To the Editor:

Eden Stiffman’s article “Quick Grants From Tech Billionaires Aim to Speed Up Science Research — but Not All Scientists Approve” (July 11) adeptly captures how science philanthropy can circumvent the fierce and restrictive fundraising gauntlet scientists must navigate to sustain their laboratories. Flexible funding is pivotal. It empowers scientists to pursue high-risk, high-reward ideas often sidelined by traditional grant makers, enabling groundbreaking progress and creative freedom.

Just as bricks need mortar to build a wall, scientists need diverse support to make discoveries. Unrestricted funding can offset expenses for early-career scientists that are rarely, if ever, covered, such as conference-related travel, professional-development training, open-access publication, and legal fees for patenting and commercializing discoveries.

Beyond the lab, philanthropy’s flexible backing can alleviate costs that, while not directly tied to research, are crucial for career advancement. That includes child-care support and supplemental-income funds for a spouse facing reduced earnings after relocating. Unrestricted philanthropic funding recognizes the intricate balance of a scientist’s professional and personal aspirations.


We cannot separate scientific discoveries from the people who make them. Philanthropy can extend beyond immediate research funding, providing a strong foundation for scientists to innovate, explore, and contribute meaningfully to society. Just as a well-constructed wall endures through time, the knowledge that comes from philanthropy’s investment in the scientific community will have a lasting impact that resonates far beyond the lab.

Brooke Grindlinger
Chief Scientific Officer
The New York Academy of Sciences