Improving lives through invention

Our Founders

It all started with one man’s spirit fueled by creativity, a passion for problem solving and the belief that inventing is essential to social and economic progress. In 1992, Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson founded The Lemelson Foundation to inspire a new generation of inventors to create products to change our world for the better. After twenty-five years of giving, the Foundation continues to be led by the Lemelson family.

Jerome “Jerry” Lemelson

Jerome “Jerry” Lemelson was one of the most prolific and productive independent inventors in American history. Born on Staten Island, New York, he was inspired by icons like Thomas Edison to use his creativity and passion for solving problems and identifying solutions across a wide range of industries, including electronics, manufacturing, healthcare and consumer goods. Working without support from established research institutions or corporate research and development departments, he amassed more than 600 patents. A notebook was a constant with him throughout the day and at his bedside at night so he could immediately record his innovative ideas. Learn more about Jerry’s life and inventions through “Jerome Lemelson: Independent Inventor,” a biography by The Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center.

Dorothy “Dolly” Lemelson

Dorothy “Dolly” Lemelson serves as Board Chair Emeritus of The Lemelson Foundation. Born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Dolly graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. She established herself professionally as an interior designer and owner of Dorothy Ginsberg and Associates in New Jersey. For many years, her work provided financial support to the family while Jerry pursued his work as an independent inventor. In addition to her efforts on behalf of The Lemelson Foundation, Dolly is a supporter of arts organizations and an early advocate of integrating STEM education in K-12 public schools.