Guest / Limited Access /

Last year, Sir John Marks Templeton, the legendary 92-year-old global investor, made one big decision. He gave away $550 million, becoming the third-largest financial donor of 2004 after Microsoft's Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffet's wife, Susan.

A naturalized British citizen (and knight by grant of Elizabeth II), Templeton gave the money to his foundation, unique in its sustained focus on science and religion. These new funds propelled the John Templeton Foundation into the top 100 American foundations, with assets approaching $1 billion.

Over the decades, Templeton witnessed other foundations stray from their original charter or exercise poor stewardship. He wanted to avoid their mistakes. So first, he put into place stringent controls over budgets and grants to ensure that long after he's gone his foundation stays true to his vision for promoting spirituality, values, and a closer relationship between science and religion. Second, he put his 65-year-old surgeon son, John "Jack" Templeton, at the helm of the foundation, based in Pennsylvania.

The foundation's signature grant is the annual Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities (until 2001 known as the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion). This blockbuster gift of $1.5 million typically goes to a religious leader, scholar, or scientist. Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, and Chuck Colson were recipients, as was scientist-theologian John Polkinghorne in 2002.

The foundation also gives grants and awards of up to $40 million per year for conferences and science-religion research. Scholars, journalists, and major universities have received Templeton funds. In a typical year, it awards more than 100 grants. A longtime Presbyterian, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Passages
Deaths, promotions, and other items from the religion world.
RecommendedThe Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
Subscriber Access Only The Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
New communications technology lets us preach to millions. It’s time to unplug most of it.
TrendingSpeak Truth to Trump
Speak Truth to Trump
Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.
Editor's PickTen Reasons Why Theology Matters
Ten Reasons Why Theology Matters
Most Christians agree theology is important, but can't articulate why. These reasons can help.
Christianity Today
The $1 Billion Handoff
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.