecological, biological and health issues that are increasingly pressing today.

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Behind a Big Boost for a Legacy Institution, Deep-Pocketed Conservationists

Behind a Big Boost for a Legacy Institution, Deep-Pocketed Conservationists

Nature-focused legacy institutions like zoos and gardens are finding creative ways to engage the public and appeal to funders, including the billionaire donor class. A major gift to the Chicago Botanic Garden shows this dynamic in action.

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Supporting Science Teachers and Students: A Look Inside the Amgen Foundation

Supporting Science Teachers and Students: A Look Inside the Amgen Foundation

Amgen Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the hugely profitable biotech company, is laser-focused on nurturing the next generation of scientists. We connect with its leader about the foundation’s core programs and strategies.

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Another Huge Gift Finds Donors Responding to Surging Demand for Engineering Grads

Another Huge Gift Finds Donors Responding to Surging Demand for Engineering Grads

Some commentators have argued that funders over-hype the demand for STEM jobs. A recent $100 million gift to UCLA, however, suggests that donors with decades of experience in the engineering field have a very different take.

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“The Next Exciting Phase.” What a Big Science Research Donation Says About Higher Ed Giving

“The Next Exciting Phase.” What a Big Science Research Donation Says About Higher Ed Giving

With donors giving big for trendy areas like data science and artificial intelligence, a gift out of Chicago finds the Pritzker Foundation going against the grain. We dig into its $75 million gift earmarked for the nascent field of molecular engineering.

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Behind a Search for Breakthrough Ideas to Capture River Plastic Before It Reaches the Ocean

Behind a Search for Breakthrough Ideas to Capture River Plastic Before It Reaches the Ocean

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, threatening vital marine ecosystems, and most of it comes from rivers. Can a new partnership between the Benioff Ocean Initiative and Coca-Cola “turn off the tap” of river plastic?

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Building a Talent Pipeline: Who’s Giving Big for Data Science on Campus?

Building a Talent Pipeline: Who’s Giving Big for Data Science on Campus?

Funder interest in data science shows no signs of abating, and it isn’t just tech funders leading the charge. Given the field’s potential to revolutionize risk management, insurance companies are also digging deep to support data science initiatives.

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“Awestruck.” Behind a Regional Funder's Historic Gift to a Public University's Engineering School

“Awestruck.” Behind a Regional Funder's Historic Gift to a Public University's Engineering School

Even as critics charge that the STEM skills gap is exaggerated, big gifts keep flowing to schools to bolster their STEM programs. Who are the funders behind this endless gusher of cash? And what’s motivating them to make such large donations?

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"Empower Them To Succeed." An Alumna Looks to Close the Engineering Gender Gap

"Empower Them To Succeed." An Alumna Looks to Close the Engineering Gender Gap

While there’s no shortage of tech, corporate and institutional funders providing support to boost gender equity in STEM across higher ed, we see few gifts flowing from female alumnae engineers. A gift to UCLA is an exception worth looking at more closely.

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Why Does Hamilton’s Producer Want to Clone Giant Trees?

Why Does Hamilton’s Producer Want to Clone Giant Trees?

The producer of the wildly successful broadway hit “Hamilton” and his partner recently launched a foundation. Driven by worries about climate change and deforestation, they’re backing work by scientists to clone “Champion Trees.”

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A Force for Good: Why Some Funders are Bullish on Public Interest Technology

A Force for Good: Why Some Funders are Bullish on Public Interest Technology

Warnings about the risks posed by technology have been growing louder and more urgent. But an initiative launched last month imagines a more hopeful future in which technologists advance the public interest. Who’s behind it, and what’s the plan?

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As Millions Flow for Campus Research on Health and AI, What Might Be Some Downsides?

As Millions Flow for Campus Research on Health and AI, What Might Be Some Downsides?

The latest installment in the higher ed artificial intelligence gold rush finds a corporate funder backing new research on health and AI. Other campus donors will likely follow, even as some experts warn that this new technology could exacerbate health inequities.

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Important But Neglected: Why an Effective Altruist Funder Is Giving Millions to AI Security

Important But Neglected: Why an Effective Altruist Funder Is Giving Millions to AI Security

Open Philanthropy Project’s unique approach has led it to animal welfare, global health and curbing the risks of artificial intelligence—most recently with a $55 million grant for research and policy analysis on AI. What’s the thinking behind this big investment?

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Behind a $25 Million Plan to Elevate Women in STEM and Use their Stories to Inspire Girls

Behind a $25 Million Plan to Elevate Women in STEM and Use their Stories to Inspire Girls

Can role models inspire girls to push into STEM fields that have historically been dominated by men? A successful female entrepreneur who’s now focused on philanthropy is betting big that the answer is “yes.”

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Coding Behind Bars: How Some Funders Want to Prepare Inmates for Life on the Outside

Coding Behind Bars: How Some Funders Want to Prepare Inmates for Life on the Outside

With over 600,000 people released from prison every year, reentry challenges are drawing more attention from philanthropy. One nonprofit in this space that’s teaching coding to inmates has found some powerful allies, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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How a Major Research Funder Decided to Wrap Up its Longest-Running Science Initiative

How a Major Research Funder Decided to Wrap Up its Longest-Running Science Initiative

Having funded marine microbiology since 2004, the Moore Foundation has announced it will wrap up its initiative in 2021. We talked to program director Jon Kaye about the initiative’s impact, how it decided to move on, and what’s next.

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Honoring Climate Pioneers: A Prestigious Prize Goes to Scientists Who Broke New Ground

Honoring Climate Pioneers: A Prestigious Prize Goes to Scientists Who Broke New Ground

The Tyler Prize honors environmental scientists. This year’s awardees: a meteorologist who made early climate models and the scientist who came up with the famous “hockey stick” temperature graph—only to be embroiled in “Climategate.”

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