News Releases
Cindy Cooper Joins The Lemelson Foundation to Advance Opportunities for Collegiate Inventors and Young Entrepreneurs
April 20, 2017

Portland, OR, April 20, 2017 - The Lemelson Foundation, the world’s leading funder of invention in service of social and economic change, has hired Cindy Cooper to serve as program officer leading its higher education and U.S. entrepreneurship work. Cooper will significantly increase the Foundation's capacity to build ecosystems that support young inventor entrepreneurs in the United States and developing countries.

“Young entrepreneurs have huge potential to grow the economy and solve pressing problems, but they face many challenges as they move their inventive ideas out of the lab and into the market. Cindy has exceptional experience working with academic institutions to develop the networks, technical assistance, funding, and other supports that inventor entrepreneurs need to build successful impact-driven companies. We are thrilled to welcome her to The Lemelson Foundation team,” said Executive Director Carol Dahl.

Cooper’s expertise in social entrepreneurship education and incubation is evidenced by her co-founding of Portland State University’s (PSU) Impact Entrepreneurs program. This suite of programs included the Social Innovation Incubator, which was recognized by Fast Company magazine as one of America’s “51 Bold and Brilliant Ideas” in 2011, and the online Business of Social Innovation Certificate program, which was selected as a finalist for the Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award in 2015. She also led the university’s social innovation ecosystem, collaborating across business, engineering, architecture and other schools to increase the pipeline of impact inventors and entrepreneurs, and leading to PSU’s successful 2012 selection as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.

Cooper has demonstrated a fierce dedication to social impact throughout her career. This included co-founding and leading Speak Shop, a social enterprise which offers live Spanish language classes via video conferencing; directing programs for Net Impact; and running a social entrepreneurship incubator for the Three Guineas Fund. Immediately before joining the Foundation, Cooper served as the chief marketing and impact officer for Koopman Ostbo, where she was responsible for developing marketing, operational, and community engagement strategies to advance environmental and social impact.

Cooper holds a Global M.B.A. from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and earned a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Claremont McKenna College in California.

For more information about Cooper and other Lemelson Foundation team members, please visit:


Based in Portland, The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. Inspired by the belief that invention can solve many of the biggest economic and social challenges of our time, the Foundation helps the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses to flourish. The Lemelson Foundation was established in the early 1990s by prolific inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy. To date the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $200 million in support of its mission. For more information, visit