In a press conference this morning, the Danforth Foundation announced that it is closing after 84 years of operation at the end of this fiscal year, May 31, 2011.
The foundation's last act will be a $70 million donation to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
The last donation is the largest in foundation's history, which has contributed $226 million to the Plant Science Center over the years.
Incoming Danforth Center president Jim Carrington says the funds will be used to hire five or six new researchers in plant genetics, and to add computing facilities and staff to process the huge datasets generated in genome sequencing.
Carrington says the grant will also support expanded training opportunities, particularly for university students.
"We need these students trained, and we need them trained in new areas, with new expertise, because these are the individuals that are leading the next generation of scientific discovery, solving the next set of big problems, and founding and staffing the next group of successful companies," Carrington said.
These Foundation-funded developments make up the first phase of a planned three-part expansion of the Danforth Center's facilities and staff. The Center will rely on support from the St. Louis community to complete the next two phases.