About the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation supports pioneering neuroscience research and explores the ways in which advances in information and technology can improve the quality of life on Earth.

The foundation is the legacy of Patrick McGovern (1937-2014), enterprising business leader, and tireless advocate for science, who believed that advanced technology and transformative breakthroughs in mental health and neuroscience have the power to change lives and society across the globe.

Upon his passing in 2014, McGovern gave almost the entirety of his estate to this foundation. This act of generosity represents his lifetime as a visionary, trailblazer, forward-thinker, and philanthropist. This foundation will continue his legacy and passion for discovery and impact in the fields of neuroscience and information technology for years to come.

Our Mission and Values


Our Mission: The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and our global community through neuroscience research and information technology.

Like our founder, we think big. We see a world in which the fusion of technology and neuroscience not only improves and saves lives, but has the power to change societies across the globe. The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is fully committed to supporting the ongoing study and advocacy in brain research and technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that will improve life on Earth as we know it.

Today, we’re seeing major breakthroughs bringing us closer than ever to curing conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia. Such breakthroughs require new approaches, such as technology collaboration tools, Big Data, imaging, and DNA sequencing, to enable profound advancements in improving our human condition. As Pat once said, “The benefits that could flow from a better understanding of the human brain are almost beyond imagination.”


Our Values: As an IT visionary and highly successful entrepreneur, Pat’s philosophy was founded on a core set of values which extended across all facets of his life. Today, those values are the cornerstone of what we do.

- Remain dedicated to your mission
- Respect human dignity
- Invest in people
- Strive for excellence
- Be responsive to change
- Always keep a “let’s try it” attitude

Our Focus

Areas of Exploration

As the foundation continues to expand its reach and impact to become a driving force for improving societies and lives across the world, we will explore topics including:

- Leveraging neuroscience and technology to address reading challenges in children
- Enabling artificial intelligence for social good
- Understanding and mitigating climate change through information technology
- Information technology and sustainable development goals
- Computer science education for girls and other under-represented students

Impact and Socially Responsible Investing

We are committed to investing our endowment assets for social change in addition to financial return.

Current Grants

We are honored to support the following organizations and institutions:

IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

Founded in 2000, The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT is led by a team of world-renowned neuroscientists committed to meeting two great challenges of modern science: Understanding how the brain works, and applying that knowledge to help people suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson's, and autism. The Institute’s core facilities include the Martinos Imaging Center, which provides neuroimaging technologies for human and animal research.

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IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Peking University

Since 2012, neural and cognitive scientists have been working to advance understanding of the fundamental processes underlying brain function, and uncover the mechanisms of brain disorders. Researchers are studying a wide range of important questions like how the brain processes the emotions of others, and how neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, develop. The Institute stresses interdisciplinary cooperation with faculty members across the university such as biology, psychology, and psychiatry.

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IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Beijing Normal University

Founded in 2011, award-winning researchers at the IDG/McGovern Brain Science Institute at Beijing Normal study mental and brain development, specifically in children and adolescents. They are also working to answer questions about the mechanisms of learning, the plasticity of the brain, and brain function disorders in children and adolescents. Findings are used as a springboard to promote children's education, and alleviate pain in patients with brain disorders.

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IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Tsinghua University

Established in 2011 and led by prize-winning scientist Dr. Zhong Yi, The IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Tsinghua University in Beijing is focused on cell, molecular, system, and computational neuroscience. The institute explores new applications of brain science to further understand how the brain functions and how to rebuild and protect the brain. It aims to build a world-class research program that is genetically based and technology driven within the next 5-10 years.

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Philadelphia Libraries
"Bridging Philadelphia's Digital Divide"

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation works to advance literacy, guide learning, and inspire curiosity. In 2018, the McGovern Foundation awarded a grant to the library in support of “Bridging Philadelphia’s Digital Divide,” which will upgrade the library’s technology tools, and elevate community skills and confidence in using 21st century technology in school or work settings. The Philadelphia library holds special value to the McGovern Foundation. We are grateful to be able to honor Pat's legacy in enabling the next generation of curious minds to have access to the valuable content at the library.

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NetHope connects the world’s largest nonprofits with technology innovators worldwide. The organization acts as a catalyst for productive collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving to reimagine how technology can improve the world. In partnership with Facebook, NetHope embarked on an “Information is Aid” campaign in Puerto Rico, to provide affected communities with information that would speed the recovery process. The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation supports this initiative through a grant to assess and compile critical need and resourcing information for dissemination via NetHope.

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