Support from Kim Sinatra Funds Innovative Research Program

One of the important programs funded by generous donors, like Kim Sinatra, is the Innovation Research Program (IRP). This program increases opportunities for DRI faculty and technical staff to succeed in their research by financially supporting their very best ideas. Sinatra’s four-year pledge to support IRP, which is matched by the Tom and Mary Gallagher Foundation, provides funding for DRI faculty to conduct creative, innovative research or technological development that advances DRI’s mission.

“I’m excited to support IRP projects because I believe it’s incredibly important to launch early-career scientists who have innovative ideas for solving our most challenging environmental problems,” said Sinatra. “In addition, IRP was important to my dear friend, the late Tom Gallagher, and his wife Mary, and this is one more way to honor his legacy.”

IRP provides funding to do research in new and emerging areas and often opens the door to new funding from federal agencies. One example is investigating microplastic pollution in Nevada’s freshwater. DRI researchers studied the presence of microplastics in Lake Tahoe and the Las Vegas Wash to learn more about how much microplastic exists in these waterways. The IRP funding began Monica Arienzo, Ph.D., on her microplastics journey.

Thanks to the generosity of Sinatra and other supporters, our scientists are exploring big environmental questions, and are being awarded funding for further research.

To support IRP or for more information on how to make a gift to support DRI, please contact Kristin Burgarello, director of advancement, at 775.673.7386 or

kim sinatra

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Philanthropy is a multigenerational Lewis family tradition. During his childhood, Robert Lewis wanted to be a scientist. He has supported DRI for almost 15 years and was part of an instrumental group of donors that provided philanthropic support to launch the Innovative Research Program (IRP) in 2018.

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