The Starr Foundation to Give Rockefeller $50 Million to Support Collaborations

Posted on November 1, 2006

New York, NY — A $50 million gift from the Starr Foundation, announced this week, will be used to create the Starr Fund for Collaborative Science at The Rockefeller University. The fund will promote and enhance scientific exchange and shared knowledge, the key objectives of President Paul Nurse’s strategic vision for the university.

“Rockefeller University has a long tradition of collaborative and cooperative research that has resulted in many of the 20th century’s most important biomedical discoveries,” said Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman of the board of the Starr Foundation. “Today, more than ever, the collaborative approach to science is vital to accelerating the pace of discovery and translating basic knowledge into medical applications.”

The university plans to use portions of the gift to implement several initiatives outlined in the university’s strategic plan, approved by Rockefeller’s Board of Trustees in 2005. Money from the fund will go toward the construction of the Collaborative Research Center, a major capital project on the north campus that will join two historic laboratory structures into a unified scientific facility designed specifically to foster collaboration; toward the recruitment of new faculty members who are predisposed to collaborative ventures; and toward the establishment of a new Presidential Fellows Program, which will bring to campus exceptional postdoctoral investigators working at the frontiers of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

The Starr Foundation gift represents a major leadership gift to the university’s seven-year Campaign for Collaborative Science. In the last two years, the campaign has received gifts totaling nearly $400 million, including a $100 million pledge made by Honorary Chair David Rockefeller in June 2005. The university has received $115 million in leadership gifts, including $25 million from Board Chair Russell L. Carson, $25 million from an anonymous donor, $15 million from Board Vice Chair Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée, and the $50 million Starr Foundation gift.

“No one understands the importance of collaboration in biomedical science better than Hank Greenberg,” says Nurse. “We plan to promote collaboration among the 75 laboratories on the Rockefeller campus, as well as with other biomedical scientists in New York City.”

“I’d like to thank Hank Greenberg and the Starr Foundation for their visionary philanthropy,” says Mr. Carson. “Future biomedical discoveries will depend on shared knowledge and collaboration across interdisciplinary boundaries, and this generous gift will ensure that Rockefeller will support and nurture the scientists who will be making those discoveries.”

The Starr Foundation, with assets today of approximately $3 billion, has donated in excess of $2 billion since 1955 &8212; more than $1 billion in New York City alone &8212; making it one of the largest private foundations in the United States. The Foundation supports education, cultural institutions, medicine and healthcare, human needs, public policy and the environment. Since 1992, the Greenberg family and the Starr Foundation have provided generous support for basic and clinical research programs at The Rockefeller University. This support includes grants creating and sustaining the Starr Center for Human Genetics; major funding for The Rockefeller University Hospital; and grants to establish and support the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, a collaborative research and clinical effort of Rockefeller, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, co-directed by Charles Rice, the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor at Rockefeller. The Foundation also supports several inter-institutional collaborations that Rockefeller is a part of, including the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative (Rockefeller, Weill Cornell and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) and the recently announced Starr Cancer Consortium (Rockefeller, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Weill Cornell).