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Simons Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-07

At A Glance

Simons Foundation

160 5th Ave., 7th Fl.

New York City, NY United States 10010-7037

Telephone: (646) 654-0066


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $2,337,165,679

Total giving: $230,753,645






Established in 1994 in NY - Founded by James and Marilyn Simons. James Simons is the founder and former C.E.O. of the hedge fund management company, Renaissance Technologies. James and Marilyn Simons have committed to The Giving Pledge, and have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Purpose and Activities

The primary mission of the foundation is to advance the frontiers of research in the basic sciences and mathematics.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Autism Research Initiative

The initiative accepts applications for investigations on the impact of physiologically relevant activation of the innate immune system on behavioral, circuit, synaptic and neuronal functions in animal models of autism. For application information see

Collaboration Grants for Mathematicians

The goal of the program is to support the ‘mathematical marketplace’ by substantially increasing collaborative contacts between mathematicians. The foundation will make a large number of grants to accomplished, active researchers in the United States who do not otherwise have access to funding for research that supports travel and visitors. The grant is $7,000 per year for five years. See foundation web site for application.


The program is designed to encourage novel collaborations between mathematics and other fields in science or engineering by providing substantial operating funds to create new chairs at U.S. universities that join mathematics departments with chosen partner departments through matching grants for endowment. See foundation web site for application information and online portal to submit letter of intent.

Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science

The award is for graduate students who have completed two, three or four years at a U.S. or Canadian institution of higher education. A track record of outstanding results in theoretical computer science is the key criterion. There are no citizenship requirements. Grants are awarded to the student’s home institution. There is a limit of two applications per university. For-profit organizations may not apply. See foundation web site for application information.

Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life

The intent of the program is to advance our understanding of the processes that led to the emergence of life. Grants will be in the range of $100,000 USD to $400,000 USD per year, for a nominal period of five years, subject to annual reviews and contingent on continued work on origins questions. See foundation web site for application information. Applicants must be scientists in tenure-track, tenured, or equivalent positions in any country.

Simons Fellows Program

The programs provide funds to faculty for up to a semester long research leave from classroom teaching and administrative obligations. Such leaves can increase creativity and provide intellectual stimulation. The goal is to make it easier to take such leaves, or to extend sabbatical leaves by an extra half year. See foundation web site for application information.

Simons Investigator Award

The program invites nominations from universities in the United States and Canada for the award in Mathematics, Physics, and Theoretical Computer Science programs. Simons Investigators will receive research support of $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year will be provided to the investigator’s department. The award is administered through the institution at which the investigator is appointed, and this institution will receive 20% in indirect costs.

Fields of Interest

  • Astronomy
  • Autism
  • Computer science
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Marine science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Science
  • University education
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • People with disabilities
  • People with psychosocial disabilities

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $2,337,165,679 (market value)

Gifts received: $23,587,305

Expenditures: $272,208,991

Total giving: $230,753,645

Qualifying distributions: $230,069,768

Giving activities include:

$230,069,768 for grants

$30,185,970 for foundation-administered programs

$683,877 for in-kind gifts