In 1987, John Marks Templeton, Sr. founded the John Templeton Foundation in Sewanee, Tennessee. It is now based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
He expected it “to stand apart from any consideration of dogma or personal religious belief and to seek out grantees who are ‘innovative, creative, enthusiastic, and open to competition and new ideas’ in their approach to the Big Questions,” according to the Templeton Foundation.
The Templeton Foundation assumed administration of the Templeton Prize. It states, “The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”
Last year, the Templeton Foundation received 350 requests for grants and approved 178. The Core Funding Areas are Science and the Big Questions, Character Virtue Development, Individual Freedom and Free Markets, Exceptional Cognitive Development and Genius, and Genetics.
Queen Elizabeth II knighted him as a Knight Bachelor in 1987 for his philanthropic activities. Irene Reynolds Butler Templeton thus gained a courtesy title as Lady Irene.
In 1993, Lady Irene died after thirty-five years of marriage. John Marks Templeton was a widower twice over.
Templeton sat on a committee chaired by His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to raise funds to restore Westminster Abbey, a twelve-year-long process. In addition, Templeton personally donated funds to make a new stained-glass window for the Lady Chapel,
This replaced a plain temporary window installed during World War II to replace one damaged during the war. Queen Elizabeth II presided over a dedication ceremony.
In 1998, the Templeton Foundation Press published Sir John Templeton: Supporting Scientific Research for Spiritual Discoveries by Robert L. Herrmann, with a revised edition in 2004. The Templeton Foundation Press published Sir John Marks Templeton’s book Possibilities for Over One Hundredfold More Spiritual Information: The Humble Approach in Theology and Science in 2000.
When he died in 2008 at the age of ninety-five, Nature published an obituary that focused on the Templeton Foundation. The anonymous obituary writer related, “Templeton had poured some US$1.5 billion into the John Templeton Foundation, which funds research at the intersection of science and spirituality.” As of last year, the Templeton Foundation had an endowment of $3,340,000,000 and has eighty employees.