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From the massive wealth of Bill Gates to the pennies of the masses, the private money given to scientific research and development has a huge impact. Here Nature takes a look at who is giving what, and the effects it has.

Philanthropy in numbers
Who's who
Timeline of giving
News and features
Discuss

 Philanthropy in numbers
Show me the money
Nature news crunches through philanthropy in numbers.
16 May 2007

Philanthropy gives a lot to science, technology and medicine. Foundations alone — not counting personal donations — granted $1.2 billion to US science and medical research in 2005 (see graphs below). The broader category of health got an even bigger chunk of $3.4 billion.

Even when adjusted for inflation, philanthropic foundation granting in the United States has approximately doubled over the past decade or so. The fraction of this that goes to science, technology and medical research has stayed steady at about 7-8%.

In the world of biomedical research — an important focus of much philanthropy — all types of private, non-corporate funding are thought to provide more than $5 billion a year in the United States (see 'State of the donation'). That's about 1/6 the amount granted by the government's National Institutes of Health, and 1/12 of what�s spent by industry. In the UK, philanthropic funding from the Wellcome Trust rivals that from the government's Medical Research Council.

All grants by subject
Philanthropic Foundation Grants by Subject	United States, 2005
Science grants by subject
Foundation Grants by Science Subject United States, 2005
Who's giving to science and tech
Philanthropic Foundation Grants by Subject	United States, 2005
Who's giving to medical research
Foundation Grants by Science Subject United States, 2005

Graphic research: Heidi Ledford

 Who's who

People: Who's who
An alphabetical tour through some famous names and less-well-known donors.
16 May 2007

Organizations: The money tree
Donations from philanthropists and private foundations are increasingly finding their way into biomedical research. Lucy Odling-Smee takes a look at some of the richest and most influential funders.
16 May 2007

 Timeline of giving

EVENTS IN PHILANTHROPY

The private funding of science and education for the greater good.

Timeline research: Daemon Fairless

 News and features
FEATURE
State of the donation
Wealthy philanthropists and private foundations are supporting biomedical research on a grand scale. Meredith Wadman asks what they get for their money.
16 May 2007
FEATURE
Love or money
Biomedical scientists want funding; private foundations want cures. Erika Check hears the joys and tensions that arise when the two hook up.
16 May 2007
FEATURE
Millionaires' pet projects
Katharine Sanderson finds out how philanthropy can get personal.
16 May 2007
FEATURE
Q&A: The giving machine
Flush with Microsoft�s fortune, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the United States. Tadataka Yamada, executive director of its Global Health Program, tells Lucy Odling-Smee how the organization aims to save lives with its wealth.
16 May 2007
EDITORIAL
Health cheques
Flush with Microsoft�s fortune, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the United States. Tadataka Yamada, executive director of its Global Health Program, tells Lucy Odling-Smee how the organization aims to save lives with its wealth.
16 May 2007
NEWS
Applicants challenge male order at Howard Hughes
Institute's restrictions can make it hard for women to succeed.
16 May 2007
 Discuss

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