Honorees Wendy Schmidt and Eric Schmidt speak onstage during UCLA IOES celebration of the Champions of our Planet's Future on March 24, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Heroes USA21. November 2020

Billionaire Couple Promises Lifelong Support to Teenagers Who Want to Serve the Public

Philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt have set up a global talent program for 15 to 17-year-olds who vow to pursue their career in public service, providing the winners with lifelong financial support and mentorship.

At around 15 year old, teenagers are at the height of their idealism. “What if you could find the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, or Nelson Mandela?” says Wendy Schmidt, cofounder of Schmidt Futures, which administers the program Rise. “What if there are dozens of these people in the world who have lacked access to opportunity and to support? With this program we’re looking at supporting people through their lifetimes in public service.”

And why “support for life”? Eric Schmidt, the former chairman and CEO of Google, explains that these kids will deal with the complexity of tomorrow’s world, and fixing future major problems won’t happen as “a one-shot, but over their careers.”

Applications can be submitted until January 29, 2021. All applicants will have access to free online courses on leadership, personal growth, and professional development from world-renowned experts, and the winners will receive need-based financial support for education and internships. The first cohort of 100 winners will be announced in July 2021. Rise is the centerpiece of a $1 billion pledge the Schmidts announced last year.

Fast Company

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