Wendy Schmidt (born Wendy Susan Boyle; 1955)[2] is an American businesswoman and philanthropist. She is the wife of Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, whom she met in graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the president of the Schmidt Family Foundation.


She was born in 1955 in Orange, New Jersey. Her parents owned an interior design firm, Boyle Design Associates.[2]

She graduated from Smith College in 1977 and attended graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley. While there, she met Eric Schmidt, then a doctoral student in computer science, and edited his thesis. They married in June 1980.[2]

After graduating in 1981 with a master's degree in journalism, she joined the marketing department of Sun Microsystems, where Eric Schmidt later worked as well. She left Sun in 1986 to start an interior design firm, which she ran for 16 years. Wendy and Eric Schmidt have two daughters, Sophie and Alison.[2]


In 2005, Schmidt became a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and founded the 11th Hour Project to raise awareness about climate change and global warming.[3] In 2006, Wendy and Eric Schmidt established the Schmidt Family Foundation to address issues of sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources.[4][5] She is the president of the foundation and directs its grant making. As a yachtswoman, Schmidt has taken a personal interest in promoting some of the 11th Hour Project's ocean awareness programs through sailing.

After the establishment of the foundation, The 11th Hour Project became its main direct charitable program.[6] ReMain Nantucket, founded in 2007 by Wendy Schmidt, is a program area of The Schmidt Family Foundation[2][6] focused on the economic, social, and environmental vitality of downtown Nantucket, Massachusetts.[2][7]

In 2009, Wendy and Eric Schmidt created the $25 million Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund at Princeton University to support research and technology in the natural sciences and engineering.[8][9][10][11] The Fund awarded $1.2 million in grants in 2010 and $1.7 million in grants in 2012.[12][13]

In 2010, through the Schmidt Family Foundation, she offered the prize purse of the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge, a challenge award for the efficient capturing of crude oil from seawater motivated by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[14][15]

Schmidt has supported propositions and politicians in California. She gave $1 million to Proposition 87, a failed 2006 initiative to raise taxes on oil companies to pay for research and incentives to support alternative energy; $50,000 to the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which was approved by voters; and $25,900 to Jerry Brown’s successful campaign for Governor of California.[16]

She serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the California Academy of Sciences, Climate Central, the X Prize Foundation, Grist, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, V-Day, Maiyet, The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation and is a founding circle member of The Nantucket Project.[17] She also serves on the America's Cup Organizing Committee in San Francisco.[18][19][3]