Wendy Schmidt

President | The Schmidt Family Foundation


Wendy Schmidt is the 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 nonprofit organizations in program areas including climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection.

On Nantucket, The Schmidt Family Foundation operates ReMain Nantucket, a local group devoted to enhancing the economic, environmental and social life in the downtown of America’s oldest continuous community.

In addition to leading the foundation, Schmidt was a founding board member of Climate Central, an organization that connects scientists and journalists working together to provide accurate, non-advocacy news and analysis about our changing climate and its impacts on our cities, coastlines, agriculture, fresh water, and oceans.

In 2009, 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 sharing of information about the oceans.

In 2010, to further her commitment to ocean health issues, Schmidt partnered with XPRIZE to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify efficient and innovative solutions to address oil spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. The 18-month long competition, prompted by The Deepwater Horizon disaster, resulted in a solution that yielded fourfold improvement over existing cleanup capabilities.

In 2012, Schmidt again partnered with XPRIZE to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE a prize that would respond to the global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change. The prize, which launched in September 2013, was awarded in July 2015.

Schmidt earned an M.J. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College. She serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Central, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, 1851 Trust, XPrize Foundation and Grist. Interests include sailing, scuba diving and tennis.