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 dollars—to contrast often-rigid government grants or profit-driven corporate R&D—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.
“That’s an extraordinary way to fund what I call front-end discovery,” says Conn, who had a successful career as a physicist and university administrator before getting into philanthropy. “Because if you get somebody with a crazy idea and they’re not ready to go to the government for funding, what do you do? … Here’s a source of money.” “