Tate Williams reports on changes at The Kavli Foundation, which is expanding through its Kavli Institutes and Kavli Prizes, and through its support of science communication. The Kavli Foundation is a founding member of the Science Philanthropy Alliance.
“Hoping to provide flexible dollarsâ€”to contrast often-rigid government grants or profit-driven corporate R&Dâ€”the foundation found a unique way to support basic science with unrestricted funds. It would establish several endowed university institutes, matching donated funds from other sources, and allow scientists in a handful of promising fields to use annual investment gains however they pleased.Â
â€śThatâ€™s an extraordinary way to fund what I call front-end discovery,â€ť saysÂ Conn, who had a successful career as a physicist and university administrator before getting into philanthropy. â€śBecause if you get somebody with a crazy idea and theyâ€™re not ready to go to the government for funding, what do you do? â€¦ Hereâ€™s a source of money.â€ť “