The University of California, San Francisco has announced a $25 million gift from Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman and a $50 million bequest from an anonymous donor in support of two research programs.
Awarded through the Crankstart Foundation, the gift from Moritz and Heyman will endow the Program in Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR), which finances "bold scientific projects that challenge conventional wisdom and do not fit within the narrow constraints set by traditional grantmakers." In honor of the late Herbert and Marion Sandler, who helped launch PBBR in 1997 with a gift through the Sandler Foundation, the program will be renamed the Sandler Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research.
"We are delighted to ensure that the excellence of UCSF's Sandler Program continues in perpetuity," said Moritz, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2012, two years after the Sandlers. "It has been the spark plug for bold research that provides critical breakthroughs for understanding health. While the majority of our recent grants have been to help cushion the terrible consequences of COVID-19 for communities under siege, the pandemic has shown that it has never been more important for everyone to invest in first-rate science and the people who devote their lives to discovery."
UCSF also announced bequest commitments totaling $50 million from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous in support of the Sandler Program and the UCSF Discovery Fellows Program, which Moritz and Heyman established with an earlier gift. According to Keith Yamamoto, special advisor to the chancellor for science policy and strategy at UCSF and former faculty director of the Sandler Program, the bequest will support the programs' greatest needs.
The donor was inspired by the COVID-related research funded through the Sandler Program and wished to provide hope for both those working on the public health front lines and toiling in labs to defeat the virus, said Sandler Program director Joe DeRisi. "This person was inspired by our scientists hoping to make a difference in the lives of millions of people affected by this disease. The Sandler Program enables researchers to approach long-standing, intractable problems from a new perspective while also allowing them to pivot in real-time to address things like COVID-19."