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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Schmidt Futures?

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that bets early on people who will make our world better — helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields.

To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose.

Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.

What does Schmidt Futures do?

Under our Venture Facility for Public Benefit methodology, Schmidt Futures invests in and makes grants to for-profit and nonprofit organizations in order to support the most promising ideas in technology, scientific breakthroughs, and paths to shared prosperity in society, and raises awareness about such issues.

Where does Schmidt Futures’ funding come from?

Schmidt Futures is operated by Futures Action Network, LLC, a limited liability company, and is supported by a variety of Schmidt funding mechanisms, including The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, a 501(c)(3) private foundation. Having charitable and non-charitable funding sources gives us the freedom to focus on sourcing the best projects to further the mission.

Does Schmidt Futures identify with or exclusively support a particular political point of view or party?

No. We support efforts that achieve our goals without regard to political affiliation.

What is the relationship between Schmidt Futures and other entities supported by Eric and Wendy Schmidt?

Schmidt Futures is not a separate legal entity but an initiative to advance shared societal and charitable goals of the founders.

When our projects align with the work of our founders’ other efforts, we may collaborate to accelerate or enhance work in furtherance of our goals.

What role does Alphabet, Inc., or Google play in Schmidt Futures?

None. These corporate entities are separate organizations.

How do I submit a proposal for funding?

Proposals are by invitation only.

Which criteria does Schmidt Futures use in determining what to support and how?

When we consider what to support, we frequently look for new ideas for solving hard societal problems and the availability of partners to aggregate capital, including financial, human, intellectual, or infrastructure capital. Some specific criteria we have used to achieve our goals include:

  • New and original ideas or theses to address human problems, in particular through the development of new platforms, or use of advanced analysis, computing tools, or data science;
  • Early stage ideas that need flexible risk capital to try out a new idea;
  • Measurability of impact over time; and
  • Solutions that encourage interdisciplinary approaches and promote inclusion.

What is Schmidt Futures' policy on paying for grantees' indirect costs?

Schmidt Futures uses the following policy for any contribution or investment it recommends from any source:

We require all grantees, unless otherwise agreed to in the terms of the grant agreement, to refrain from using grant funds to pay for any indirect costs, and there shall be no allocation of indirect costs to a grant, in each case, unless expressly agreed in writing in the grant agreement to permit the grant to be spent on indirect costs. In other words, the grantee should not include any indirect costs in a grant’s budget unless expressly agreed.

In cases where an indirect-cost allocation is allowed per the terms of the grant agreement, then the following rules shall apply except as otherwise expressly set forth in the applicable grant agreement:

  • indirect costs may not exceed 10% of the total grant;
  • the allocation rate must be approved in advance by the program manager or other office; and
  • the indirect-cost allocation must be included as a line item in the project budget.