Prize Sponsor 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 its maritime connection, 11th Hour Racing.
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, Wendy 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 ocean.
In 2009, Wendy and her husband Eric Schmidt created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI). In 2012 they launched the research vessel, Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and to catalyze sharing of information about the ocean.
In 2010, to further her commitment to ocean health issues, Wendy 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, Wendy again partnered with XPRIZE to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a prize that responds to the global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change. The prize launched in September 2013.
Wendy has a Masters 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, The California Academy of Sciences, Climate Central, XPRIZE, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, GRIST, Maiyet, The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation, and The America's Cup Organizing Committee. Her interests include sailing, scuba diving, and tennis.