Schmidt Family Foundation

The Schmidt Family Foundation “gives individuals the means to alleviate suffering or to make the most of their given abilities.” Although the Foundation contributes to some worthwhile causes, it also gives money to more questionable groups, such as the Energy Foundation, a pass-through organization that funnels money to activists like Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Grist, a left-wing magazine.

Schmidt also finances the 11th Hour Project, which “promotes a fuller understanding of the impact of human activity within the web of interdependent living systems.” The 11th Hour Project helped distribute An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s 2006 film about climate change, and Gasland, a 2010 film that has received wide criticism for reaching false and misleading conclusions about hydraulic fracturing (a process used to extract oil and natural gas).

On its website, the 11th Hour Project notes that “all of the Foundation’s grantmaking is now done on a strictly invitational basis and we will not review proposals received either in the mail or to our email inbox. We proactively seek new partnerships based on our program area strategies.” This becomes problematic when 11th Hour Project commissions scientific research with the expectation that a certain result is produced.