Dr. Milton Boniuk together with his wife Laurie are the founding donors of the Boniuk Institute. Dr. Boniuk's interest in promoting religious acceptance was sparked at Baylor College of Medicine, where, as the Caroline F. Elles Chair of Opthalmology, he interacted with hundreds of medical students and residents of divergent backgrounds. His interest grew stronger after he was asked to serve on the board of Houston's newly established Holocaust Museum. Dr. and Mrs. Boniuk made a gift to Rice in 2004 to establish a center dedicated to promoting deeper understanding of religious tolerance in Houston. In 2013, they funded the expansion of the center so it could extend its efforts on a global level.