Caltech has just announced the establishment of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, with Hirosi Ooguri as director. It will have a permanent endowment of around $74 million, with $30 million of that new funds from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
To get some idea of the scale of this, the recent worries about HEP theory funding in the US have been due to a drop in funding by the DOE of university research from around $27.5 million/year to $24 million/year. So, a few million/year from this endowment should help make up for that, while continuing the trend of changing over theoretical physics funding from government support to philanthropy by the .01%.
Update: In other developments from the .01%, Physics World has the news that nominations are now open for the $3 million Milner prize in physics. You can submit nominations here. Nominations close June 30, announcement of winners will be November 9.
There’s also now a website for the Milner/Zuckerberg $3 million mathematics prize. Not much info there except that it will reward “significant discoveries across the many branches of the subject.” I’m guessing that, like the other prizes, initial picks will be from Milner/Zuckerberg themselves, with those people going on to form the committee to pick future winners.