August 25, 2021

Philanthropic donations to Salk Institute exceed record-breaking $100M in FY21

Record support will help accelerate discoveries in cancer, climate change, Alzheimer’s and more

Salk News

Philanthropic donations to Salk Institute exceed record-breaking $100M in FY21

Record support will help accelerate discoveries in cancer, climate change, Alzheimer’s and more

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute announced today that philanthropic donors gave more than $100 million to support bold scientific research in fiscal year 2021 (ending in June). The amount is a new record in philanthropic gifts for the Institute, eclipsing the previous record gift total in 2019 by more than $11 million.

“Science is a collaborative effort and thanks to the generous financial support of our partners, the Institute is able to continue its critical mission of tackling some of the most challenging health issues in history,” says Salk President and Professor Rusty Gage. “This investment in Salk science helps us advance our goal of building a more resilient world.”

Philanthropic donations helped accelerate scientific research across the Institute and propel dozens of significant scientific discoveries made in Salk’s labs during the fiscal year, including developing a promising approach for treating type 1 diabetes by using stem cells, finding that the brain’s immune cells form some plaques as a defense in Alzheimer’s, and identifying how tumors cause immune cells to lose their ability to fight cancer.

Highlighting the Institute’s strong philanthropic support were several notable gifts, including a significant contribution from the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation’s Human Performance Alliance—a partnership and collaboration of Salk and six teams at UC San Diego, Stanford University, the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, and Boston Children’s Hospital—to fund work to map the molecules and gene activity of human performance that can help maximize performance, healing and recovery; $30 million from the Bezos Earth Fund to Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) to advance efforts to increase the ability of crop plants to store atmospheric carbon for longer in the soil to mitigate the effects of climate change; $9.5 million from the NOMIS Foundation to Salk’s NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis to grow and expand its leading-edge research in health and immunity; and many others. In addition, significant gifts encompassing important areas of need at the Institute, such as innovation, research and recruiting new faculty, were provided by organizations including BioMed Realty, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, Hess Corporation and the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation.

“Our philanthropic supporters have displayed an unprecedented level of generosity for the scientific mission of the Institute and we are deeply grateful,” says Vice President of External Relations Rebecca Newman. “In amounts large and small, the contributions will accelerate vital scientific research Salk scientists are pursuing to improve the health of our planet, and everyone on it.”

The Institute recently launched a five-year philanthropic and scientific initiative, “Campaign for the Future: Building a More Resilient World,” to bolster its technology, recruit new researchers and construct a 100,000-square-foot building, where the best minds in science will work together to achieve success.

Salk continues to demonstrate strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency. This year, for the tenth consecutive time, the Institute earned the highest ranking—4 out of 4 stars—from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity and nonprofit evaluator. Only three percent of the roughly 10,000 nonprofits evaluated have achieved this recognition ten consecutive times.

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Unlocking the secrets of life itself is the driving force behind the Salk Institute. Our team of world-class, award-winning scientists pushes the boundaries of knowledge in areas such as neuroscience, cancer research, aging, immunobiology, plant biology, computational biology and more. Founded by Jonas Salk, developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine, the Institute is an independent, nonprofit research organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature, and fearless in the face of any challenge.