Schmidt Family Foundation: Grants for the Environment

OVERVIEW: The Schmidt Family Foundation has a large environmental program

IP TAKE: The foundation runs a number of different environmental programs and invests millions in a wide variety of grantees each year. Much of its grantmaking prioritizes California and New York, but organizations beyond these states may secure funding. 

PROFILE: Established in 2006 by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, The Schmidt Family Foundation works to advance the "wiser use of energy and natural resources and to support efforts worldwide that empower communities to build resilient systems for food, water, and human resources." Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy oversee the Foundation in Palo Alto. Schmidt received his bachelor's from Princeton in electrical engineering, as well as a master's and Ph.D in computer science from UC Berkeley, while his wife Wendy graduated from Smith College and then UC Berkeley, where the two met.  Both are heavily involved in various environmental causes, such as the NRDC, and runs a separate entity called the Schmidt Ocean Institute. Indeed, the foundation so prizes environmental causes that it nearly dedicates itself completely to them. The foundation seeks to "advance the creation of an increasingly intelligent relationship between human activity and the use of the world’s natural resources." Through its 11th Hour Project, the foundation invests in EnergyHuman Rights, and Ecological Agriculture

Schmidt conducts environmental grantmaking through its Energy and Ecological Agriculture programs. Its Ecological Agriculture program focuses on "three programmatic goals — reforming animal agriculture, building regional food systems and long-term movement building," while its Energy program seeks to "accelerate the shift towards a 100% renewable energy economy." The Energy Program focuses on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating the production and adoption of renewable energy.

Grants range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the foundation funds small organizations, it prioritizes larger or mid-sized organizations. Past grantees include the Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Nantucket Land Council, Mother Jones, Grist in Seattle, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Yale, and the American Lung Association,  among many others.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. However, the foundation may be contacted at 650-376-7100 or emailed, STAFF@THESCHMIDT.ORG.


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