Published by Fast Company
BY STEPHANIE MEHTA ON NOVEMBER 16, 2020
In an exclusive interview, the former Google CEO and his wife unveil details of Rise, part of their $1 billion charitable commitment to support individuals who want to serve others.
Philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt have begun accepting applications for Rise, a global talent program for 15- to 17-year-olds who make a commitment to pursue careers and initiatives in public service. The program, a partnership with the Rhodes Trust, promises to provide winners with lifelong financial support and mentorship.
A key goal of the program is to identify and surface young people from unexpected pockets of talent around the world. “What if you could find the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, or Nelson Mandela?” says Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures, which is administering 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.”
Eric Schmidt, the former chairman and CEO of Google, says offering “support for life” is part of what distinguishes Rise from other fellowships and scholarships.
“I would assert to you that in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, the world will have more problems, and the world is getting bigger and more complicated,” he says. “And you need a new generation of leaders who can deal with that kind of complexity. The idea was that you don’t do it as a one-shot, you do it over their careers. That’s the way in which [Rise] is different.”