NET WORTH: $13.7 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Google
FUNDING AREAS: Environment, Education
OVERVIEW: Eric Schmidt believes that leaders still matter, and he has taken a leadership approach to giving, attempting to use his technological expertise and vision to solve many of the world's problems. Along with his wife, Wendy, Schmidt founded the Schmidt Family Foundation, which focuses on the environment, education, and sustainable development.
BACKGROUND: Eric Schmidt grew up outside Washington, D.C., and studied electrical engineering at Princeton University, and then the University of California at Berkeley. After receiving a Ph.D., he held technical positions at companies including Bell Labs, Xerox, Sun Microsystems and Novell, before becoming the CEO of Google in 2001, where he is still the Executive Chairman. He's also served on the board of Apple.
ENVIRONMENT: One of the foundation's signature programs is the 11th Hour Project. Run by his wife Wendy, this program works on "connecting organizations with good information on how to develop a more responsible relationship with the world's water, energy, and food resources." The 11th Hour Project has three programs under it: 1. The Energy Program focuses on reducing reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating the production and adoption of renewable energy. 2. The Ecological Agriculture Program focuses on "reforming animal agriculture, building regional food systems and long-term movement building." 3. The Human Rights Program emphasizes protecting communities’ access to and enjoyment of the natural resources they rely on for their survival, and "promotes development that is socially and environmentally sustainable."
In addition, Wendy established the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The couple also runs a separate entity called the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which works to preserve reef habitats and study pollution.
EDUCATION: Schmidt has served on the board of trustees of his alma mater Princeton, and also Carnegie Mellon University, donating substantial amounts to these institutions. He's currently on the board of Khan Academy, which provides online educational resources. He is also a strong supporter of environmental education. Schmidt helped to establish the 11th Hour Food & Farming Journalism Fellowship at the UC Berkley Graduate School of Journalism which gives awards to students writing about environmental issues.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Schmidts to continue to heavily dig into environmental issues.