The Buck Institute for Research on Aging is an independent biomedical research institute devoted solely to research on aging and age-related disease. The mission of the Buck Institute is to extend the healthspan, the healthy years of life. The institute, a nonprofit organization located in Novato, California, began its research program in 1999 making it the world's first institute founded primarily to research aging. It is named for Marin County philanthropists Leonard and Beryl Hamilton Buck, whose estate funded the endowment that helped establish the institute, and the Buck Trust currently contributes approximately $6 million annually to support the institute's work. In May 2007, the institute established a cooperative agreement with the University of California's Davis and Merced campuses to coordinate stem-cell research, a move hailed by UC as a collaboration that "strengthens California's leadership in stem cell research and moves it forward in an efficient, safe and cost-effective manner." The campus of the Buck Institute was designed by architect I. M. Pei, who submitted an unsolicited proposal to design the research facility.