Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, where she works to advance the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources. The Foundation houses its grant-making operation in The 11th Hour Project, which supports more than 150 non-profit organizations around the world in program areas including renewable energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and a maritime connection through its 11th Hour Racing program.
11th Hour Racing promotes sustainability in the sailing and maritime industries, and serves as the Exclusive Sustainability Partner for Land Rover BAR, the British team competing for the upcoming 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. 11th Hour Racing also recently signed on as co-title sponsor with Vestas Wind for the American team in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
In 2009, Wendy Schmidt and her husband, Eric Schmidt, created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), and in 2012 launched the research vessel Falkor as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze the sharing of information about the oceans. Since 2012, Falkor has hosted more than 400 scientists from 29 countries.
To further her commitment to ocean issues, in 2010 Wendy Schmidt partnered with XPRIZE, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify efficient and innovative solutions to clean up surface oil spills. Wendy Schmidt once again partnered with XPRIZE in 2012 to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a $2 million purse, awarded in July, 2015, where competitors responded to the global need for accurate and available sensors to more broadly measure the signs of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change.
Wendy Schmidt is the lead philanthropic partner of the New Plastics Economy Initiative (NPEC). Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the NPEC brings together a broad group of global companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, beginning with packaging.
Wendy Schmidt also is a founding board member of Climate Central, based in Princeton, New Jersey, which connects scientists and journalists together to provide accurate, non-advocacy news and analysis about our changing climate and its impacts on our cities, coastlines, agriculture, freshwater, and oceans.
The Schmidt Family Foundation also operates ReMain Nantucket, dedicated to enhancing the economic, environmental, and social life in the downtown of America’s oldest continuous community.
Wendy earned an M.J. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College.