This new global effort will focus funds on innovation, justice, and learning
PORTLAND, ORE., July 18, 2023—The Lemelson Foundation today announced a targeted Climate Initiative that will invest $50 million to support climate action. This announcement deepens the Foundation’s commitment to the most urgent issue of our time. It comes on the 100th birthday of Jerome “Jerry” Lemelson, the late independent inventor who founded the Foundation in 1992 with his wife Dorothy.
“As one of the most prolific inventors of our time, my father was keen to identify new and innovative solutions to real-world problems,” said Rob Lemelson, the Foundation’s President. “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, already devastating communities across the globe. We must innovate and imagine novel approaches to solving the problem; certainly that’s the lens my father and mother would have had on the climate crisis, and we are confident the Foundation’s efforts can make an impact.”
Since 1994, The Lemelson Foundation has helped to improve lives through invention, cultivating the next generation of inventors to create a better world. The Foundation has supported a number of climate-related projects in the United States and the developing world in recent years and across a variety of sectors, including health and agriculture. This announcement signals an increased commitment, including a $50 million targeted investment over the next seven years, to support innovative approaches to decarbonize the global economy and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
“It’s past time for decisive global action to respond to the climate emergency we have created—we must act now because existing mitigation efforts simply aren’t enough,” states Eric Lemelson, the Foundation’s Vice President. “I have no doubt that my father, were he alive today, would be inventing in the areas of renewable energy, adaptation technologies, carbon dioxide removal, and the decarbonization of emissions-intensive industries such as steel and concrete. Jerry understood the importance of environmental protection. The Foundation’s investment in climate action is a natural evolution of our strategy.”
The Lemelson Foundation recently welcomed Joel Clement as Senior Program Officer to lead the Climate Initiative. Clement is an award-winning policy expert, scientist, and former federal executive with 20 years of experience in climate and energy policy, resilience and climate adaptation, and philanthropy. In addition to his full-time role at The Lemelson Foundation, Clement is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center and is an Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute.
“The Lemelson Foundation’s staff, Board of Directors, and Advisory Committee have decades of experience building entrepreneurial ecosystems, improving access to catalytic capital and training the next generation of world-changers, making us a unique and dynamic innovation partner to help propel solutions for the climate crisis,” said Clement. “We’re not the biggest funders in this space, but we have an inventive team that will prioritize the support of frontline communities, foster innovation at scale, and bring together key partners to help make change.”
“At the Foundation’s core, we believe everyone has the ability to invent, innovate, and make change—that’s why we’ve been fostering the spirit of invention for almost 30 years,” shares the Foundation’s Executive Director, Rob Schneider. “Individuals, schools, businesses, governments and philanthropies all have a role to play in ensuring that we get to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases, and we welcome the opportunity to learn, grow and build a better future with both our existing and new partners in this space.”