Wendy Schmidt is 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 non-profit organizations around the world in program areas including renewable energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection through its 11th Hour Racing program.
11th Hour Racing promotes sustainability in the sailing and maritime industries, and serves as the Exclusive Sustainability Partner for Land Rover BAR, the British team competing for the upcoming 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. 11th Hour Racing also recently signed on as co- title sponsor with Vestas Wind for the American team in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
In 2009, Wendy 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 the sharing of information about the oceans. Since 2012, Falkor has hosted more than 400 scientists from 29 countries.
To further her commitment to ocean issues, in 2010 Wendy Schmidt partnered with XPRIZE, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify efficient and innovative solutions to clean up surface oil spills. Wendy Schmidt once again partnered with XPRIZE in 2012 to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a $2 million purse, awarded in July, 2015, where competitors responded to the global need for accurate and available sensors to more broadly measure the signs of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change.
Wendy Schmidt is the lead philanthropic partner of the New Plastics Economy Initiative (NPEC). Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the NPEC brings together a broad group of global companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, beginning with packaging.
Wendy Schmidt also is a founding board member of Climate Central, based in Princeton, New Jersey, which connects scientists and journalists together to provide accurate, non-advocacy news and analysis about our changing climate and its impacts on our cities, coastlines, agriculture, freshwater, and oceans.
The Schmidt Family Foundation also operates ReMain Nantucket, dedicated to enhancing the economic, environmental, and social life in the downtown of America’s oldest continuous community.
Wendy earned an M.J. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College.
Amy Rao is the President of The 11th Hour Project and Founder & CEO of Integrated Archive Systems, a company she founded in 1994. Amy’s greatest passion is for the defending and protecting of human rights both domestically and internationally and currently serves on the International board of Human Rights Watch and The Fund for Global Human Rights as well as on the V-Day board with Eve Ensler. Amy also serves on the board of the Schmidt Family Foundation and is chair of the Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice events in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Amy serves on the advisory board for the Dalai Lama Fellows, based in The Presidio in San Francisco.
Mr. Sciortino is Executive Director of The Schmidt Family Foundation and a key contact for all those working in concert with us. He oversees all facets of the foundation’s programs, including The 11th Hour Project, which he led as Project Director for four years. A former Director of the eCommerce division of Williams-Sonoma, Mr. Sciortino has spent many years as a volunteer for environmental groups in the Bay Area, including leadership of a team monitoring populations of harbor seals in the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary. Mr. Sciortino is currently on the Board of The Regeneration Project and active in several organizations, including Environmental Grantmakers Association and the California Academy of Sciences. He has a M.S. in Environmental Management from The University of San Francisco and a B.S. in finance and marketing from New York University.
Sarah is Program Director for The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program in ecological agriculture and regional food systems. She sits on the boards of Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA and the Environmental Grantmakers Association and holds a B.A. in both English Literature and French from the University of Colorado. An enthusiastic supporter of permaculture and former student at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, Sarah lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons.
Jamie is a Program Director for The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program in Renewable Energy & Climate. Before joining The 11th Hour Project, Jamie was a Program Officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation leading the Agriculture subprogram, which focused on improving the environmental performance of agriculture domestically and the performance of biofuels globally. She graduated from the Haas School of Business in May 2007 with a certificate in Global Management. While there, she concentrated on issues of Corporate Social Responsibility and consulted for companies including Nokia and McDonald’s. Additional experience includes three years at the U.S. Fair Trade Certification organization, Fairtrade USA, and a summer working at the Packard Foundation researching the use of market incentives to encourage improvements in shrimp fishing in Mexico. She received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from U.C.L.A.
Lauren is the Director of the Oil and Gas Program at The 11th Hour Project. The program focuses on supporting communities most impacted by oil and gas extraction around the United States with an ultimate goal of keeping all oil and gas in the ground. Lauren also supports the Human Rights program’s work on issues related to energy in Africa with an emphasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to joining The 11th Hour Project, Lauren spent three years organizing large-scale sustainability conferences. She holds a B.A. in both Global Studies and Dramatic Arts from UC Santa Barbara.
Michael Roberts is a Program Manager on the Ecological Agriculture team of The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation. Michael oversees the team’s Regional Food Systems portfolio and supports movement-building efforts, with a focus on California. He was a founding funder of the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Justice collaborative, working to advance agricultural and environmental policy towards justice for communities bearing the burden of the California food system. Michael also lead’s the foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative.
Amanda is the Program Associate for the Renewable Energy & Climate program at The 11th Hour Project. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University, with a concentration on Entrepreneurship and Management and a certificate in Sustainable Energy systems. Her prior research experience includes work with cellulosic biofuels, small-scale wind and solar energy technology. She has interned at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, The Woods Institute at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She was also a 2011 Dalai Lama Fellowship recipient, for which she worked on youth leadership development and environmental issues in Tanzania.
Christina oversees communications for the 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation. She has over fifteen years of experience in strategic communications and was previously with the United Nations, where she worked on several global media campaigns and was a Press Officer covering the General Assembly. Christina graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and received a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Jake is a Program Associate within the Oil & Gas Program at the 11th Hour Project, where he works to reduce the public health and ecological impacts of antiquated energy systems in the US. He holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston College. Prior to joining the 11th Hour Project, Jake contributed to the development of a faith-based health initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission and supported community outreach for an oncology program at the Cambridge Health Alliance.
Maria Koulouris is a Program Director for The 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program on human rights. Before joining The 11th Hour Project, she was the Director of the Africa Division at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) where she oversaw human rights and rule of law programming and staff in more than a dozen countries. From 2004–2011, she worked at Global Rights where in 2008, she created an initiative to increase capacity of civil society organizations to address economic and social injustice linked to oil extraction and mining from a human rights perspective. Previously, Ms. Koulouris documented war crimes and crimes against humanity in Chad on behalf of Human Rights Watch. She received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Université de Montréal and her Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Columbia University.
Mission Investing Manager
Shally Shanker is Manager of Mission Investing for The Schmidt Family Foundation. She is responsible for the Foundation’s portfolio of program-related investments (PRI) and mission related investments (MRI), and in that role works with a team of content experts to identify, structure and manage investments that are consistent with the Foundation’s mission and return profile. The portfolio seeks to create environmental and social impact in the areas of agriculture, food, water, waste reduction, energy, health, access to finance, and human rights.
Jenny is a Program Associate for the Renewable Energy & Climate program at The 11th Hour Project. Prior to joining The Schmidt Family Foundation, Jenny spent six years working in local government where she carried out climate action planning and sustainability programming. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Washington and a Sustainable Business Practices Certificate from the University of California San Diego.
Kiara is the Program Coordinator in the Oil & Gas Program at The 11th Hour Project. She holds a Master of Health Science degree in Environmental Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with a concentration in Global Environmental Health and Sustainability. Prior to joining, Kiara was placed at the Environmental Grantmaker’s Association in New York as a part of the Environmental Fellows Program and also worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.
Joanna is the Program Associate for the Ecological Agriculture Program. She holds a BA in Urban Planning and Anthropology, a certificate in organic farming from Michigan State and a MLA from the University of Michigan, where she focused on participatory design and environmental justice. Prior to joining, she did research on coastal community resilience with the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. While living in Flint, MI, Joanna worked in food systems, helping to establish a marketing cooperative, a start-up food business, and diversified urban farm. She is passionate about community land management, ecological design and the role of activism in professional fields.
Maggie is the Program Associate for the Human Rights Program. Prior to joining, she worked on rule of law and human rights programs in sub-Saharan Africa at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), focusing mainly on programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previously, she worked at a refugee support center in Baltimore, MD, providing social and therapy services to refugees and asylum seekers from Africa. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Modern Middle East Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration on Economics and Arabic.