Simons Foundation International, with Simons Foundation, Provides Historic $75 Million Gift to CUNY

Photo of the CUNY Graduate Center, a large 8 floor gray building.
Thanks to new funding from the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International, the City University of New York will significantly expand its position as a hub for computational science. The CUNY Graduate Center, pictured, will create a new master’s degree program and hire a new initiative director and up to 25 faculty. Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim (CC BY 2.0 Deed)

Simons Foundation International, in partnership with the Simons Foundation, has made a historic $75 million gift to the City University of New York (CUNY) inspired by an exciting new initiative proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul called Empire AI. This gift represents the university’s largest ever donation and will help expand both New York’s and CUNY’s role in the future of artificial intelligence.

Of the $75 million gift, $50 million is being provided by Simons Foundation International and is earmarked to establish CUNY as a hub for computational science. This funding will allow CUNY to create a new master’s degree program, hire a new initiative director and up to 25 faculty, and create workforce opportunities for students and faculty at the nation’s largest and most diverse urban public university. The program, housed at the CUNY Graduate Center, will strengthen the university’s research and innovation capabilities and build new career pathways into the advanced computer industry, projected to add over 300,000 new jobs in the coming decade.

The Simons Foundation is providing $25 million of the $75 million gift. These funds will underwrite CUNY’s participation in Empire AI, a state-sponsored consortium of New York’s leading research institutions that will utilize a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center aimed at bolstering research and development and unlocking AI’s economic potential.

The historic investment from Simons Foundation International, in partnership with the Simons Foundation, will strengthen CUNY’s reputation as a top-tier research university. Collectively CUNY research grants total about $500 million each year, for more than 2,100 active research grants. Significantly, this research is carried out by a diverse collection of students and faculty from across the five boroughs.

“CUNY is deeply grateful to the Simons Foundation for this historic investment,” says CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “This generous gift, reflecting our position as a research powerhouse with more than 10,000 researchers and an engine of upward mobility for a student body in which 60 percent are first-generation college students and more than 80 percent are persons of color, will propel CUNY to the forefront of research and guarantee access for our diverse community.”

“This gift aims to strengthen computational research at CUNY, to build on its traditions of excellence,” says Simons Foundation President David Spergel. “We were inspired by the governor’s investment in Empire AI to deepen our investment in CUNY. New York will be the center of computational science and computer science. CUNY’s faculty and students will be a vital part of this scientific revolution.”

Read more:
Governor Hochul Announces CUNY to Receive $75 Million From the Simons Foundation, Largest Donation in University History

A $75 Million Gift for CUNY Dedicated to AI