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The mission of The Leakey Foundation is to increase scientific knowledge, education, and public understanding of human origins, evolution, behavior, and survival.

The Leakey Foundation funds primatology fieldwork and other research related to understanding human origins.

The Leakey Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding human origins research and sharing the results of this research through innovative educational programs.

We are based in San Francisco, California, and we are the only American funding organization wholly committed to human origins research and education.

The Leakey Foundation promotes a multidisciplinary approach to exploring human origins. We award more than $1,000,000 annually in grants for vital new research and long-term projects.

We give special encouragement to early-career scientists asking new questions and finding innovative ways to learn about human evolution. We also provide funding for graduate students from countries with limited academic opportunities to earn advanced degrees in fields like genetics, paleoanthropology,  and primatology.

The Leakey Foundation has been supporting major breakthroughs in human origins research since 1968.


The Foundation was originally formed in 1968 to support the work of Dr. Louis S.B. Leakey who was a pioneering scientist and a passionate advocate of science outreach. In keeping with Louis Leakey’s philosophies, we recognize that science is stimulated and advanced by education and public outreach. Our commitment to these ideals is reflected in our outreach and educational programs that are designed to give the public the opportunity to learn first-hand about scientific advances.


Note: The legal name of The Leakey Foundation is the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival. The organization has been doing business as (DBA) The Leakey Foundation since 1991. The Foundation’s 501(c)(3) non-profit tax identification number is 95-2536475.