The foundation's commitment was triggered by Georgia's recent award of $38 million for the facility, fulfilling its total project commitment of $45 million. Coupled with a $5 million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Marcus Foundation's funding will push the amount of private funds committed to the project past the $20 million mark — the minimum needed to begin construction, and about $15 million short of the school's private-funding goal.
The new building will have 30,000 square feet of "cleanroom" research space, an essential element of nanotechnology research, from which materials ten times stronger than steel but much lighter in weight will be developed. Researchers from universities and industries in the region will have access to the facility, helping to create new nanotechnology applications and attract industries that will benefit from nanoengineering.
"Nanotechnology holds such amazing promise for truly revolutionizing many facets of our lives, specifically in medicine, while having the added benefit of economic development," said Bernard Marcus, founder of Home Depot. "The discoveries that will be possible as a result will prove the wisdom of the investment."