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John Merck Fund (1970–projected: 2022)

Total Assets (2012): $73,942,428

Total Assets (as of 2011 spend-down announcement): $75,000,000[1]

Total Assets (2001): $194,017,773[2]

Total Giving (2012): $7,319,500

Total Giving (2001): $12,715,944

Prominent Grants:Grant-making is focused in 4 program areas: clean energy, environmental health, regional food systems, and development disabilities. Grant-making primarily focused on the six-state New England region, although grants are given nationally.

Summary: Based in Boston, Massachusetts, The John Merck Fund was established in 1970 by the late Serena Merck and is now in its third generation of family leadership. Starting in 2012, The John Merck Fund will spend all of its assets over the next ten years to spur progress in clean energy, environmental health, development of a New England regional food system, and treatment of developmental disabilities. The John Merck Fund will award its last grants in 2021 and close its doors in 2022. For the first sixteen years, The Fund worked exclusively to support research into children’s developmental disabilities. Beginning in 1986, it added programs in other fields that also were of concern to Mrs. Merck and her late husband, George W. Merck.

The Fund concentrates its grant-making in 4 areas: clean energy, environmental health, a regional food systems program, and a developmental disabilities program. The clean energy program promotes the development of a clean-energy economy in the six-state New England region. The environmental health program supports development and implementation of market signals and government policies that encourage a transition away from petroleum-based chemicals linked to preventable diseases. The regional food program helps strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in New England’s expanding market for regionally and sustainably grown food by funding initiatives to develop institutional demand and the regional supply network. The developmental disabilities program, the Fund’s original grant-making area, is shifting its focus from basic research to clinical and translational research, with primary emphasis on children who have Fragile X or Down syndromes.