Wendy Schmidt is a philanthropist and investor who has spent the past 14 years creating innovative non-profit organizations to address challenges facing communities around the world, working for clean, renewable energy, healthy food systems, healthy oceans and the protection of human rights. The critical interconnections between human activity, the land we live on and the ocean we depend upon are the central drivers of Wendy’s philanthropic work.
Wendy is president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, which she co-founded with her husband Eric in 2006. She leads the foundation’s two grant-making and investment programs—The 11th Hour Project, which works to create a just world where all people have access to renewable energy, clean air and water and healthy food, and Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, which invests in the development of promising technologies that solve complex ocean health issues and have strong commercialization potential.
Wendy and Eric also co-founded Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 to advance oceanographic research through the development of innovative technologies, open sharing of information and broad communication about ocean health. The institute operates Falkor—the only year-round, seagoing philanthropic research vessel in the world—and a 4500m remotely operated underwater robotic vehicle, SuBastian. Both are made available to the international science community at no cost.
Early in her philanthropy, Wendy partnered with The XPrize Foundation to sponsor two multimillion-dollar competitions to develop innovative ways to improve cleanup of surface oil spills and to create a new generation of accurate and affordable ocean acidification sensors.
A competitive sailor, Wendy has extended her oceans-focused work to the sporting world through 11th Hour Racing, an organization she co-founded in 2010 to work with the sailing community and maritime industry to advance solutions and sustainability practices that protect and restore the health of the Ocean. Wendy also founded ReMain Nantucket and ReMain Ventures, two charitable and entrepreneurial organizations that support the economic, social and environmental vitality of downtown Nantucket.
In 2017, Wendy and Eric co-founded Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together while promoting innovative approaches to problem solving across disciplines.
In the fall of 2019, Wendy and Eric announced a $1 billion philanthropic commitment for their organizations and initiatives to identify and support talent across disciplines and around the world to serve others and work to solve the world’s most pressing problems.