Some people have asked how they could donate money to help Folding@home. First and foremost, you can help by downloading and running our client software. This software is free, but for each computer participating, we get a commensurate boost in our computational ability. For all those who have run the client, we thank you!
How to donate funds directly to Folding@home
For those of you who would like to donate money, you can make a tax deductible donation to Folding@home (via the research group of Vijay Pande) by donating to Stanford University. Stanford is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity and thus a donation of money is tax deductible. Stanford’s Federal Tax ID number is 94-1156365. Many companies help individuals donate to Stanford by providing matching funds. You can check to see if your company matches funds by clicking here.
To make donating to Folding@home easier, Stanford now has a link specifically for gifts to Folding@home.
Calling Stanford directly
If you would like to directly call Stanford University with your credit card information, you can contact Stanford toll free at: 866-543-0243 (International call +1-650-724-0627). Our customer service representatives are available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
The address for mailing gifts is
PO Box 20466
Stanford, CA 94305
Don’t forget to note that you would like your donation to go to the Folding@home Computing Project Gift Fund.
You can find more information from Stanford’s donation site.
What would the donation go to?
We are currently raising funds for new servers, to increase server reliability. In general, we have needs both large (e.g. servers, graduate students, developers, etc) and small (memory, hard drives, backup). For example, we have to deal with over 500 terabytes of valuable scientific data, and more data comes in every day, all of which must be backed up and carefully preserved. This process is necessary, but quite expensive. Every little bit helps!
How does donor funding compare with federal grant funding?
While the Pande group does get a significant amount of funding from US Federal funding agencies, there are significant restrictions on the spending of those funds. Thus, even a small amount of funds from donors, which comes in without those restrictions, can enable us to buy important equipment which can fundamentally improve Folding@home, such as servers to speed the statistics process or improve server reliability.
In particular, the major Federal funding agencies supporting research in biology and chemistry in the US are NIH (National Institutes of Health) and NSF (National Science Foundation). They distribute money by funding research proposals submitted by researchers at universities, research institutes, medical schools, even some corporate research facilities. Every year the agencies issue dozens to hundreds of RFP’s (requests for proposals) in specific areas that the government is interested in funding. Depending on the area, they may receive 5 to 10 proposals for each one they have funds to support.
Not only is the selection process very competitive but in trying to make their money go as far as possible, the agencies prefer not to fund capital equipment (centrifuges, gas chromatographs, fluorescence microscopes, basically any scientific equipment costing more than $1-2K) or what they deem to be “infrastructure” – lab construction/renovation, built-in equipment like autoclaves and cold rooms, scientific books and journals, office professional services, and computer equipment and software.
What they typically do fund: stipends and tuition for graduate students, salaries and benefits for technicians and post-docs, summer salary for faculty, consumable materials and supplies for the research, and travel to field-research sites and to scientific meetings. These are “restricted funds” which, within some tolerance, can only be spent for the purposes originally claimed.
So, we have done what we can to get servers from elsewhere: funds that the university or the state may make available for capital equipment and infrastructure building, leftover funds from (rare) fixed-cost research contracts, “in-kind” donations of equipment and/or developer time by interested companies e.g. Dell, Intel, Apple, nVidia and ATI — and private/corporate support for the group’s unusual research infrastructure needs.