In 1957, Terence Boylan, a budding 9 year-old scientist, wrote a letter to the National Institutes of Health requesting $10 to build a rocket ship.
Dear Sir, My friend and I are very interested in space travel and have a great idea for a rocket ship. We were wondering if we could have a little sum of money ($10.00) to fulfill our project. We would [be] most grateful if you would send it to us. Sincerely, Terence Boylan
The letter landed on the desk of NIH grants administrator Dr. Ernest Allen, who took it to his review committee. Out of their own pockets they funded Terence's proposal, leading to series of experiments and a successful launch. It's one of the most heartwarming stories I've heard in a long time. Here's a link to the pdf article. It's a must-read. The story was made into a children's book, available free from NIH's website. An interview with Terence, reflecting on the experience: