Dr. Louis S. B. Leakey was one of the 20th century’s great anthropologists and a tireless promoter of science education and public outreach. During Dr. Leakey’s travels to the United States in the 1960s to lecture and raise money for his research, he met a group of enthusiastic individuals who were curious about human origins and evolution. Inspired by Dr. Leakey and his ideas, they started a collective to promote a multidisciplinary approach to human origins research. In 1968, they formed The Leakey Foundation to support Louis and Mary Leakey’s fieldwork and the groundbreaking research of young scientists such as Jane Goodall, Don Johanson, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas.
In its first decade of existence, The Leakey Foundation provided funding many of the seminal studies that inform our understanding of human prehistory. Today The Leakey Foundation continues to support the significant studies of researchers such as Zeresenay Alemseged, Jill Pruetz, Dan Lieberman, Frederick Grine, Sileshi Semaw, and many more. Many of today’s prominent human origins researchers got their start with a grant from The Leakey Foundation.