Mutual Fund Pioneer Templeton Dies

John Templeton, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, has died. Templeton was a pioneer of international investing and mutual funds in the years after World War II. He was also known for the prize that sought to reconcile science and religion.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block. The global investor and philanthropist John Templeton has died at age 95. He put his huge fortune toward creating a foundation to support people who work for the reconciliation of science and religion, and he founded the Templeton Prize. NPR's Margot Adler has this remembrance.

MARGOT ADLER: John M. Templeton amassed a fortune in investments and mutual funds. He created the Templeton Foundation to answer the big questions, the laws of nature, the nature of consciousness. Take this excerpt from a Templeton Foundation video.

Unidentified Man: For thousands of years, human beings have gazed in wonder at the world about them and asked, why are we here?

ADLER: The Templeton Foundation has an endowment of $1.5 billion and gives about $70 million in annual grants. The Templeton Prize, at one point $6 million, has been called the world's richest. According to the Templeton Prize Web site, the award goes to a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimensions. It has gone to theologians and scientists, from Mother Theresa to Freeman Dyson. Templeton chose to make the prize huge deliberately.

Mr. JOHN TEMPLETON (Philanthropist): We set the Templeton Prize as larger than Nobel to say to the world that new concepts in spiritual information are even more important than any of the other sciences.

ADLER: Some scientists have been skeptical about the purpose of the foundation and the prize, believing it to elevate religion at the expense of science. But the foundation has been the prime funder of attempts to bridge science and religion. Margot Adler, NPR News.

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