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Appendix C
The Role of the Private Foundations in the Support
of Mathematics
A Report by L. H. Farinholl to the COSRIMS
Panel on Level and Forms of Support
GENERAL STATEMENT ABOUT FOUNDATIONS
In their support of mathematics as in their other grants, philan-
thropic foundations have consciously tried to stimulate new activ-
ities in preference to sustaining existing ones. Their general policy
has been to provide the "seed money" which enables new enter-
prises to put down roots; once a "seedling" has proved its viability,
the supporting foundation normally expects it to find sustenance
elsewhere from its parent institution, from public funds, and in
some cases from industry. The "venture capital" which foundations
provide is thus freed for work in other areas of need.
If, after a reasonable period of foundation nurture, the seedling
shows no positive signs of becoming self-sustaining, the foundation
usually will arrange to phase out its support and move on to more
promising ventures. This risk of failure is inherent in most of the
grants foundations make; in practice, a foundation naturally will
try to assure itself in advance that the new enterprise has a reason-
able chance of success.
Because foundations try to be creative rather than imitative in
their grants, they take considerable pains not to become involved
in programs that simply duplicate what is already being done with
the support of government or other large benefactors. In this era
of expanding federal support of science and education, it is no small
243

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244
Appendixes
matter to remain abreast of burgeoning new federal programs, to
say nothing of remaining ahead of them. But it appears unlikely
that foundations will run out of things to do as long as they retain
knowledgeable staff people and preserve their inherent flexibility in
meeting new problems.
WHAT FOUNDATIONS HAVE D ONE FOR MATHEMATICS
No private foundation has a separate division or program labeled
"Mathematics." For reasons which the Committee will appreciate,
the support of mathematics as a major undertaking has not been
overwhelmingly attractive to even the most sophisticated of the large
foundations. Warren Weaver has written: "The great private
philanthropies have for the most part been rather cold to mathe-
matics." ~
Where mathematics has entered into foundation grants, it has
usually appeared in projects to strengthen research and teaching in
the sciences generally or to strengthen the scientific and technologi-
cal capabilities of specific institutions. Mathematics also figures in
grants where it is secondary to some other purpose, such as the con-
struction of economic models or the mathematical analysis of
medieval music.
For these reasons, any description of foundation grants "for
mathematics" must be somewhat arbitrary and tentative. It must
include grants that benefit "pure" mathematics, and it must not
exclude those for applied mathematics; but it would seem reason-
able to attempt to screen out those grants wherein mathematics is
merely the tool of some other discipline. The standard adopted in
this report (at Dr. Weaver's suggestion) is the inclusion of grants
for work "by mathematicians in a mathematical setting." The time
span covered is from the beginning of 1955 to 1966.
The total of grants for mathematics by the seven private founda-
tions most directly interested in the discipline has been approxi-
mately $19,247,000 over the past 11 years. The Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation has been responsible for over 510 million of this
amount, the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation have
each given more than $3 million, and the Rockefeller Foundation
has contributed over $1 million. A more detailed description of each
foundation's activities follows:
~ Warren Weaver, Mathematics and Philanthropy, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,
1965, p. 27.

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A ppend mixes
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ($10,422,078)
245
The Sloan Foundation's largest single contribution to mathematics
has been its grants totaling $3,093,500 to the Courant Institute of
Mathematical Sciences of New York University. Of this amount,
$793,500 was a contribution to the program of the Institute and
$2,300,000 was used in the construction of a new building which was
named Warren Weaver Hall.
Other large grants were $1,265,700 for a laboratory of mathematics
and physics at the California Institute of Technology; $1,000,000 for
a mathematics center at Stanford University; and $500,000 for a
mathematics center at Dartmouth College.
Grants to improve the teaching of mathematics have included
$135,000 to Syracuse University for a project to upgrade selected
high school teachers of mathematics, and contributions totaling
$65,000 were made to the Mathematical Association of America in
partial support of two summer institutes for college mathematics
teachers. A grant of $60,000 helped the American Mathematical So
. . . . .
clety In mOVlng ltS . headquarters.
The foundation's Program for Basic Research in the Physical
Sciences provides unrestrictive two-year research grants, with occa-
sional renewals, to young faculty mathematicians, physicists, and
chemists who show unusual promise. Under this program, since
its inception in 1955, grants totaling $2,34b,378 have been made to
support the researches of 116 individual mathematicians.
The Sloan Foundation's support of mathematics continued un-
abated in 1965 and early 1966. A grant of $1,000,000 was made to
Cornell University to help establish a new Department of Computer
Science cutting across the boundaries of several Cornell colleges and
professional schools. Brown University received $500,000 to help
create stronger ties between mathematics and applied mathematics
by strengthening faculties and facilities. A grant of $250,000 was
made to help inaugurate a program in biomathematics at Sloan-
Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and Cornell Medical
College.
In the interest of mathematics education, the Sloan Foundation
granted $100,000 to the Pacific Science Center Foundation to help
establish a Regional Learning Center in Mathematics. A grant of
$10,000 to the University of Cambridge, England, is supporting re-
searches in the history of mathematics by Dr. Derek T. Whiteside.

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246
A ppend ix es
Other grants by the Sloan Foundation have supported mathe-
matics indirectly through the strengthening of certain engineering
schools and of "science and mathematics" instruction in other col-
leges. Two large Funds for Basic Research in the Physical Sciences,
one of $15,000,000 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
another of $5,000,000 at California Institute of Technology, support
some research work by mathematicians at those institutions. No
effort has been made to include this indirect support in the Sloan
Foundation's totals.
Ford Foundation ($3,326,000)
From 1958 to 1966, the Ford Foundation made twelve grants totaling
$3,326,000 for mathematics, of which $1,000,000 was a contribution
to the Courant Institute. Nearly all the rest was in support of educa-
tional projects such as curriculum improvement, development of
new teaching materials, and seminars for grade school and high
school mathematics teachers. The most recent grant, made in Decem-
ber 1965, was $155,000 to the Conference Board of the Mathematical
Sciences, for a survey of the teaching and use of the mathematical
sciences in the United States, in coordination with a related survey
sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences.
Carnegie Corporation of New York ($3,181,000)
This foundation's interest also has been primarily in educational
projects. In recent years, the Carnegie Corporation has granted
$500,000 to Educational Services, Inc., for development of supple-
mentary teaching materials in English and mathematics; $200,000
for the teaching of mathematics for engineering technicians in Mil-
waukee vocational and adult schools; $250,000 for curriculum-revi-
sion work at Webster College's Institute of Mathematics and
Science; and $176,000 for the Mathematics Learning Center of the
Pacific Science Center :Foundation.
Rockefeller Foundation ($1,160,000)
Grants by the Rockefeller Foundation in mathematics have been
made for educational purposes such as summer institutes for teachers
and for larger projects which included mathematics. Among some
forty-two grants thus involving mathematics, the figure of $1,160,000
is estimated to have gone for mathematics as such.

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ppend ices
247
Louis W. and Maud Hill Family Foundation ($590,464)
This foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, lists 29 grants since 1955
for projects in mathematics education, nearly all in the upper Mid-
west. It has supported experimental programs for gifted public
school students, summer institutes for students and teachers, use of
computers in colleges and universities, and comparative studies of
mathematics education in this country and abroad.
John Simon Guggenheim Foundation ($356,000)
This foundation has awarded 82 fellowships totaling $356,000 to
mathematicians in the past 11 years. Eight fellowships totaling
$56,000 (included in the total) were granted to mathematicians in
the past year.
Research Corporation (~211,500)
The Research Corporation since 1946 (a departure from the time
span applied to other foundations in this report) has distributed
$127,500 in grants to strengthen college mathematics departments;
$16,000 in project grants; $28,000 for the Summer Research Institute
of the Canadian Mathematical Congress, 1954-1956; $30,000 for a
summer seminar of the Mathematical Association of America in
1964; and $10,000 to two mathematicians in its annual Research
Corporation Award for 1963.
THE FUTURE OF FOUNDATION SUPPORT
For the future, it seems safe to say that foundations will continue
to look for opportunities to do what other institutions cannot do
or cannot do so well. Government support of science and technology,
which seems to have reached a plateau, will continue to be a major
factor in the thinking of foundations interested in those areas. The
total amour': of government support will be perhaps less important
than the way in which it is distributed. Thus, if government support
is to be spread more broadly on a geographical basis, foundations
probably will be called upon to help remedy whatever untoward
effects such a policy may have.
Most foundations, however, will continue to prefer to support
innovative and experimental proposals, soundly conceived, rather
than simply filling in the gaps left by other programs. In this func-
tion they have the advantage of flexibility and of relative but not

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Hi ppend ix es
absolute freedom from outside pressures. In the crossfire of con-
flicting demands made upon limited foundation resources, mathe-
matics will have to make its case in competition with other and
probably more dramatic appeals for support.
The pursuit of new knowledge has a strong appeal to many
foundations. The problem for mathematics will be to demonstrate
that new mathematical knowledge and its application-is directly
relevant to the social concerns that animate foundations.