TAWANI Foundation Gifts Over $1.3M to the SETI Institute and the Field Museum in Honor of Earth Month

The TAWANI Foundation announced its commitment of $1.3M to the SETI Institute and continued support for the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum in honor of Earth Month.

The $1.3M gift was approved in 2022 with a gift of $500,000 in support of SETI's International Lake Untersee Antarctic Expedition led by Dale T. Andersen, Ph.D. Lake Untersee is the largest surface freshwater lake in the interior of the Gruber Mountains of central Queen Maud Land in East Antarctica.

This year, the Institute's Anthropo Snow Project will receive $210,000, the first installment of a three-year gift totaling $630,000. The funds support a multi-year research project involving circumpolar mapping of environmental stress, led by Birgit Sattler, Ph.D., professor and limnologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

A grant of $250,000 to The Field Museum supports the work of Philipp Heck, Ph.D., who leads the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies. Heck serves as curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies and senior director of research at the Field Museum.

The TAWANI Foundation has a long history of supporting environmental/atmospheric research and initiatives. Founder Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker IL ARNG (Ret.) developed a deep interest in meteorites over the last 15 years and has joined expeditions to Antarctica.

"Investing in this kind of research is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for our planet," Col. Pritzker said. "It helps us identify the most pressing issues and find ways to mitigate them. It also allows us to adapt to the changing environment and to develop resilience in the face of future challenges."

The SETI Institute is a non-profit research organization, located in Silicon Valley close to the NASA Ames Research Center. Its mission is to lead humanity's quest to understand the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the universe and share that knowledge with the world.

The Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies was established in 2009 at the Field Museum, which houses one of the world's largest meteorite collections, through a $7.3M grant from TAWANI Foundation. The Center has a strong focus on research in meteoritics and cosmochemistry, and the study of the delivery history of extraterrestrial material to Earth through fossil meteorites and micrometeorites. The Center is also engaged in polar studies in collaboration with the SETI Institute, Université libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, Switzerland, the University of Minnesota, the University of Tasmania, Stony Brook University, and previously the Geological Survey of India.

"Meteorites contain a wealth of information about our solar system and its history. Studying them can help us better understand the formation and evolution of planets, and how cosmic dust could have influenced Earth's systems including its climate," said Susan Rifkin, Chief Operating Officer of Philanthropic Activities. "We are proud to support these and other paleoenvironmental studies this Earth Day and beyond."

To learn more about TAWANI Foundation grants, visit

About TAWANI Foundation

Founded in 2002 by notable philanthropist and entrepreneur Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), TAWANI Enterprises' philanthropic organization, the TAWANI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that provides support in the areas of arts and culture, historical preservation, health and wellness, LGBT and human rights, education and environmental initiatives. TAWANI Foundation's vision is to make a sustained and measurable difference for organizations that focus on enriching knowledge, improving health and wellness, and promoting scientific understanding - all with a common goal of making a positive, long-term impact on individuals, communities, and the culture itself. To learn more, visit

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