Published in the OC Philanthropy Issue of The Orange County Business Journal - September 4, 2017
For aspiring scientists everywhere, all roads lead to the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which has been providing grants to researchers and research institutions in the chemistry and life sciences for nearly 40 years. Started in 1978 by Dr. Arnold O. Beckman and his wife Mabel, the founders of Beckman Instruments, Inc. who created devices that revolutionized the study and understanding of chemistry and human biology, the private foundation has remained steadfastly committed to its original mission: To promote scientific discoveries, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open up new avenues of research.
One Man’s Lifelong Love of Science
One of Dr. Beckman’s “Rules of Success” endures today: ‘Only by taking risks do you make progress.’ This philosophy, combined with a love for science, became the impetus for the Beckman Foundation’s decades-long trend in supporting national and local science-based endeavors and, more recently, its $25,000 sponsorship of the unique STEM initiative known as the Irvine CubeSat Program. The collaborative effort between NASA engineers and six public high schools within the Tustin and Irvine districts aims to launch a student-designed and operated cube satellite into orbit – exactly the sort of program and collaboration that inspired Dr. Beckman.
Dr. Anne Hultgren, Executive Director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, has some advice for young scientists participating in the project: “Remember that success is never achieved without taking that first step. Learn from the mistakes of others, make a few of your own, and then apply those lessons moving forward. In supporting the CubeSat Program, it’s our hope that students take those words to heart as they work hard to fulfill their shared dream of launching their satellites into space.”
Funding Orange County’s Future Scientists
In addition to the Foundation’s well-known national support of STEM undergraduates, postdoctoral researchers and young faculty – increasingly important as federal science funding declines – Beckman Foundation has provided more than $55 million to a noteworthy list of Orange County beneficiaries in several gift categories:
- Aiding the Construction of State-of-the-Art Facilities, including the Beckman Laser Institute at UCI, Beckman Hall and the Schmid College Center for Science and Technology at Chapman University, the Discovery Science Center, and Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at UCI (in addition to annually funding two postdoctoral positions)
- Supporting High School Science Programs by funding science awards and art competitions at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair and sponsoring the soon to be launched Irvine CubeSat
- Encouraging Science Education in Grades K through 12 with an inaugural grant toward the MIND Research Institute and initiating the Beckman@Science program, which continues today with Kids@Science
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation celebrates its 40-year anniversary milestone in 2018. To learn more about the organization’s history, programs, and news, visit www.beckman-foundation.org or call 949-721-2222.